Bellefonte Central Railroad

Time Line
(Above, Bellefonte-bound SW9 5323 near Fillmore, 1973, M. Bezilla photo)

1886 Buffalo Run, Bellefonte & Bald Eagle RR begins hauling iron ore from Strubles, near State College, to the Bellefonte Furnace Co.

1891 Bellefonte Furnace closes, BRB&BE unable to pay debts.

1892 BRB&BE bondholders foreclose on the railroad, reorganize it as the Bellefonte Central RR. One-mile extension built to the Penn State campus, thrice-daily passenger service inaugurated.

1896 Four-mile extension opened between State College and Pine Grove Mills.

1899 Bellefonte Furnace and Nittany Furnace return to blast, ore business booms, BFC builds three-mile branch to Scotia to access more ore.

1907 Chemical Lime Co. founded, will become BFC’s largest shipper.

1910-11 Bellefonte and Nittany Furnaces close as Lake Superior ore supplants native ores, iron-making ceases permanently in Bellefonte.

1914 Passenger volume peaks, 74,086 people carried.

1917 Service reduced to one mixed State College roundtrip Monday through Saturday owing to wartime shortages and highway competition.

1918 Interchange partner Central RR of Pennsylvania ceases operations, leaving PRR as BFC’s sole connection to outside world.

1919 Pine Grove Mills extension abandoned.

1925 Total annual carload freight volume peaks at 444,140 tons. BFC quits hauling the U.S Mail in response to declining postal reimbursements.

1928 ICC forces PRR to establish joint rates with BFC, makes shipping costs more equitable for State College customers. Last BFC-owned freight car retired from interchange service.

1930 BFC begins service between State College and Tyrone, 25 miles, mostly over former PRR Fairbrook Branch. New State College station opened. BFC purchases its first caboose.

1933 Fairbrook Branch service suspended when PRR refuses to interchange traffic at Tyrone, causing BFC to suffer serious financial loss. Stockholders install new management in wake of Fairbrook debacle.

1937 Chemical Lime opens new underground mine and lime plant along BFC, featuring nation’s longest rotary kiln (400 ft.)

1940 National Gypsum Co. buys Chemical Lime, soon consolidates operations at one site known as "the Gyp."

1945 Iron ore mining resumes at Scotia, BFC carries about 2,100 tons before mining ends.

1946 Regularly scheduled passenger service to State College ends. (See photo above of the State College station, looking east toward campus, circa 1947.)

1953 President Dwight Eisenhower arrives in State College via train. BFC purchases first diesel locomotive, an EMD SW9. Green and gray color scheme adopted.

1955 Annual net railway operating income peaks at $92,391 (from a gross of $433,684).

1956 Second diesel, SW1200, is delivered, steam retired.

1959 Penn State switches from rail to truck for delivery of power plant coal, daily train service to State College ends.

1963 First net operating loss in the railroad’s history ($717).

1964 Last passenger train operates over BFC, a PRR special from Pittsburgh for the Pitt-Penn State football game.

1974 Line to State College is abandoned, the Gyp becomes BFC's sole customer.

1975 Kyle Railways buys BFC.

1976 Domtar Inc. buys the Gyp.

1982 Domtar temporarily suspends production at the Gyp due to recession in steel industry, BFC runs last train.

1984 BFC is abandoned.