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P&LE Railroad Bridge - Koppel PA

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The bridge on right was opened by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE) in March 1893 – connecting the P&LE mainline on the west bank of the Beaver River with the Beaver & Ellwood Railroad (B&E) on the east bank. The bridge would essentially link the locales that would became Ellwood City and Koppel. The P&LE utilized this bridge to began service into Ellwood City, giving the P&W and PRR some local competition. The bridge was replaced by the P&LE with the newer span on the left, which was completed in early 1915. Several outfits proposing to build streetcar bridges across the Beaver River, including one led by Ellwood City founder Henry W. Hartman, considered purchasing the old P&LE bridge before it was dismantled. The newer bridge, which is near completion in the photo above, remained in active use in some capacity until the P&LE discontinued all service into Ellwood City in August 1981. (c1914) Full Size

This is a photo of the last train to cross over the P&LE railroad bridge at Koppel, which occurred on Monday, August 24, 1981. From left its P&LE employee Paul Daytner of New Castle, P&LE conductor Don Ledford of Monaca, P&LE employee Leo Morris of Youngstown, and young Heather Campbell of Park Gate. I believe engineer William Malone (not shown) is in the cab. This photo was taken in Park Gate by well-known local historian Henry F. Bazzichi (1913-2002). Heather Campbell is his granddaughter. (Aug 1981) Full Size

The train prepares to head back over the bridge and across to the west bank of the Beaver River. After this run the bridge was closed to all future railroad traffic. (Aug 1981) Full Size

Walking along the former PY&A/PRR tracks on east side of the Beaver River. The old P&LE railroad bridge, built in 1913-15, looms up ahead. (May 2011)

A view of the old P&LE bridge, which crossed the tracks of the rival PRR. (May 2011)

One of the old stone abutments/foundations of the first P&LE railroad bridge, which was dismantled after the newer bridge opened in early 1915. (May 2011)

A concrete foundation of the newer railroad bridge. (May 2011)

Standing underneath the narrow P&LE bridge. (May 2011)

The approach to the east side of the old bridge is quite overgrown. (May 2011)

A railing starts to give away the fact that you are actually on the bridge now. (May 2011)

The view as you cross over the former PY&A/PRR tracks down below. (May 2011)

Moving along you enter another section of foliage obscuring the narrow bridge. (May 2011)

Before too long the view opens up and you start to cross over the Beaver River – visible down below. (May 2011)

Obviously the deteriorating bridge is very unsafe and its HIGHLY recommended that you do not attempt to cross this span. (May 2011)

Standing near the middle of the bridge and looking southeast you can see the Koppel Bridge, which was originally opened (by the Harmony Streetcar Line) at about the same time in early 1915. (May 2011)

The P&LE abandoned passenger service to Ellwood City long ago but continued to run freight trains across this bridge until 1981. Eventually, this aging span will have to be dismantled. (May 2011)


  1. The last train ran over this bridge August 24, 1981. I have photos of that last train.


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