The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Company Records document the management and operation of the company throughout its long history, from around 1850 to 1999. These materials contain information about Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE), as well as the various branch lines that, along with P&LE, were controlled by the New York Central Railroad System from 1883 until 1968, and later by Penn Central from 1968 until 1970. Regardless of the large number of materials, this is not a complete record of P&LE history, or of its subsidiaries.
The manuscript material includes a large number of bound ledgers of meeting minutes, statistics, operational logs, and reports. Many ledgers contain letter or telegraph correspondence between personnel, external companies, subsidiaries, and employees. Employee records comprise card indexes, files, and folders of terminated, retired, furloughed, and deceased employees as well as applications, recommendations, rates of pay, sick and vacation time, and union agreements. Legal documents consist of claims and grievances against P&LE by employees, companies, cities, and citizens; articles of agreement concerning the lease of equipment, land, and tracks; and contracts between P&LE, its subsidiaries and associate companies. Publications scattered throughout the collection include federal regulations (many of the Interstate Commerce Commission), company safety policy and handbooks, national railroad magazines, and multi-railroad agreements. Bulletins and notices were distributed within the company and sometimes are referred to as ‘pink sheets.’ There is also a substantial presence of blueprints of buildings and tracks and schematics for equipment and machinery.
The collection contains over two thousand feet of 16mm motion picture film depicting railroad work crews in the 1930s, various construction projects, a parade of boats on the Monongahela River, and safety and training procedures. Audio cassettes relate to personal safety of employees and the operation of certain railroad equipment. Slides depict safety training exercises and methods, hazardous materials, and other standard safety practices. The film, cassettes, and slides are noted in the Training Materials series. Only the Photographs series in this collection has been processed. The remaining materials have been housed in records boxes, manuscript boxes, filing cabinets, or paper wrappings and still comprise their original folders or none at all. All materials are available for on-site review.