Western Pennsylvanian Railroads

Allegheny Valley Railroad

by Carsten S. Lundsten

Updated 2008-02-03

This is an unofficial Allegheny Valley Railroad railfan page. This page has no affiliation with Allegheny Valley Railroad.

The official website of Allegheny Valley Railroad and owner Carload Express Inc is here.


Allegheny Valley Railroad (AVR) operates on ex. PRR/Conrail and CSX trackage around Pittsburgh. The AVR started in 1995, operating 23 miles of the ex. Conrail Valley Industrial Track along the east bank of the Allegheny River, which was a part of the original Allegheny Valley Railroad before it was included in the Pennsylvania Railroad. The line extends from near Downtown Pittsburgh to New Kensington. The AVR used the former PRR Brillant Branch to access NS at CP Home. From CP Home AVR rans on NS trackage rights to Island Avenue Yard (on the Pittsburgh North Side) where the interchange with NS took place (and still does).

In 2003 the AVR took over the little remaining section of the Monongahela Connecting Railroad, which closed with the LTV bankrupcy.

From December 2003, the AVR took over the operations on two former CSX lines in the area, plus Glenwood Yard. The AVR now operates the CSX W&P line to Washington PA, as well as a section of the P&W line north to Bakerstown. From Bakerstown and north/west the P&W is now operated by the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad. CSX retains the P&W between CP Fields (near Downtown) and Braddock, which Amtrak also uses, but the AVR serves the online customer (the Bellefield Boiler). The AVR now connects to the original line (often called the Valley Line, though the official name is the Allegheny Subdivision) through a connection at 36th street.

Operations are now centered around Glenwood Yard. CSX runs a daily interchange train from Demmler Yard (unfortunately at night) and the AVR runs a daily daytime interchange train to NS' Island Avenue Yard, though now via the P&W and the connection near Downtown (see more detailed map). The AVR also runs an interchange train to the B&P interchange at Bakerstown 3 times/week. There is an interchange to the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad at Bruceton on the W&P.

Latest info on operations is that the AVR runs 4 jobs:

The (then) lone AVR locomotive, number 7559, usually sat in the little yard in Verona when not working. The locomotive is a GP10. Summer 1999.
One day I had the luck (they usually ran late in the evening) to see the AVR geep silently slip down the ramp from the Ft. Wayne Bridge, heading towards Island Avenue Yard. I didn't catch them at Island Avenue but later found them switching cars at Coleman (Nadine). The track to the left is the ramp from the Brilliant Branch, the track to the right is the main to 40th St. In the background the Brilliant Branch Bridge is visible, formerly connecting the Brilliant Branch to Sharpsburg and Etna Yard. The bridge has been restored by the AVR to reach a customer on the North Side. Due to the hills, this location is the shade even in early afternoon on November 28th 1999.
Seen from the other side of the tracks.
Same location and day as the previous picture, but looking towards Verona.
The AVR had to go back to Island Avenue for a second cut of cars. Here the train is heading down the ramp from the Ft. Wayne Bridge on it's way to Island Avenue Yard. The photo is taken from the parking lot of the North Side Giant Eagle.
Here the AVR heads back from Island Avenue Yard with a second cut of cars. The train is approaching CP Penn where is joins the NS Pittsburgh Line to CP Home. The outer two tracks in the front and in the background are the NS Pittsburgh Line. Photo from Allegheny Ave.
Looking the other way as the AVR departs towards CP Home and its home rails.
Another day of the rare daylight operations back then. From my apartment on the North Shore the 7559 roars up the ramp towards the Ft. Wayne Bridge, heading for home rails. Late spring 2000.
Jumping ahead to my 2006-visit to Pittsburgh I finally got to see a little more of the expanded AVR. Here the Washington train has just left Glenwood Yard, and is crossing the Monongahela River. October 19th.
This is not exactly the quality of photos I like to show off, and it's even a crop from an even worse one that I hastily had to shoot through the fence on Glenwood Bridge. But I included it to show the AVR crossing over the CSX mainline and the NS Mon Line (background). Both provide quite a bit of entertainment while waiting.
Looking from the other side of Glenwood Bridge, having more luck fighting the fence, another job builds its train in the background. This is Glenwood Yard, formerly CSX, and Glenwood Tower. The tower was the last active tower in Pittsburgh, closed in 2003.
The next day I was passing through Downown and heard the AVR interchange train work at NS' Island Avenue Yard. I stopped at the park on the North Side, and looking over CP Penn from West North Avenue AVR is in Island Avenue Yard, while an eastbound NS freight rolls by on the Pittsburgh Line. October 20th, 2006.
Shortly after, the AVR pulls through the interlocker to double back into another yard track.
Seen from the park, the NS local for the Conemaugh Line departs the yard, while the AVR waits.
And then the AVR backs into the yard again.