The South Hills Junction
This is the Pittsburgh Railways South Hills Rail Junction as it looked in 1906, two years after the Mount Washington Transit Tunnel was built. All streetcar, and later bus, traffic to and from the South Hills communities came through this tunnel. It was then, and may always be, one of the busiest intersections in the city.
In the photo above, a Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad passenger train chugging along on the hillside above the junction heading towards the horseshoe loop and Warrington Avenue. Prior to 1904, this low-guage railroad, once used primarily to ship coal to the city, was the best transportation alternative offered to commuters traveling into Pittsburgh from the south.
The billboard on the hillside showcases a Freehold Real Estate advertisement touting home sales in the fast growing "suburb" of Brookline. The transit tunnel and subsequent 39-Brookline trolley service shortened the trip from the community of Brookline to downtown Pittsburgh from a matter of hours to only fifteen minutes. As a result, land speculation, real estate development and property valuations in Brookline, as well as other South Hills communities, saw exponential growth.
For over a century, there has been a constant stream of trolleys, buses and light-rail cars rolling by on their way to Brookline, Beechview, Carrick, and numerous other destinations in the South Hills. The transit tunnel, built under Mount Washington, was one of the major engineering achievements from the early 20th century that spurred the southward expansion of the City of Pittsburgh and the birth of the Community of Brookline as a suburban paradise. Only two years later, in 1908, Brookline was annexed into the city.
Some Photos of the South Hills Junction
Models of the 39-Brookline and South Hills Junction
A scale model layout of the South Hills Junction, designed and constructed by Bob Dietrich. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is outstanding. For a complete set of Bob's South Hills Junction model photos, visit http://www.dietrichsfam.com/shj/scenes.htm. Below is a scale model replica of the 39-Brookline streetcar, PCC Car #1795, as it appeared in the 1960s, made by Dr. Michael Brendel.
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