Todd's Railfan Guide to
Light Rail System



The Pittsburgh Light Rail (commonly known as The T) is a 25-mile (40.2 km) long system.  The majority of service in the downtown area is in a subway.  On the south side of the Monongahela the system mostly on private right-of-way.  The notable exceptions are street running on the Red line on Broadway, between the Fallowfield and Neeld stations, and on the Allentown line, which is almost all street running going over the hill.

The Pittsburgh system was one of the last places one could go to photograph PCC cars.  In the latter part of 1980, the T started updating the system, and the first modern light rail cars began operation from South Hills Village to Castle Shannon on April 15, 1984.  The downtown subway was added to the system on July 3, 1985.  The last leg of the modern suburban "Beechview" line completed the modern system on May 22, 1987.

When they first put the new system in, Pittsburgh took a lot of heat over the design of their catenary poles, built to survive a 100MPH wind, but I don't think they will ever have to worry about them not withstanding the trials of time.  At least they put them in the middle of the tracks, which makes for better pictures than systems like Baltimore where they are on the "outside", making decent pictures impossible.

PAT discontinued two 47 line streetcar lines in 1999.... Drake and Shannon, and with it, came the end of PCC service in Pittsburgh.

The system has one shop and yard, the South Hills Village Rail Center, located at the end of the line behind the South Hills Village Mall.  This facility has been around since the streetcar days.

An LRV crossing the Panhandle Bridge over the Monongahela - it's headed into downtown.  JUL2009


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New 12/11/2011
last Modified: 10 Jan 2014