The Montour Trail follows a portion of the old Montour Railroad, which was built between 1877 and 1914 to link the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad with the region's many coal mines. Forming a semi-circle around Pittsburgh, the Montour Trail is a crushed limestone railtrail near Pittsburgh which will eventually extend 47 miles (76 km) from Coraopolis, to Clairton.
The trail is part of a 204-mile rails to trails project between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland. When completed, it will be part of a 400-mile (640 km) trail system between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C, known as the Great Allegheny Passage. Most of the trail is complete but there are a few incomplete sections.
The missing segments are located towards the Clairton end of the trail and the detours are not always marked. I have gotten lost a couple times trying to connect the trail segments. The map and the Trail Link app to the right will assist with navigating.
National Tunnel: At 40.3170°N 80.1818°W, this Cecil Township tunnel was formerly used by the Montour Railroad and was abandoned with the railroad until it was acquired with the rail right-of-way in the 1980s by the Montour Trail Council (MTC). The tunnel is 623-foot (190 m) and is paved with asphalt pavement with reflectors for safe navigation. In 2012, electrical lighting and signs warning of accumulations of ice were added to the tunnel to increase safety.
Library Trestle: This 506-foot (154 m) railroad trestle over Library Rd. (PA 88) in South Park was also formerly used by the Montour Railroad, until its incorporation into the trail. Renovation was completed in the spring of 2015.
West Peters Trail Area: This approximately two-mile section in Peters Township, PA of trail holds four amazing sites: the Greer Tunnel, two bridges directly adjacent to the tunnel, and the X-1 railroad service crane, a former working crane for the Montour Railroad. One of the bridges adjacent to the Greer Tunnel is the Chartiers Creek High Bridge, the highest bridge on the trail. A working railroad line also crosses directly under the trail in this area.
McDonald Viaduct (Trestle): Formerly used by the Montour Railroad, the 960-foot (290 m) long trestle reopened in 2003. It spans over Noblestown Road, Robinson Run, the Panhandle Trail and John's Avenue in Washington County, PA.