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Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE) Steam Locomotive Repair Shop
The Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad put its locomotive maintenance and associated shops astride its tracks in McKees Rocks around 1885. Of the several buildings on this site that survive, the Erection Shop is the largest and most impressive. It was constructed in 1903 after a fire involving steam-powered motors. This magnificent brick basilica is twenty-four bays in length and four bays in width. The external structure, with its round-arched windows and decorative cornice, is entirely of brick, while the internal trusses and columns are iron and steel. Four locomotives could sit abreast during repairs; electric motors that powered overhead cranes picked up whole locomotives to place them for rebuilding. With the conversion of the line to diesel power in the 1950s, the Erection Shop became redundant. Only one-tenth of the building is used now (for an electrical reheating furnace), but this is one of the finest remaining buildings of Pittsburgh's industrial heritage, and every effort should be made to ensure its preservation. Its former companions, two huge roundhouses and a powerhouse, have been demolished.
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