I decided to take my daily steps on Sunday with a hike on the recently updated Tredway Trail Extension, which runs from under the Freeport Bridge to Kiski Junction, where the Kiskiminetas River joins the Allegheny River. It is also where the former Allegheny Valley Railroad branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad crossed the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Conemaugh Line. In more recent times, Kiski Junction was where the Kiski Junction Railroad interchanged with first Conrail, and now Norfolk Southern, via the Conemaugh Line. The Kiski Junction Railroad ceased operation within the past few years. The wye for the interchange and the rail bridge over the Kiskimentas is still there, but slowly becoming more overgrown. The Conemaugh Line is still in frequent use by Norfolk Southern, typically seeing several freight trains per day, mostly eastbound, plus locals switching several industries along the line.
The Tredway Trail follows the roadbed of the former AVR branch from Braeburn to Kiski Junction. The rail line from Arnold to Pittsburgh is still in place and active, operating as the Allegheny Valley Railroad, a division of Carload Express, and serves a number of industries along the line, interchanging with multiple railroads, including Norfolk Southern and CSX, as well as the Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad, another short line. There is a section of the AVR right of way between the water pump station in New Kensington and Braeburn that was abandoned by the railroad a long while ago, and is apparently owned by some person or entity. For a short while, it was unofficially open to bikes, and I rode it once. Shortly thereafter, the owner apparently had issues with people being stupid, and put up a bunch of no trespassing signs. I hold out hope that it might someday be open to bikes again, as that would provide a trail from New Kensington all the way to Kiski Junction, which would be a fun ride by itself, and a nice connection to the Butler-Freeport trail in Freeport
Wow, so that got off track pretty quickly. Back to the point… I wanted to test hiking with the GoPro TimeWarp recording mode, and figured I might get to see a train at the junction. I also wanted to see the improvements to the trail, as the last time I hiked this section it was a mess, with logging activity leaving big ruts and debris. At the time, it was open for use, but generally unimproved. It underwent a bunch of improvement in 2021, so I was excited to see what they did. It’s a nice flat, wide, groomed trail now, with a secondary loop that runs down closer to the river, which looks like it follows maybe an older part of the railroad roadbed. It was a pleasant, if downright cold hike, and I got a train shortly after I arrived at the junction! Of course, as I hiked back along the trail headed for the truck, I heard another train. I should have waited the extra 15 minutes! Below are a photo and a simple edit of the video from the hike. I’m excited to add this to the ride when I take my bike out to the Braeburn trail head in nicer weather!