WEST SIDE BELT RAILROAD. 2006 by Howard V. Worley, Jr. Pittsburgh in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was widely known as a center of steel making and a river town. It was also well established as a hub for most of the major railroads operating in the eastern United States. For decades, goods and people moved in and out of the steel city on steel rails. From the mid 1850s on, Pittsburgh saw the arrival of the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad that was casting its corporate shadow over the eastern United States landscape. Following close behind was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, connecting to Pittsburgh while building its main line on west. Not to be left out, the Vanderbilts brought their New York Central line to the city when they purchased the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad. Each wanted the lion's share of the city's outbound freight shipments which at that time were the largest of any city in the world. It was, however, the smaller local rail lines, the ones delivering their tonnage to the larger railroads that put Pittsburgh on the map as the "Workshop of the World." One of the first of these small carriers was the West Side Belt Railroad. From the late 1890s until 1928 the West Side Belt line set tonnage records by hauling coal when times were good, and struggling to survive during the lean years. From its humble beginning to its calculated demise at the hands of those who exploited it for gain and profit, the West Side Belt Railroad was instrumental in shaping the future of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. As testament to its strategic location, portions of the old line still operate today. Now, told between the covers of West Side Belt Railroad is the story of this colorful, important, early Pittsburgh railroad. Highlights include: the story of the railroad and its founders from beginning to the final days of operation; rare photographs, some never before seen or published, many almost a century old; vintage color maps showing the railroad's route through local towns and villages, many of which have vanished with time; timetables, drawings, and railroad documents of historical interest. Over 100 illustrations in color and B&W. Color laminated cover. 159 pages, 11 x 8½ Softbound. ISBN 0-9658620-4-6. LOC 2005920716.