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The Tale of the Pennsylvania Midland:The Bellefonte Central Connection

The Pennsylvania Midland Railroad, as described in this series of articles, is a freelance railroad created by Jerry Britton. The railroad is inspired by actual events and histories of related railroads in Mifflin and Centre counties of Pennsylvania. Past history is not changed, but leveraged to create future outcomes that never came to fruition.

The establishment of the Pennsylvania Midland was not lost on the Bellefonte Central Railroad (BFC) to the north. The BFC had long sought a way to increase freight income via a connection with the PRR to the south, rather than at nearby Bellefonte. They had failed in their efforts to establish such a connection via Spruce Creek, Huntingdon, and most recently, Tyrone.

The Penn Midland offered a new opportunity. The BFC could connect with the PM north of the Pennsy and interchange via the H&BTM. The Pennsy would not have a direct say in where the BFC interchanged under such a scenario.

The BFC proposed the concept to the Penn Midland and the group agreed on a route. The BFC revived their extension from State College to Pine Grove Mills. From there, a new line would extend through Tussey Mountain to McAlevy's Fort, then turn southward and follow the Mill Creek along the north face of Stone Mountain. It would meet the PM about a mile north of the town of Mill Creek.

The proposed line would be jointly operated by the BFC and the PM. The BFC would be the primary operator between Huntingdon and its present line, including the coveted lime traffic. The PM would be the primary operator of traffic to locations between Mill Creek and Pine Grove Mills, including wood products from recently opened forestry land near McAlevy's Fort.

Construction commenced late in 1939 and the line was opened for service in November 1940. The Pennsylvania Railroad was not pleased, but relented with the threat of war in the air.

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