Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum

Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum Beautifully restored Darlington Station, an original station of the Ligonier Valley Rail Road. Rail Road Museum built circa 1896 near Ildlewild Park.

Throughout the museum photographs, memorabilia, and railroad artifacts, such as locks and keys, lanterns, yard tools, and an original ticket dispenser are displayed. Although the museum focuses on the LVRR, numerous items from the interchanging railroads, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), and the Pittsburg, Westmoreland and Somerset Railroad (PW&S) are included in the museum's collection.

Operating as usual



The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association is pleased to announce that the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum will reopen for its normal Saturday hours of 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m on Saturday, January 9, 2021.

Facemasks will be required to be worn by all visitors. Social distancing and cleanliness/mitigation protocols will be in effect at the Museum for all visitors and docents. Please email the Association at [email protected] with any questions regarding the reopening.

Join us to safely celebrate the heritage of the Ligonier Valley and its namesake railroad!



We hope to reopen on Saturday January 9, 2021.

Dave DiCello Photography

Dave DiCello Photography

Evening everyone! Little bit of a long post, so I hope you'll stick around! Tonight's image is one that I've waited for all fall, and with the trees just a day or two from being completely bare, it finally happened. In all honesty, I think it worked out better than I hoped. See, I've made more than 20 trips to West Park on the North Side of Pittsburgh this fall. Sometimes I didn't get out of my car, as I was merely checking on the color. Other times I waited for hours, with one very specific shot in mind: a train passing through the trench, at sunrise with the ginkgoes lit up, with cars full of coal. That's all I wanted. Not too much to ask, right?

Well, this morning, on what is probably the last day that these trees will have this many leaves on them, it finally happened. After shooting sunrise on the West End, I headed back up to West Park, to park myself in the same spot on the bridge as I have so many mornings the last three weeks. Then I heard the rumble. I looked down the tracks, and saw a train coming. I could see it was Norfolk Southern, but couldn't see what it was hauling. But there was only one problem: I was on the wrong side of the park.

So with my gear in tow, I sprinted through the leaves, careful not to slip. I had already dialed in my settings, so all I had to do was get to the spot by the other bridge, the one that is being replaced by the Aviary. I got there just as the train was passing under the bridge I had just left, plenty of time to catch my breath and frame the image how I wanted. I'm glad that I didn't catch this view until today; if I had, I wouldn't have gone back, and I would have missed the tracks covered in the leaves!

I still have a lot more to come from today...but those will wait until tomorrow!

Wilpen PA No. 2

Wilpen PA No. 2

Wilpen - a viable working community.


The August 2020 Issue of the Liggie Newsletter has been posted to our website


The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association is looking for volunteers to serve as docents at our Museum in Darlington. Docents give tours during Museum operating hours and handle sales from the gift shop during those hours. If you are interested in railroad operations & history or are interested in Ligonier area history, this is a great way to volunteer to help your community. But no experience is required. Training will be provided. If you are interested or think you might be interested, please contact the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association at our email, [email protected]. Thank you!


**Please note: The museum will be closed on Saturday July 25, 2020.**



With Westmoreland County entering the COVID-19 mitigation Green Phase on Friday, June 5, 2020, the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association is pleased to announce that the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum will reopen for its normal Saturday hours of 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. commencing Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Facemasks will be required to be worn by all visitors. Social distancing and cleanliness/mitigation protocols will be in effect at the Museum for all visitors and docents. Please email the Association at [email protected] with any questions regarding the reopening.

Join us to safely celebrate the heritage of the Ligonier Valley and its namesake railroad!

Idlewild & SoakZone

Idlewild & SoakZone

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Idlewild began as a scenic picnic ground meant to boost passenger traffic on the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, a Mellon family business. The LVRR's engines chugged through the park from 1878 until 1952.


Free Museum Day was scheduled for May 3, 2020. It has now been postponed. We will let you know once it has been rescheduled.

Thanks for your continued support of local museums!



**IMPORTANT - DUE TO COVID-19, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED**All checks received have not been cashed and will be retur...

All checks received have not been cashed and will be returned via USPS.

Announcing the Eleventh Annual Model Railroad Home Tour. Please click the link below for a printable flyer.

Interesting read on George Westinghouse and his advancements made for the railroad industry.

Interesting read on George Westinghouse and his advancements made for the railroad industry.

George Westinghouse Jr. (October 6, 1846 – March 12, 1914) was an American entrepreneur and engineer based in Pennsylvania who invented the railway air brake and was a pioneer of the electrical industry, gaining his first patent at the age of 19. Westinghouse saw the potential in alternating current as an electricity distribution system in the early 1880s and put all his resources into developing and marketing it, a move that put his business in direct competition with the Edison direct current system. In 1911 Westinghouse received the AIEE's Edison Medal "For meritorious achievement in connection with the development of the alternating current system."
* ( Early years & Civil War ) George Westinghouse was born in 1846 in Central Bridge, New York, the son of Emeline (Vedder) and George Westinghouse Sr., a machine shop owner. His ancestors came from Westphalia in Germany, who first moved to England and then emigrated to the US. The name had been Anglicized from Westinghausen. From his youth, he was talented with machinery and business. At the age of fifteen, as the Civil War broke out, Westinghouse enlisted in the New York National Guard and served until his parents urged him to return home. In April 1863 he persuaded his parents to allow him to re-enlist, whereupon he joined Company M of the 16th New York Cavalry and earned promotion to the rank of corporal. In December 1864 he resigned from the Army to join the Navy, serving as Acting Third Assistant Engineer on the gunboat USS Muscoota through the end of the war. After his military discharge in August 1865, he returned to his family in Schenectady and enrolled at Union College. He lost interest in the curriculum and dropped out in his first term.
Westinghouse was 19 years old when he created his first invention, the rotary steam engine. He also devised the Westinghouse Farm Engine. At age 21 he invented a "car replacer", a device to guide derailed railroad cars back onto the tracks, and a reversible frog, a device used with a railroad switch to guide trains onto one of two tracks.
* ( Air brakes ) At about this time, he witnessed a train wreck where two engineers saw one another, but were unable to stop their trains in time using the existing brakes. Brakemen had to run from car to car, on catwalks atop the cars, applying the brakes manually on each car.
In 1869, at age 22, Westinghouse invented a railroad braking system using compressed air. The Westinghouse system used a compressor on the locomotive, a reservoir and a special valve on each car, and a single pipe running the length of the train (with flexible connections) which both refilled the reservoirs and controlled the brakes, allowing the engineer to apply and release the brakes simultaneously on all cars. It is a failsafe system, in that any rupture or disconnection in the train pipe will apply the brakes throughout the train. It was patented by Westinghouse on October 28, 1873.The Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) was subsequently organized to manufacture and sell Westinghouse's invention. It was in time nearly universally adopted by railways. Modern trains use brakes in various forms based on this design. The same conceptual design of fail-safe air brake is also found on heavy trucks.
Westinghouse pursued many improvements in railway signals (which then used oil lamps). In 1881 he founded the Union Switch and Signal Company to manufacture his signaling and switching inventions.
* ( Electric power distribution ) Westinghouse's interests in gas distribution and telephone switching led him to become interested in the then-new field of electrical power distribution in the early 1880s. Electric lighting was a growing business with many companies building outdoor direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) arc lighting based street lighting systems and Thomas Edison launching the first DC electric utility designed to light homes and businesses with his patented incandescent bulb. In 1884 Westinghouse started developing his own DC domestic lighting system and hired physicist William Stanley to work on it. Westinghouse became aware of the new European alternating current systems in 1885 when he read about them in the UK technical journal Engineering. AC had the ability to be "stepped up" in voltage by a transformer for distribution and then "stepped down" by a transformer for consumer use, allowing large centralized power plants to supply electricity long distance in cities with more disperse populations. This was an advantage over the low voltage DC systems being marketed by Thomas Edison's electric utility which had a limited range due to the low voltages used. Westinghouse saw AC's potential to achieve greater economies of scale as way to build a truly competitive system instead of simply building another barely competitive DC lighting system using patents just different enough to get around the Edison patents. In 1885 Westinghouse imported a number of Gaulard–Gibbs transformers and a Siemens AC generator, to begin experimenting with AC networks in Pittsburgh. Stanley, assisted by engineers Albert Schmid and Oliver B. Shallenberger, developed the Gaulard–Gibbs transformer design into the first practical transformer. In 1886, with Westinghouse's backing, Stanley installed the first multiple-voltage AC power system in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a demonstration lighting system driven by a hydroelectric generator that produced 500 volts AC stepped down to 100 volts to light incandescent bulbs in homes and businesses. That same year, Westinghouse formed the "Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company"; in 1889 he renamed it as "Westinghouse Electric Corporation".
* ( War of currents ) Main article: War of currents
The Westinghouse company installed 30 more AC-lighting systems within a year and by the end of 1887 it had 68 alternating current power stations to Edison's 121 DC-based stations.This competition with Edison led in the late 1880s to what has been called the "War of Currents" with Thomas Edison and his company joining in with a spreading public perception that the high voltages used in AC distribution were unsafe. Edison even suggested a Westinghouse AC generator be used in the State of New York's new electric chair. Westinghouse also had to deal with an AC rival, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, which had built 22 power stations by the end of 1887 and by 1889 had bought out another competitor, the Brush Electric Company. Thomson-Houston was expanding its business while trying to avoid patent conflicts with Westinghouse, arranging deals such as coming to agreements over lighting company territory, paying a royalty to use the Stanley transformer patent, and allowing Westinghouse to use their Sawyer–Man incandescent bulb patent. The Edison company, in collusion with Thomson-Houston, managed to arrange in 1890 that the first electric chair was powered with a Westinghouse AC generator, forcing Westinghouse to try to block this move by hiring the best lawyer of the day to (unsuccessfully) defend William Kemmler, the first man scheduled to die in the chair. The War of Currents would end with financiers, such as J. P. Morgan, pushing Edison Electric towards AC and pushing out Thomas Edison. In 1892 the Edison company was merged with the Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric, a conglomerate with the board of Thomson-Houston in control.
* ( Development and competition ) During this period Westinghouse continued to pour funds and engineering resources into the goal of building a completely integrated AC system, obtaining the Sawyer–Man lamp by buying Consolidated Electric Light, developing components such as an induction meter, and obtaining the rights to inventor Nikola Tesla's brushless AC induction motor along with patents for a new type of electric power distribution, polyphase alternating current. The acquisition of a feasible AC motor gave Westinghouse a key patent for his system, but the financial strain of buying up patents and hiring the engineers needed to build it meant development of Tesla's motor had to be put on hold for a while.
In 1890 Westinghouse's company was in trouble. The near collapse of Barings Bank in London triggered the financial panic of 1890, causing investors to call in their loans to W.E. The sudden cash shortage forced the company to refinance its debts. The new lenders demanded that Westinghouse cut back on what looked like excessive spending on acquisition of other companies, research, and patents. In 1891 Westinghouse built a hydroelectric AC power plant, the Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant. The plant supplied power to the Gold King Mine 3.5 miles away. This was the first successful demonstration of long-distance transmission of industrial-grade alternating current power and used two 100 hp Westinghouse alternators, one working as a generator producing 3000-volt, 133-Hertz, single-phase AC, and the other used as an AC motor. At the beginning of 1893 Westinghouse engineer Benjamin Lamme had made great progress developing an efficient version of Tesla's induction motor and Westinghouse Electric started branding their complete polyphase AC system as the "Tesla Polyphase System", announcing Tesla's patents gave them patent priority over other AC systems and their intentions to sue patent infringers.
In 1893, George Westinghouse won the bid to light the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago with alternating current, slightly underbidding General Electric to get the contract.This World's Fair devoted a building to electrical exhibits. It was a key event in the history of AC power, as Westinghouse demonstrated the safety, reliability, and efficiency of a fully integrated alternating current system to the American public. Westinghouse's demonstration that they could build a complete AC system at the Colombian Exposition was instrumental in them getting the contract for building a two-phase AC generating system, the Adams Power Plant, at Niagara Falls in 1895. At the same time, a contract to build the three-phase AC distribution system the project needed was awarded to General Electric.The early to mid-1890s saw General Electric, backed by financier J. P. Morgan, involved in costly takeover attempts and patent battles with Westinghouse Electric. The competition was so costly a patent-sharing agreement was signed between the two companies in 1896.
* ( Other projects ) In 1889, Westinghouse purchased several mining claims in the Patagonia Mountains of southeastern Arizona and formed the Duquesne Mining & Reduction Company. A year later he founded what is now the ghost town of Duquesne to use as his company headquarters. He lived in a large Victorian frame house, which still stands, but in disrepair. Duquesne grew to over a 1,000 residents and the mine reached its peak production in the mid-1910s.
With AC networks expanding, Westinghouse turned his attention to electrical power production. At the outset, the available generating sources were hydroturbines where falling water was available, and reciprocating steam engines where it was not. Westinghouse felt that reciprocating steam engines were clumsy and inefficient, and wanted to develop some class of "rotating" engine that would be more elegant and efficient.
One of his first inventions had been a rotary steam engine, but it had proven impractical. The British engineer Charles Algernon Parsons began experimenting with steam turbines in 1884, beginning with a 10-horsepower (7.5 kW) turbine. Westinghouse bought rights to the Parsons turbine in 1885, improved the Parsons technology, and increased its scale. In 1898 Westinghouse demonstrated a 300-kilowatt unit, replacing reciprocating engines in his air-brake factory. The next year he installed a 1.5-megawatt, 1,200 rpm unit for the Hartford Electric Light Company.
Westinghouse then developed steam turbines for maritime propulsion. Large turbines were most efficient at about 3,000 rpm, while an efficient propeller operated at about 100 rpm. That required reduction gearing, but building reduction gearing that could operate at high rpm and at high power was difficult, since a slight misalignment would shake the power train to pieces. Westinghouse and his engineers devised an automatic alignment system that made turbine power practical for large vessels.
Westinghouse remained productive and inventive almost all his life. Like Edison, he had a practical and experimental streak. At one time, Westinghouse began to work on heat pumps that could provide heating and cooling, and believed that he might be able to extract enough power in the process for the system to run itself.[citation needed]
Westinghouse was after a perpetual motion machine, and the British physicist Lord Kelvin, one of Westinghouse's correspondents, told him that he would be violating the laws of thermodynamics. Westinghouse replied that might be the case, but it made no difference. If he couldn't build a perpetual-motion machine, he would still have a heat pump system that he could patent and sell.
With the introduction of the automobile after the turn of the century, Westinghouse went back to earlier inventions and devised a compressed air shock absorber for automobile suspensions.
* ( Personal life, later life and death ) In 1867, Westinghouse met and soon married Marguerite Erskine Walker. They were married for 47 years, and had one son, George Westinghouse III, who had six children.The couple made their first home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They later acquired houses in Lenox, Massachusetts, where they summered, and in Washington, District of Columbia.[citation needed]
Westinghouse remained a captain of American industry until 1907, when the financial panic of 1907 led to his resignation from control of the Westinghouse company. By 1911, he was no longer active in business, and his health was in decline.
George Westinghouse died on March 12, 1914, in New York City at age 67. He was initially interred in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY then removed on December 14, 1915. As a Civil War veteran, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, along with his wife Marguerite, who survived him by three months. She had also been initially interred in Woodlawn and removed and reinterred at the same time as George.
* ( Labor relations & Honors and awards ) A six-day workweek was the rule when George Westinghouse inaugurated the first Saturday half holiday in his Pittsburgh factory in 1881. In 1918 his former home, Solitude, was razed and the land given to the City of Pittsburgh to establish Westinghouse Park. In 1930, the Westinghouse Memorial, funded by his employees, was placed in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh. Also named in his honor, George Westinghouse Bridge is near the site of his Turtle Creek plant. Its plaque reads:

SEPTEMBER 10, 1932
The George Westinghouse Jr. Birthplace and Boyhood Home in Central Bridge, New York, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
In 1989, Westinghouse was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


3032 Idlewild Hill Ln
Ligonier, PA

General information

Please see pinned post for reopening information during Westmoreland County COVID-19 Green Phase. HOURS: Saturdays 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. ADMISSION: Adults $5.00 Seniors: age 65 and over $4.50 Students: through High School $3.00 5 and under: Complimentary Group Rates: AAA & NRHS LVRRA members: Free Admission

Opening Hours

Saturday 11:00 - 15:00


(724) 238-7819


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My LVRR Model Train, began collecting 2005
Due to the possibility of severe weather this weekend, the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum will not be open for visitors on Saturday January 19, 2019 Thank You and stop by and step back into our local history soon! 🚂
My husband and I went on the LVRR bus trip today to the Altoona museums and curve as well as the train ride. I cannot tell you how wonderful this trip was for us. We had the BEST time! It was well planned, down to the minute. Thank you all for your hard work and efforts in making this day a great success! Barb and Bruce Miller.
I have a scrapbook of pictures and tickets from this RR??