The R&P rather quickly developed a substantial coal and coke business along its property between DuBois and Punxsutawney (gross income rose nearly ten-fold between 1881 and 1885), which gave it some leverage against its largest neighbors mentioned above in contracting terms and working out cooperative dealings. However, things remained tense in these early years and as competitors slashed rates the R&P struggled financially. It fell into bankruptcy after defaulting on an interest payment in the summer of 1884. On October 16, 1885 it was sold to Adrian Iselin although court disputes in Pennsylvania and New York took took some time to remediate. In the meantime the New York and Pennsylvania segments were operated separately; the former became known as the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad Company while the latter was renamed the Pittsburgh & State Line Railroad Company. Finally, the disagreement was resolved a few years later with both sections were reunited as the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh on March 12, 1887. The new BR&P was never an overly profitable system and its primary source of revenue remained based in coal.
Aside from its Pennsylvania coal fields the BR&P also operated a car ferry service between Charlotte and Cobourg, Ontario. It was provided in conjunction with the Grand Trunk Railway and lasted between 1907 and 1950, when it was discontinued. By the BR&P's "late era" of the early 20th century it fielded an impressive fleet of steam locomotives, operating large 2-6-6-2 and 2-8-8-2 Mallets to handle the heavy tonnage. The former were so-called "Prairie Mallets." In all, it acquired 55 examples between 1914 and 1923, numbered 700-754, and listed simply as Class LL. According to David Mainey's book, Baltimore & Ohio Steam In Color, the Mallets were an older design and had remained virtually unchanged during its ten year production run featuring large, bulbous low-pressure cylinders and old-style slide valves. After B&O ownership they were reclassified as KK-4a through KK-4d, numbered 7500-7554. They largely stayed on the Buffalo Division until their retirement during the 1950s.
Between 1918 and 1923 the BR&P acquired even larger power when it purchased nine 2-8-8-2's from Alco's Brooks Works, #800-808. They were classed as XX and handled the same heavy coal tonnage as the 2-6-6-2's. Upon B&O ownership the locomotives were re-classed as EE-2, remaining in service until the 1950s. After less than 45 years the BR&P, then a system of 520 miles, lost its independence forever when it formally became part of the B&O's vast network in 1932. The Baltimore & Ohio had first acquired a controlling interest in the road during 1929 before purchasing it a few years later. Despite the ongoing Great Depression, influential B&O president Daniel Willard, who led by the company from 1910 to 1941, was attempting to use the BR&P as a springboard in opening new markets for his railroad across Pennsylvania, the coveted New York City market, and finally reach New England.
Steam Locomotive Roster
The BR&P's Class F included its roster of 0-6-0 and 0-8-0 switchers.
The BR&P's Class LL included its massive 2-6-6-2 heavy articulateds.
The BR&P's Class P included part of its roster of 2-8-0 Consolidations.
The BR&P's Class S included part of its roster of 2-8-0 Consolidations along with its fleet of 4-8-0 Twelve-wheelers.
The BR&P's Class V included part of its roster of 2-8-0 Consolidations.
The BR&P's Class W included its roster of 4-4-2 Atlantics.
The BR&P's Class WW included its roster of 4-6-2 Pacifics.
The BR&P's Class X included part of its roster of 2-8-0 Consolidations.
The BR&P's Class XX included its only roster of massive 2-8-8-2 heavy articulateds.
The BR&P's Class Y included its roster of 2-10-0 Decapods.
The BR&P's Class Z included its roster of 2-8-2 Mikados.
Unfortunately, today only one BR&P steamer is known to exist, an 0-6-0 switcher on display in Bellevue, Ohio.
(Thanks to Todd Blide with help regarding the information on this page.)
The B&O never controlled its own, direct route into the Big Apple and the BR&P acquisition was one step in making this happen, which would have offered a much better competitive advantage against the PRR and NYC in the coveted New York - Chicago corridor. The railroad also acquired the nearby 228-mile Buffalo & Susquehanna for this purpose but alas it reached no further east due to the depression and had to settle to linking only Buffalo and Rochester (the B&S property was later sold or abandoned). The last passenger train ran across the former BR&P trackage on October 15, 1955. While the BR&P was only marginally successful even under B&O
ownership, interestingly, much of the former system remains in operation
today under the Buffalo & Pittsburgh, a Genesee & Wyoming system. It began operations in 1988 buying former sections of the B&O and BR&P in Pennsylvania and New York from CSX. Today it covers more than 400 miles and in 2006 was even named the Regional Railroad of the Year by Railway Age magazine.
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Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh