The Shenango River Bridge carries the New Castle Industrial Railroad over the Shenango River in New Castle, Pennsylvania. It was once part of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad and Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad (BR&P) was chartered in 1885 to haul bituminous coal from the western and central Pennsylvania coalfields to Buffalo and Rochester. While a direct connection to Pittsburgh was planned, the BR&P utilized trackage rights over a Pennsylvania Railroad subsidiary to reach Pittsburgh’s steel mills. 1 The BR&P later used trackage rights from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) from Butler, Pennsylvania south to Pittsburgh’s Smithfield Street Station.
In August 1901, the BR&P, B&O and the Pittsburg & Lake Erie came together to construct a bridge over the Shenango River just south of Mahoning Avenue. 4 The new bridge, a Whipple through truss and Pratt through truss, was built to connect the BR&P to the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad and B&O 2 and to the city. 1 The railroad, with three operators, would also serve several new factories, including Hartman Manufacturing and the Baldwin & Graham stove works.
The B&O acquired a controlling interest in the BR&P in 1929 before purchasing the company outright in 1932. 1 The B&O was attempting to use the BR&P to access new markets across New England, Pennsylvania New York City. While the B&O never succeeded in gaining direct access to New York City, the BR&P was relatively successful.
Today, the BR&P alignment through New Castle is serviced by the New Castle Industrial Railroad. 3 Formed in 1991, the locally owned, locally operated switching short line serves various industrial sites utilizing right-of-way and trackage from the Pennsylvania, B&O and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railroads.