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The collection was inventoried by several graduate students in the fall of 2010 which produced a box-level inventory. An intellectual arrangement was then created based on each individual railroad line that comprised the P&LE. The corresponding box information is included, but note that the material is loosely arranged in the boxes and in no significant order. The physical arrangement is imprecise and uncontrolled because up to this point, no processing has been done to any part of this collection other than the photographs. Considering that a number of people worked to create this box inventory and the scale of this collection is so large, the contents may not be exactly what the finding aid claims them to be.

Each series represents the various railroad lines found within the overall company records of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, followed by non-manuscript materials. Five subseries exist within the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad series, giving a rough outline of the large amount of materials generated by the operation of the railroad.

Series I. Lake Erie & Eastern Railroad, 1908-1980s

Series II. Mahoning State Line Railroad, 1895-1980

Series III. Monongahela Connecting Railroad, 1864-1989

Series IV. Montour Railroad, 1900-1956

Series V. New York Central System, 1905-1965

Series VI. Pittsburgh, Chartiers & Youghiogheny Railroad, 1898-1995

Series VII. Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, 1860-1994

Subseries 1. Engineering, 1850-1944

Subseries 2. Financial, 1850-1994

Subseries 3. General Operations, 1883-1982

Subseries 4. Labor, 1850-1994

Subseries 5. Legal, 1850-1994

Series VIII. Pittsburgh, Lisbon & Western Railroad, 1925-1945

Series IX. Pittsburgh, McKeesport & Youghiogheny Railroad, 1870-1960

Series X. Youngstown & Southern Railroad, 1900-1956

Series XI. Training Material, 1970s-1980s

Series XII. Audio-Visual Materials

Series XIII. Oversize, 1913-1981

Series XIV. Maps, Drawings and Plans, 1872-1990