W&W Railroad History

The Waynesburg & Washington Railroad (W&W RR) faithfully served the county seats of Washington and Greene Counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The W&W RR was nearly single handedly the key to Greene County economic development in that farmers and merchants had reliable means to transport goods and service to market.

The line ran independently as the “W&W RR” until 1885 when the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) purchased the line. In 1920, the W&W RR lost its identity when the PRR reorganized and then re-lettered all equipment “PENNSYLVANIA.”

The railroad was 28 miles of narrow gauge parallel steel that carried freight and passengers from inception on May 18, 1875, to the last day of freight revenue service on April 6, 1933. Passenger service ended a few years earlier on July 9, 1929. In those short 28 miles, there were 178 curves, eleven “major” stations serviced by agents, another handful of flag stops, almost a bridge a mile (32 bridges) – anything from a large 364-foot trestle spanning a valley to a span as short as eight feet. The railroad boasted two major ruling grades, with the steepest being 2.88% heading down grade into Washington Station and the longest grade of 2.40% from Hackney, PA, to Summit Siding, just outside of Washington, PA. Of note is that the W&W RR had a Horseshoe Curve similar to the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad. It was the sharpest curve on the line and was located on the Penn Farm near West Union, PA.

After steam revenue service ended in the mid-1930s, the line purchased a 1940 Ford/Kalamazoo built  railtruck to provide movement of small amounts of goods via rail. The railtruck served until the 1950s at which time Fairmont speeders ran the line until the late 1960s. The rails and ties were scrapped in 1978. A few stations and bridges remain today. The W&W RR remains on paper as a railroad in the hands of the Penn Central Corporation.