Posts Tagged ‘B&LE locomotives’

Last Stand for Solid Bessemer Power: Part 2

June 9, 2021

Continuing the story of the June 2014 outing on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie, after getting a southbound in Albion, we set up at Springboro, Pennsylvania.

After getting the train there we headed south on Pennsylvania Route 18 and eventually heard talk on the scanner of a Conneaut-bound train.

We hoped for a meet at KO north of Osgood. We got there in time for the southbound but the northbound had gotten by us.

After photographing the southbound we worked our way back to Albion and waited.

I got some good photographs across the street from our earlier stop. We then set up in Conneaut on the hogback at Welton Road to catch the train dropping toward the harbor.

Thus ended a great day of documenting a true Bessemer motive power consist with some CSX and Amtrak mixed in.

In the top photograph the southbound passes through Springboro. That same train is seen again at KO north of Osgood.The northbound is shown at Albion and then at Conneaut at Welton Road.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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

Some Early 2000s Bessemer Favorites

February 7, 2021

Even though Canadian National acquired the Bessemer & Lake Erie in 2004, the following 10 years Bessemer power appeared on trains. Shown are a few of my favorites of Bessemer orange in the first decade of the 2000s.

In the top image a northbound is ready to duck underneath U.S. Route 20 on July 6, 2007.

Next up is a southbound in Conneaut on June 16, 2010, followed by a southbound in Conneaut crossing Conneaut Creek and winding around the hogback on June 9, 2006.

The fourth image is a southbound at Hartstown, Pennsylvania, on July 6, 2007; while the last image was made at KO Road just north of Greenville, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 2008.

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

Checking Out the B&LE in Conneaut in 1968

March 23, 2020

Bessemer &Lake Erie 406, a Baldwin DRS6-6-1500, is working the yard in Conneaut in 1968.

It is Sept. 8, 1968, in Conneaut. Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 Berkshire type No. 759 has just left on its first trip after being restored and John Woodworth and I have gone to photograph the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

Here is some of what we saw and photographs that day.

B&LE 830 is outside the engine house.

B&LE 830 as seen from the other side.

We were given permission to get in the cab. I’m looking down the long hood at the engine house.

I’m on the walkway of the short hood looking the opposite way from the photo above.

B&LE 406, a Baldwin DRS6-6-1500, is working a string of hoppers.

B&LE 881 and 883 are working on a coal train.

Working beneath the Nickel Plate Road trestle over Conneaut Creek in a timeless scene.

B&LE 405, a Baldwin DRS6-6-1500,) is in the engine house.

A Penn Central freight is on the ex-New York Central bridge over the B&LE. Note the mixed motive consist of the PC train. The view is looking southward.

2 Iron Ore Trains in One Day on the ex-B&LE

January 9, 2020

On Christmas Eve 2019 Canadian National ran two iron ore trains on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie. The second ore train of the day was pulled by a pair of SD38s still wearing a B&LE livery. The images are of that train at Albion (top), Conneautville (middle), and Kremis (bottom) in Pennsylvania.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Still Some Bessemer Orange to be Found

November 6, 2017

Since early 2015, Bessemer & Lake Erie motive power has been scarce on the former B&LE. Owner Canadian National sent a fleet of former Illinois Central SD70s to the property that extends between Conneaut and the northern Pittsburgh suburbs.

I was sitting in Conneaut waiting for Norfolk Southern traffic when a car came up and a guy about 12 years old got out with his cameras and started walking briskly toward the tracks.

His mother explained that there was a train with an orange engine coming.

I knew what that meant. A few minutes later I heard horns to the south. A train would be arriving on the B&LE in Conneaut soon.

It turned out to have a dog’s breakfast of motive power, B&LE 867, IC 1018, IC 1034 and CN 5422.

For whatever reason, this same motive power set would leave town minus the B&LE 867. Maybe it was being ferried to Conneaut for yard duty.

Getting Lucky, Really Lucky, on the Bessemer

October 22, 2015

For years I've been looking for the opportunity to make an image like this one in Conneaut. Last Saturday, that opportunity presented itself.

For years I’ve been looking for the opportunity to make an image like this one in Conneaut. Last Saturday, that opportunity presented itself.

One of my long-standing goals in railfanning the former Bessemer & Lake Erie has been to get an over and under shot with Norfolk Southern and Canadian National trains.

I’ve actually done that a few times, but in each case the CN train was going into the Conneaut yard and was passing beneath the middle of the NS train, not its head end.

What I really wanted was a train coming out of the yard with motive power beneath the motive power of an NS train.

It’s a tough image to get due to the paucity of traffic on the former B&LE, which is now operated by CN.

CN has, maybe, two trains per day max. NS has more traffic, but not that much more traffic. You can go for hours and not see a train on the former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

Like so many items on my railfan “wish list,” this would be one of those that would just have to happen. You have to be in the right place at the right time.

As it turned out, last Saturday would be one of those times. When it was over I would have bagged not just the motive power over and under shot, but a B&LE train below two other NS trains.

Now that is what I call getting lucky, really lucky.

As my friend Adam Barr and I arrived in Conneaut we suspected something was about to happen on the former Bessemer because a CN truck was sitting next to the tracks just south of the Old Main Road crossing.

Shortly after 8 a.m., the gates started going down and we sprang out of the car and ran toward the crossing.

Into town came a train with CN 5422 on the lead, IC 1034 trailing it and B&LE 905 trailing that.

The train stopped, the conductor got off and then the train pulled down a bit further before stopping again.

As all of this was unfolding, NS train 205 was headed west and I got the first over and under shot, although neither train truly was over or under the other. It was more like above and below but you could still see both trains at the same time.

The conductor cut the B&LE train and it took a cut of loaded coal hoppers to the upper yard.

The truck took the conductor to the yard and the rest of the train sat on the mainline.

I had a hunch that proved to be right that the road power would be back to pick up the rest of the cars after completing its work in the upper yard.

I suggested that we wait by the crossing because the B&LE 905 would be leading when the motive power came back out to pick up the rest of the train.

We heard someone on the radio say “B&LE 905 radio check.” It was almost showtime.

A few minutes later, NS train 145 called the signal at Woodard Road east of the trestle over the B&LE and Conneaut Creek.

About the same time I saw through the trees the headlight of B&LE 905. To quote the late famed baseball announcer Harry Caray, “it may be, it could be, it is . . .”

Of course, Caray was calling a home run, not an over and under meet between two trains.

I would have liked for the B&LE 905 to have been closer to my position and for there to have been sunny rather than cloudy skies.

But this was the opportunity I’d waited a long time to get and I wasn’t going to pass it up.

The CN crew picked up the rest of its train and took it into the yard. After taking a break, they went about making up another train to haul south.

The B&LE 905 would be on the point so there would be another chance to photograph a train on the former Bessemer with a B&LE locomotive leading. It has been well more than a year since I’ve seen that happen.

Yet another NS westbound, the 287, rumbled into Conneaut. Not long after its head end cleared the trestle, the 905 came out from the yard.

The sun popped out through a sucker hole in the clouds, providing nice illumination. Yeah, it was auto rack cars above the 905, but they still looked nice.

Eventually, it was time for the 905 and its train to leave town.

We got shots of the 905 along Conneaut Creek, stopped near the Old Main Road crossing, from the U.S. 20 overpass, and then at Pond Road.

We couldn’t chase the train farther south because we both needed to be back home by early afternoon.

We returned to Conneaut hoping to see NS train 23K, which had the Conrail heritage unit in its motive power consist.

We never saw the 23K, but we did catch something else unexpected on the ex-Bessemer. But that is a story for another day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The day began as it usually does in Conneaut on the Bessemer with the inbound train arriving from the south.

The day began as it usually does in Conneaut on the Bessemer with the inbound train arriving from the south.

The first of three "meets" between a CN train and an NS train. The last cars of westbound NS 205 are passing above the ex-B&LE tracks.

The first of three “meets” between a CN train and an NS train. The last cars of westbound NS 205 are passing above the ex-B&LE tracks.

A cut of tank cars on NS 145 rolls over Conneaut Creek as the 905 continues toward the rest of its train. The fishing must have been good on this morning because a lot of anglers were casting lines in the creek.

A cut of tank cars on NS 145 rolls over Conneaut Creek as the 905 continues toward the rest of its train. The fishing must have been good on this morning because a lot of anglers were casting lines in the creek.

Passing below auto rack cars on NS train 287 as the sun makes a short appearance. The autumn foliage here was not as advanced as I had hoped that it would be.

Passing beneath auto rack cars on NS train 287 as the sun makes a short appearance. The autumn foliage here was not as advanced as I had hoped that it would be.

Zooming in on the 905 and its train as it works the yard in Conneaut.

Zooming in on the 905 and its train as it works the yard in Conneaut.

Another chance to get a B&LE locomotive alongside Conneaut Creek.

Another chance to get a B&LE locomotive alongside Conneaut Creek.

Waiting for the conductor to arrive just north of Old Main Road.

Waiting for the conductor to arrive just north of Old Main Road.

As we got into place on the U.S. 20 bridge, hail started to fall. It was the first time I've ever photographed in a hail storm.

As we got into place on the U.S. 20 bridge, hail started to fall. It was the first time I’ve ever photographed in a hail storm.

The view from the U.S. 20 bridge as B&LE and its train begin the trek out of town.

The view from the U.S. 20 bridge as B&LE and its train begin the trek out of town.

The conductor waves at Adam and I. Considering how high up we were, he must have been looking for us.

The conductor waves at Adam and I. Considering how high up we were, he must have been looking for us.

In the rain at Pond Road, our last look on this day of B&LE 905 and its train.

In the rain at Pond Road, our last look on this day of B&LE 905 and its train.