Posts Tagged ‘Conneaut’

Steam Saturday: A Hudson on the ex-New York Central

February 6, 2021

During Steamtown’s Grand Opening celebration in July 1995 I photographed Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 No. 2816, which had been part of the Steamtown collection since the 1960s.

Years earlier I had seen CP Royal Hudson’s 2839 and 2860. I always regretted never having a chance to see the famous New York Central Hudsons.

If I did see any I would have been 1 or 2 years old, and obviously would not remember.

However, in September 1998, the Canadian Pacific purchased the 2816 from Steamtown in order to restore it to operation by a team headed by Doyle McCormack.

In May 2004 the restored 2816 pulled the railroad’s Trans Canadian Steam Express across Canada from Vancouver to Montreal.

On its return west on June 13, 2004, the train crossed into the United States at Buffalo, New York, for a routing on CSX to Chicago.

This meant that from Buffalo to Greenwich this was the former New York Central home to its famous Hudsons.

In the top photo above and the first one below, No. 2816 is on stactic dislay at Steamtown in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1995.

The third photo was made as the train cruised westbound at Westfield, New York

The next three images were made during  a service stop at Conneaut.

Word was the service stop was initially scheduled for Ashtabula, but Doyle McCormack, a Conneaut native, was running the locomotive and must have made some suggestion to change the service stop to Conneaut which happened to be his boyhood hometown.

Next up the train is at Schaaf Road in Cleveland on the former Big Four following by an image made in Grafton.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Bessemer Memories

January 4, 2021

For the longest time the Bessemer & Lake Erie maintained its identity even after the Canadian National takeover in 2004.

During my many visits to the B&LE I was greeted with the Bessemer orange such as the image on top that I made on July 6, 2007.

However on Aug. 20, 2001, a strange but more than welcome visitor appeared.

The Bennett Levin Pennsylvania Railroad E8A locomotives pulled a private car excursion over the Bessemer. That train had arrived in Erie, Pennsylvania, the previous day

On Monday, Aug. 20, 2001, the special departed Erie on CSX and got onto the Bessemer for a rare mileage trip and is shown above in a view made from the U.S. Route 20 bridge in Conneaut as the train snakes along Conneaut Creek and passes beneath the Nickel Plate trestle.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Railfanning and Minor League Hockey

November 29, 2020

Few people in Northeast Ohio have probably heard of the Mentor Ice Breakers, a minor league hockey franchise in Mentor that shut down recently after playing just two seasons.

The Ice Breakers were in the Federal Prospects Hockey League and played their games in the small, but intimate Mentor Civic Center.

Ed Ribinskas, Marty Surdyk and I attended a pair of Ice Breaker games in March 2019.

Both games faced off on a Sunday afternoon and afterwards we went out to dinner at a local restaurant before heading home.

I’ll always associate watching the Ice Breakers play with railfanning before the games.

Ed and I went out before the first game, getting as far east as Albion, Pennsylvania, after chasing a train there from Conneaut on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie.

Marty joined us for some railfanning before the second game on a day that featured dramatic winter weather even though it was officially spring.

It had rained and then snowed overnight, leaving a coating of white on nearly everything.

We caught quite a few trains that day on the CSX Erie West Subdivision and the NS Lake Erie District, including a work train with a caboose.

Ice Breakers owner Dan Moon told the News-Herald that he and business partner Chris Brynarski lost more than $500,000 operating the team during its two-year existence.

Although they thought about suspending operations for the 2020-2021 season as two other teams in the league have done, after looking into it they decided it wasn’t financially feasible.

Ed and his wife, Ursula, attended several Ice Breakers games including what turned out to be the final one played before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March and shut down the league.

“I’m glad we had the chance to see a few games while they existed,” he wrote in an email. “I know Ursula and myself enjoyed it very much.

“[I] never would have realized the game I saw with Marty back in March would be the last game the team would play.”

In the top image, CSX westbound intermodal train Q009 kicks up some snow as it passes through a winter wonderland near Unionville on March 31, 2019.

In the middle image, an eastbound CSX train led by a pair of Union Pacific units passes the Nickel Plate Road Berkshire-type steam locomotive on static display in Conneaut on March 10, 2019.

In the bottom image, the Ice Breakers celebrate after scoring the winning goal in a game that featured an improbable ending.

With a minute left in the game and the Danville (Illinois) Dashers holding a 7-5 lead, it looked like the home team would lose yet again.

But the Dashers committed two minor penalties and the Ice Breakers scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 4.5 seconds left to play.

In overtime, Mentor scored on a breakaway at the 1:04 mark to win in sudden death.

I don’t know if any of the Ice Breakers made or will ever make a National Hockey League roster, but they provided inexpensive entertainment on the two Sunday afternoons that I saw them play.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

RoadRailer Rambles

July 19, 2020

An eastbound Norfolk Southern RoadRailer train passes through downtown Cleveland on Aug. 6, 1989.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s the Norfolk Southern RoadRailer was sort of the in thing as the heritage units are currently.

I was never able to see the Conrail or Union Pacific RoadRailers and missed an opportunity to see the CSX rendition. We were set up in Kentucky to catch the CSX RoadRailer train led by the F-units but it was out of service on this day.

However I did have good luck with NS and  here are some of my favorite catches.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Crossing the Grand River in Painesville on April 16, 1989.

Soaring over Conneaut Creek and the Bessemer & Lake Erie tracks in Conneaut on April 16, 1989.

In Bellevue on April 30, 1989.

In April 1989 the former Nickel Plate still crossed the former Wheeling & Lake Erie in Bellevue on a diamond.

At Spring City, Tennessee, on June 28, 1989.

Going into the siding at Conneaut on Aug. 12, 1989, as a westbound steam special waits.

NKP 759 in Conneaut

July 12, 2020

Saturday was the birthday of day is Ross Rowland, who was in charge of restoring Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 759.

Bob Farkas dug out these photographs to help mark the occasion.

It is Sept. 8, 1968, in Conneaut and these images were made with a twin lens reflex camera.

NKP 759 is eastbound crossing the trestle of the former NKP mainline over Conneaut Creek.

Bob reports who does not know who the two photographers who are in front of him are.

Presented is a full frame scene and a cropped version.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

In the February ARRC eBulletin

February 21, 2018

The cover story in the February issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin is a look at operations of Canadian National in Conneaut.

Many don’t think of CN as being a Northeast Ohio railroad, but it is, albeit with limited operations.

As was the case when the ancestor of the former Bessemer & Lake Erie was founded in the late 19th century, the CN’s Bessemer Subdivision makes its living hauling iron ore mined in Minnesota and used to make steel in the Pittsburgh area.

The Bessemer Sub is an orphan operation that does not connect directly with the rest of the CN network. Yet it is an interesting one for those willing to take the time to get to know it.

The March issue of the eBulletin will be distributed the week of March 25 and feature an article titled Searching for the Erie Lackawanna.

January Treat in Conneaut

January 23, 2018

A southbound taconite pellets train slowly makes it way out of Conneaut. The view is from the U.S. 20 bridge over the valley of Conneaut Creek.

I’ve photographed the former Bessemer & Lake Erie in Conneaut in every season except winter. Now I can cross that off my to do list.

On a cold but mostly sunny mid-January day, fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I trekked to Conneaut with little time to spare to catch a southbound Canadian National train finishing its work in the yard and heading out of town.

I was driving and Peter was monitoring my scanner as we neared Conneaut on Interstate 90. He reported hearing a lot of chatter on the B&LE radio frequency.

That was good news because it meant the crew was either disassembling or assembling its train.

It turned out to be the latter. As we arrived at the CN grade crossing on Old Main Street, the train was coming out of the yard in its final move before stopping to wait for the conductor.

Peter jumped out and bolted for the bridge over Conneaut Creek, having in mind getting an image of the train along the ice-covered river.

I wanted to get that, too, but couldn’t get into position as fast as he could because I had to park and then gather up my camera.

I also wasted time getting an image from the west side of the tracks of the train coming out of the yard. By the time I got onto the bridge, the lead unit was past the open area and obscured by brush.

I was hoping that the crew had more work to do that would require a back-up move and I’d have a second chance at the shot I had missed.

But they were done with working in the yard. We made some images of the train sitting there and the engineer got out to fix something on the third unit as we waited to see what was next.

Down Main Street came a CN block truck and it was time to get into position for our next series of images.

Those would come from atop the U.S. 20 bridge and we got into position there just as the train began moving.

The ditch lights of the lead unit were already flashing as we scrambled into position. Days of snow plowing had left heavy snow on the bridge’s sidewalks. Even with boots on, walking through that snow and slush was like walking through heavy sand.

This vantage point yielded my favorite image of the series. Illinois Central SD70 No. 1038 is about to pass into the shadow of the bridge as the train slowly ambles into the horseshoe-shaped curve it goes around leaving town while grinding upgrade.

Although I didn’t recognize it at the time, my second favorite image was made from the other side of the bridge. It is not often that a going-away shot captures my imagination as this one did.

I’ve photographed trains from this vantage point before, but not during winter. The snow makes the bare trees and hillsides come alive in a way they don’t during the other seasons.

There is a sense of the train going somewhere as it motors its way through a river valley, even if it is a modest one.

The remainder of my images are pleasant winter photographs. IC black contrasts well with that white snow. Of course, so does CN red and, no doubt, would Bessemer orange.

This was my second favorite image of the CN train leaving Conneaut.

I missed the along the river image I wanted to get because I stopped to make this image. Maybe there will be another opportunity later this winter to get the one that got away.

More Conneaut Doings

December 12, 2017

NS eastbound manifest freight 316 has a pair of Union Pacific locomotives in charge as it crosses Conneaut Creek in a view made from the U.S. 20 bridge.

In a recent post I described a recent Sunday afternoon catching a Canadian National train in Conneaut on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie. CN wasn’t the only operations that I observed and photographed.

Traffic on Norfolk Southern was slow for most of the morning with nothing running. Things began picking up before noon when the 22K showed up followed by the 206, the 098 and the 316.

I never saw or heard of a westbound on NS during my time in Conneaut.

I spent most of the morning on CSX where traffic was heavy after I arrived with four trains coming through in the first hour that I was there.

I was surprised that none of the CSX trains I saw were intermodals. Once NS got into action, I moved away from the CSX tracks.

After the CN train showed up around 1 p.m., the likelihood of my going back trackside along the CSX Erie West Subdivision became minimal.

Here are some highlights of what I saw on NS and CSX on this day.

It’s the eastbound stack train 22K.

NS train 206 has one of the DC to AC conversion units on the point today.

Can you guess which way the 098 is going? It is headed for work in Pennsylvania.

A two-image sequence of a westbound CSX crude oil train.

A westbound CSX manifest freight passes the former New York Central freight house, which is now owned by the Conneaut Historical Society.

CSX eastbound auto rack train Q254 passes the Conneaut water tank.

Getting Acquainted with NKP 755

August 16, 2017

I’ve seen Nickel Plate Road No. 755, a Berkshire steam locomotive, many times during my trips to Conneaut.

I might have photographed it once or twice outside the fence at the railroad museum housed in the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (New York Central) depot.

I finally got a closer view of the 755 during a recent visit to the Conneaut museum, during which time I went inside to take a look around and exited into the small exhibit space of rolling stock that includes the 755.

I have seen its sister Berk, the 765 in action many times. I don’t know if NKP 765 has ever passed NKP 755 on the adjacent tracks of the CSX Erie West Subdivision.

I know the NKP 765 was in town a couple years ago while ferrying from out East to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. It made a service stop in Conneaut, but the former Nickel Plate tracks are a few blocks south of the museum.

You can go up into the cab of the 755, but a partition limits how much of you can visit.

There are mannequins sitting in the engineer’s and fireman’s seats dressed in railroad work clothing and appearing to be operating the locomotive.

As you around the 755 you begin to realize how much of a job it is to restore one of these engines from stuffed and mounted to operating.

It seems unlikely that 755 will ever be restored to operating condition although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has talked about it. There are no shortage of people who think they want to restore a steam locomotive.

Nickel Plate Road 759 at Conneaut

July 17, 2017

Before Nickel Plate Road 765 was restored, there was NKP 759. Here NKP 759 is heading eastbound over the Norfolk & Western (ex-NKP) trestle in Conneaut on Sept. 8, 1968. This was her first excursion after rebuilding in 1968.

Photograph by Robert Farkas