Posts Tagged ‘Albion Pennsylvania’

Last Stand for Solid Bessemer Power

June 8, 2021

Our June 18, 2014 outing had a game plan in place. Craig Sanders and I set out to start with eastbound Amtrak No. 48 and then focus on the Bessemer & Lake Erie knowing that solid Bessemer motive power was nearing the end.

We were fortunate with our catches on this day, and our predictions were correct because the following year the majority of Bessemer motive power was transferred elsewhere on the Canadian National system.

We began early in Conneaut to set up for the Lake Shore Limited if it was on time which would be about 6:50 a.m. Soon we found out it was running close to three hours behind schedule.

We saw a CSX and a Norfolk Southern train and then put Plan B into place.

We kept a sharp ear on the scanner for the Bessemer since that was our main objective, but worked our way to Lake City, Pennsylvania, knowing we could get back to intercept the Bessemer once we heard radio chatter on its frequency.

At Lake City we photographed five trains on CSX, including Amtrak. Once we heard the Bessemer squawking we worked our way to intercept a train coming out of the Conneaut harbor.

The top image is an eastbound CSX stack train led by BNSF motive power at 10:17 a.m. in Lake City.

Next up is the Lake Shore Limited at 11:02 a.m. Note that it still had Heritage Fleet baggage cars.

Our first shot of the Bessemer after its Conneaut departure was at Pond Road in Pennsylvania at 11:55 a.m. The same train is seen at 12:38 p.m. passing the site of the location of the B&LE passenger station in Albion, Pennsylvania. I’ll continue describing our good fortune in Part 2.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Recalling the B&LE-NS Interchange at Wallace Junction

November 1, 2020

 Back in the 1990s interchange traffic between the Bessemer & Lake Erie and Norfolk Southern was a regular happening at Wallace Junction in Pennsylvania.

Loaded coke off the Bessemer was delivered to NS at Wallace to be delivered westward.

On days off from work I would venture to Pennsylvania with the hopes of catching activity.

On days that Marty was off, he and his brother Robert would pick me up and we also had good luck on the Bessemer.

Shown are some highlights I was able to get on Thursday April 17, 1997.

The top image shows a B&LE train departing with a few cars of freight and empty hoppers at Girard

In sequence below we see NS eastbound empties arriving at Wallace, the B&LE leaving Girard, a B&LE train passed through the yard in Albion and an NS westbound at Ashtabula that had picked up coke loads at Wallace.

At the time, the B&LE still used the yard in Albion, but today most of the yard is gone and there is no activity there.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Bright Red on a Line Known for Orange

November 9, 2017

Putting together the train alongside Conneaut Creek.

I go to Conneaut these days to see the former Illinois Central SD70s that have been assigned to the ex-Bessemer & Lake Erie property since early 2015.

Despite being owned by Canadian National, the ex-B&LE hasn’t seen all that much CN red and black in recent years.

On a recent visit to Conneaut, the CN job to Conneaut came into town in early afternoon with B&LE 867 on the lead. Then came two IC SD70s followed by a CN SD60.

The CN unit, No. 5422, did sport a bright red nose. That came courtesy of a rebuild in Centralia, Illinois, in a former IC shop in 2012.

I guess if the train I’m going to chase must wear CN red, I’d prefer that it be bright red.

I didn’t chase it all that far. By the time the CN train was ready to leave Conneaut it was getting to be late afternoon.

I would catch it in Albion and Conneautville, Pennsylvania, before breaking off the chase and heading home.

Splitting the signals in Albion, Pennsylvania.

A last look at CN 5422 as it saunters through Conneautville, Pennsylvania.

 

Seeking New, Old Photography Locations While Chasing on the Former Bessemer & Lake Erie

July 9, 2016

Illinois Central SD70 No. 1018 leads a train out of the yard in Conneaut.

Illinois Central SD70 No. 1018 leads a train out of the yard in Conneaut.

Conneaut was quiet, very quiet. We had been sitting next to the former Bessemer & Lake Erie tracks for more than an hour and had heard nothing on the radio and seen nothing on the rails.

Nothing was going on with CSX. Nothing was going on with Norfolk Southern. And, of course, CN was quiet, too.

Finally, a CSX train called a signal on the radio. OK, let’s head to the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern depot where we might see a train.

But the best we saw was the middle of a CSX intermodal train as we were driving to the tracks.

Our stay near the depot turned out to be brief and that wasn’t a bad thing.

The B&LE radio channel had come alive so back we went to the Main Street crossing and the B&LE tracks.

Soon, the radio transmissions became more frequent and it was clear that a crew was putting a train together.

When the train finally came out of the yard the head end went all the way down to the crossing.

On the point was a trio of Illinois Central SD70s, Nos. 1018, 1034 and 1038. The Canadian National train had IC motive power as it traveled former Bessemer & Lake Erie tracks.

One of my objectives for the subsequent chase was to photograph in some new places.

So, we drove to the crossing at Welton Road, which is not exactly a new place for me.

I’ve photographed inbound trains here, including as recently as last fall when I got an IC SD70 leading a train past some nice autumn foliage.

But only once have I photographed a train leaving town and crossing the bridge over Conneaut Creek.

That was in June 2006 when Ed Ribinskas and I waited an interminably long time to catch a train that didn’t depart until late afternoon. It is still the latest I’ve ever seen a train leave Conneaut on the B&LE.

The screaming of the IC SD70s alerted us that the train was coming. Trains leaving Conneaut on the B&LE face a tough grade and go around a horseshoe curve.

We had to wait for the train to clear the Welton Road crossing before we could dash off to Pond Road. But the train beat us there by less than a minute.

Adam turned his car around and we set out for Albion. The train was already going over U.S. Route 6N shortly after we left West Springfield, Pennsylvania.

I had an idea for a photo location in Albion that I’d never tried, but it didn’t work out.

We found, though, a grassy area alongside John Williams Avenue at the south end of the B&LE yard. It worked out just fine.

We had to wait for the train at the East Main Street crossing in downtown Albion so I got a grab shot out the window of the lead unit passing a sign for a restaurant touting its “country cooking.”

I wanted to get a photo at Conneautville of the train passing the grain elevator. But at the first grade crossing south of that facility there were so many trees that you couldn’t see it.

We ended up going to the feed store and to get the classic Conneautville photos.

The chase continued south on Pennsylvania Route 18 and on a whim we turned down Agnew Road.

The good news is that it’s a nice photo location. The bad news is that we got there about a minute too late. All I could do was a grab shot out the window.

The train was already past Hartstown when we arrived, having been slowed by heavier than normal traffic in Conneaut Lake.

Still, we caught up to and passed the train and had enough time to set up at our objective, which was Osgood.

I’ve shot a B&LE train crossing over the former Erie Railroad tracks here – now owned by Norfolk Southern – but a railfan had parked his vehicle along the right of way. Today, though, I was able to get the photo that I wanted.

We had no concrete plans for chasing the train further. Adam suggested trying to follow the tracks on his GPS.

That eventually led us to St. Glory Road southeast of Greenville. The minute that we had needed at Agnew Road we had here.

Now what do we do? I’ve never been to Kremis before, the location on the B&LE where they often change crews.

Presumably, it is near a town or road of the same name. Using a GPS, we found Kremis Road, but it ended far from the tracks.

Through a combination of using the GPS and dead reckoning we wound up on Heckman Road, which turned out to be just south of the spot where the crew change occurs.

A cab was already waiting to pick up the crew and the dispatcher told them the next crew was not on duty until 1900 hours. That was five hours from now.

So the conductor and engineer got out and started setting hand brakes to tie the train down.

At that point, we headed back to Greenville and then on to Meadville to check out the Western New York & Pennsylvania as well as the Voodoo Brewing company.

As it turned out, we only photographed one train on this day, but it had still been a productive outing.

I’m never going to complain about a train with three Illinois Central locomotives.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Crossing Conneaut Creek while climbing out of Conneaut. Those SD70s were really screaming as they approached.

Crossing Conneaut Creek while climbing out of Conneaut. Those SD70s were really screaming as they approached.

A new photo location in Albion, for me anyway.

A new photo location in Albion for me.

The crew did not have time to stop for some country cookin' in Albion.

The crew did not have time to stop for some country cookin’ in Albion.

The classic shot to be had at Conneautville. At least it is open.

The classic shot to be had at Conneautville. At least it is open.

Getting down low at Conneautville. At one time I presume this siding served the grain elevator across the street behind me.

Getting down low at Conneautville. At one time I presume this siding served the grain elevator across the street behind me.

Crossing over the former Erie mainline at Osgood.

Crossing over the former Erie mainline at Osgood.

At St. Glory Road southeast of Greenville. I'd never been here before.

At St. Glory Road southeast of Greenville. I’d never been here before.

So this is Kremis, which I've heard so many times mentioned in radio transmissions. The view is from Heckman Road.

So this is Kremis, which I’ve heard so many times mentioned in radio transmissions. The view is from Heckman Road.

Tying it down at Kremis and then going off the clock.

Tying it down at Kremis and then going off the clock.

The cornfields in the foreground and three IC locomotives in the background made me feel as that I had found a little of central Illinois in western Pennsylvania. But the part of Illinois where I grew up is flatter.

The cornfields in the foreground and the three IC locomotives in the background made me feel as though I had found a little piece of central Illinois in western Pennsylvania. But the part of Illinois where I grew up is flatter.