Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad
Historical Society

Dedicated to the preservation of materials regarding the
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad,
its predecessors, subsidiaries and affiliates.

Gateway Yard

Last Updated
November 28, 2011

A Jewel in a Rusty Setting
In the early 1950's the steel industry dominated the Mahoning River Valley. The steel mills of the Youngstown District were producing at record levels and the future seemed as brilliant as the molten metal being tapped in the blast furnaces all along the Mahoning River. The aging classification yard located in East Youngstown would not handle the traffic volumes that the P&LE projected would come as the steel industry continued to expand. The decision was made to remove a portion of the East Youngstown yard, and replace it with a modern hump yard. No one could have guessed that in roughly 20 years the steel industry in Youngstown would a shadow of it's former self, and 15 years beyond that the P&LE would be nothing more than a memory, they would have thought you were crazy.

Gateway Yard - A Brief Look Back
Opened in October of 1957, Gateway Yard was one of the crown jewels of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad. The yard was constructed when the P&LE was under the control of the New York Central Railroad. A thoroughly modern installation, the yard occupied approximately 200 acres stretching from Lowellville, Ohio to Center Street in Youngstown, Ohio, a distance of just over 5 miles. The yard ran parallel to Ohio State Route 289 and the tracks of the B&O Railroad to the north, and the Mahoning River and Struthers and Campbell Works of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company to the south.

Gateway Yard was composed of three principal yards, and an assortment of smaller, special purpose yards. The principal yards were arranged linearly, with the eastern limits of the Departure Yard in Lowellville. The Hump Classification Yard was located in Struthers in the center of the facility, and the Receiving Yard was to the west. At the western yard limit, actually the end of track for the P&LE, stood "N" office.

The Departure Yard consisted of four tracks that paralleled the P&LE main tracks. The Departure Yard was subdivided by three sets of cross overs, which formed four Departure Yards - "A", "B", "C" and "D". The total capacity of the Departure Yard was over 750 45' cars.

The Hump Classification Yard occupied the land that was formerly Struthers Yard and Struthers Repair Yard. 35 bowl tracks were separated into five groups having a capacity of 1700 45' cars. A "No Hump" track off the Hump Lead was provided as a place for cutting out cars that were not to be classified by humping.

The Receiving Yard was composed of 21 tracks, with a storage capacity of nearly 3100 45' cars.

The principal yards were surrounded by smaller, special purpose yards. Situated to the south of the Receiving Yard were "VR" Yard with a capacity of 48 cars, and "Stub" Yard with a capacity of 76 cars, both used for handling cars destined for local industry. "Stone" Yard, located at Lowellville Junction, was intended to act as the marshalling point for cars inbound from the Mahoning State Line Railroad. Across the Mahoning River were four "Rod and Wire" tracks, with a capacity of 215 cars, used for local switching of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company's Rod and Wire Mill.

Between the Hump Classification Yard and the Mahoning River was the Car Repair Yard. Three repair tracks with a capacity of 84 cars were covered by a 150' long open air car repair shed. A stub end Material Track held 9 cars.

The Diesel Servicing Facilities were located on the south west side of the Receiving Yard. Composed of eight tracks, the facilities included a turntable, fuel and lube oil storage, sand storage, and a fuel island that was capable of servicing and inspecting six units on two tracks. On the north side of the main tracks, even with the Diesel Servicing Facilities were two caboose tracks, which had a total capacity of 28 cabooses. To the east of "N" Office were located two yards, "Gorilla Park" Yard and "Interchange" Yard. "Gorilla Park" Yard was mainly used for cars destined to and from Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company, and was made up of ten tracks with a capacity of 183 45' cars. "Interchange" Yard was composed of six tracks, two of which were for general use, and the remaining four were for interchange to and from the B&O Railroad. "Interchange" Yard had a capacity of 199 cars.

Beyond the western end of Gateway Yard was the NYC mainline that continued to Ashtabula, Ohio.