PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton


The Bellefonte Central Railroad (reporting mark BFC) was a shortline connecting Bellefonte and State College, Pennsylvania. Constructed in the late 19th century to haul local iron ore to furnaces in the Bellefonte region, it later hauled freight traffic to Penn State and lime for steelmaking from local quarries. The line to State College was abandoned in 1974, and most of the remaining railroad in 1984, but a small portion is still used by the Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad.

Claims to Fame

Mike Bezilla notes several "claims to fame" belonging to the railroad:
  • Had a governor as its president? Pennsylvania Governor James A. Beaver of Bellefonte served as first president of the Buffalo Run, Bellefonte, and Bald Eagle Railroad, later reorganized as the Bellefonte Central.
  • Carried the President of the United States? President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, and their party rode to the Penn State campus over BFC rails aboard their private car, the Ferdinand Magellan on May 9, 1953.
  • Had an employee who was the first to receive benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act? In 1935, retired BFC car repair foreman William Billett received Railroad Retirement Board Check No. 1.
  • Originated more lime and stone than any other shortline in the nation? It originated approximately 14 million tons of quarry products during its corporate lifetime, including 383,737 tons in the peak year of 1925 and 381,183 tons in the second-highest year of 1955.
  • Had a locomotive that was designated the “All American Short-line Diesel”? Trains magazine bestowed that singular honor on BFC SW1200 No. 5624 in 1987.


Lime Industry and the Bellefonte Central

Bellefonte Central: Track Chart

Locomotive Roster

Rolling Stock Roster



Main Line

Bellefonte 0.00 Connection with Pennsylvania Railroad
Coleville 0.85 Enginehouse and shops; site of Bellefonte Furnace
Morris 2.31  
Stevens 3.19  
Chemical 3.54 Site of Chemical Lime/National Gypsum/Domtar plant
Hunter's Park 5.40 Amusement park built by the railroad
Fillmore 6.72  
Briarly 8.50  
Waddle 10.33  
Mattern Junction   connection with Red Bank (later Scotia) Branch
Lagarde 13.34 or Alto; connection with branch to Scotia Mining Company
Krumrine 16.10  
Struble 17.47 connection with Pine Grove Mills and Fairbrook Branches
State College 18.30 station now a bus terminal


Red Bank and Scotia Branches

Mattern Junction   connection with main line
Graysdale   junction Scotia Branch
Stormstown Station   at some distance from the town
Red Bank   site of ore mining
Scotia Branch
Scotia   site of ore mining


Pine Grove Mills Branch

Struble 0.0 connection with main line
Pine Grove Mills 3.5 station now Ferguson Township Elementary School


Fairbrook Branch

Struble 0.0 connection with main line
Fairbrook 5.4 remainder of branch ex-PRR
Musser 7.1  
Pennsylvania Furnace 8.9  
Hostler 10.6  
Marengo 12.4  
Furnace Road 14.1  
Dungarvin 15.8  
Warriors Mark 18.2  
Pennington 20.6  
Eyer 21.6  
Stover 23.6 Connection with Pennsylvania Railroad


Scotia Branch (wartime)

Lagarde 0.0 connection with main line
Scotia Mining Co. Plant 3.0  


Further Reading

Bezilla, Michael; Rudnicki, Jack (2007). Rails to Penn State: The Story of the Bellefonte Central. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-0231-7.

Michael Bezilla, "Proxy for the New York Central: The Central Railroad of Pennsylvania," Milepost, Vol. 24 (October 2006): 14-19.

Michael Bezilla, "Battle for Coal," Railroad History, No. 194 (Spring-Summer 2006): 58-67.

Michael Bezilla, “The PRR’s Lewisburg & Tyrone Railroad: When Two Halves Didn’t Make a Whole,” Milepost, Vol. 22 (April 2004): 10-19; expanded and reprinted in The Keystone, Vol. 39 (Spring 2006): 18-40.

Jack Rudnicki and Michael Bezilla, “Freight Traffic on the Bellefonte Central Railroad,” National Railway Bulletin, Vol. 66 (2001): 4-33.

Michael Bezilla, “Philadelphia & Reading in the Nittany Valley,” The Bee Line, Vol. 23 (2001): 19-23.

Susan Lewis, “Shortline to State College,” Town & Gown, May 1984: 10-22; June 1984: 60-76.

Paul Simpson, “The Bellefonte Central Railroad,” Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, No. 117 (October 1967): 7-17.

Woodrow W. Bierly, “Bellefonte Central Railroad,” Model Builder, Vol. 12 (October 1948): 6-10.

Russell B. Nesbitt, “A History of the Bellefonte Central Railroad,” Penn State Engineer, Vol. 10 (May 1929): 5-36.