The Shannopin mine railroad: A trip to photograph the Monongahela Railway yielded a day with the usually-busy Waynesburg Southern side of the MGA dead due to scheduled track work. The only activity was to be a light engine move on the “original” Monongahela from Brownsville to Rivesville. There, the crew would pick up empties and deliver them to the Loveridge mine. We headed south to explore the line in advance of the movement. As we passed through Poland Mines, PA, we saw a train from the road. It was part of the Shannopin mine railroad, a 3 – 4 mile industrial line that ran from the mine in Bobtown, PA to the processing plant along the Monongahela River. This operation was part of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company.
This train of empties has just arrived at the mine from the processing plant. Meanwhile, the last car of another train is being loaded on the left. The aged internal-combustion locomotives are newer than the mine/railroad operation (1926), but I have not been able to determine if their predecessors were steam or electric. The two tracks that run through the grassy area have trolley wire, and probably are part of the underground portion of the railroad. There is a small "critter" just beyond the Plymouth in the electrified zone that appears to also be internal combustion. It is coupled to a flat car that appears to be loaded with prop timbers - used to help support the ceiling of the mine as more coal is extracted. All of the lumber in the background suggests that this area may be a staging/prep area for the mine's timber needs. Three years later, the mine closed. Due to acid leakage from the site, the mine is now under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. A look at Google Maps indicates that this entire are is now a level lot, and no traces of anything in this photo remain.