Chasing a W&LE Train Out of Bellevue

A Wheeling & Lake Erie manifest freight threads its way through the switches at the mini plant in Bellevue. It is headed for the Brewster connection, which can be seen in the foreground.

A Wheeling & Lake Erie manifest freight threads its way through the switches at the mini plant in Bellevue. It is headed for the Brewster connection, which can be seen in the foreground.

The W&LE train is entering the Brewster connection and will soon be on its home rails.

The W&LE train is entering the Brewster connection and will soon be on its home rails. Note how the letter “O” has been used for the numeral zero in the number board on the left.

Crossing the West branch of the Huron River in Monroeville was my last glimpse of this train as I did not chase it any further.

Crossing the West branch of the Huron River in Monroeville was my last glimpse of this train as I did not chase it any further.

I had been in Bellevue less than an hour when I heard a Wheeling & Lake Erie train crew tell the Norfolk Southern dispatcher that it was ready to depart from the Wick Moorman Yard.

The dispatcher told them to stand by, which is another way of saying it will be a while. After a few NS movements through the mini plant, the NS dispatcher called the W&LE crew and told them their turn had come.

I walked down to the crossing of East Center Street and waited. I could see a small spec of orange in the distance and it took the train a while to work its way out of the yard.

My immediate objective was to use my longest telephoto lens to get the train weaving through the switches of the mini plant.

Then I briskly walked back to my car and headed off to Monroeville. I knew it would take time for the long train to snake its way onto the Brewster connection and out of town.

It would also need to call its own dispatcher to get a track warrant to go to Hartland.

I was able to easily get ahead of the train on the drive to Monroeville. My next objective was to get a shot of the train on the bridge over the West branch of the Huron River.

I discovered this location last year and this would be the third time that I’d worked it, all with eastbound trains.

A couple of other railfans were already in place on the bridge. It seemed to take the W&LE train longer to get to Monroeville than I had expected.

But soon there was a nearby locomotive horn and I could hear the grade crossing gates for Ohio Route 99 come on.

It was nice to see a pair of matching orange and black units. It was a long train and had a lot of tank cars. The other two fans left, but I stuck around to see the entire train cross the bridge before moving on in search of NS traffic on the Sandusky District.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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