Bellefonte Central Railroad

A guide to its history
by
Michael Bezilla and Jack Rudnicki

(Above: SW1200 5624 at the Coleville shop, 1986, J. Blair photo)

The Bellefonte Central Railroad operated in Centre County, Pennsylvania. It was a transportation lifeline for the county’s lime and stone industry, and for the community of State College and the Pennsylvania State University. It began life in 1886 as the Buffalo Run, Bellefonte, and Bald Eagle Railroad and was reorganized as the Bellefonte Central in 1892. It interchanged with the Pennsylvania Railroad at Bellefonte. Hard-pressed by competing modes of transportation and changes in the regional economy, the Bellefonte Central ran its last train in 1982 and was abandoned in 1984.

Our recently published book, Rails to Penn State: The Story of the Bellefonte Central, from Stackpole Books, can be purchased through local booksellers or from Amazon.com and other online sellers. We highlight the many ways in which this short-line railroad shaped Centre County's history. Many of the same economic, political, and cultural forces that influenced the Bellefonte Central also left their imprint on railroads nationwide. We believe that studying the BFC can therefore contribute to a better understanding of the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad and of the railroad industry in general.