Posts Tagged ‘Conneaut’

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.

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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

Easy Catch in Conneaut

May 4, 2017

I had a hankering to see some Illinois Central motive power so, naturally, I went to Conneaut to find it.

It didn’t take long. I had parked opposite of the former New York Central passenger station along the CSX Erie West Subdivision.

I turned on my scanner and the first radio transmission I heard was a Canadian National crew making switching moves in the yard of the former Bessemer & Lake Erie.

So off I went to the Main Street crossing to wait. Within 15 to 20 minutes IC SD70 No. 1034 and two other IC sister units pulled down by the Norfolk Southern trestle.

It would be the easiest catch of the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Some Recent Conneaut Doings

August 19, 2016
An eastbound CSX stack train passes by the water tower in Conneaut. The town name on the tank could use a touch up.

An eastbound CSX stack train passes by the water tower in Conneaut. The town name on the tank could use a touch up.

I’ve made a few trips to  Conneaut this summer in search of action on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie. But while killing time waiting on the B&LE, I’ve also photographed CSX and Norfolk Southern activity.

Of the two, the NS is easier to get because I can stake out the B&LE and see NS trains crossing Conneaut Creek at the same time. To get CSX means having to be away from the Bessemer tracks.

But CSX is also far busier than NS so there is a greater chance of getting a train on CSX. Presented here are a number of photographs made in Conneaut during the past few months.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS train 145 is running light today, really light.

NS train 145 is running light today, really light.

Now there is something you don't see every day. A Feromex unit is part of the motive power consist of a westbound NS auto rack train.

Now there is something you don’t see every day. A Feromex unit is part of the motive power consist of a westbound NS auto rack train.

Catching an eastbound manifest freight coming off the east end of the trestle over Conneaut Creek.

Catching an eastbound manifest freight coming off the east end of the trestle over Conneaut Creek.

This eastbound was relatively short as it goes into the siding to await a meet.

This eastbound was relatively short as it goes into the siding to await a meet.

The rear car of the NS train had paper strung over it.

The rear car of the NS train had paper strung over it.

Another eastbound on NS crossing the B&LE and Conneaut Creek.

Eastbound train 206 on NS crossing the B&LE and Conneaut Creek.

CSX locomotives are smoking it up while leading a westbound tanker train past a house overlooking the tracks. I wonder if the guy who owns it is a railfan.

CSX locomotives are smoking it up while leading a westbound tanker train past a house overlooking the tracks. I wonder if the guy who owns it is a railfan.

A Couple in Conneaut

July 22, 2016
CSX westbound Q393 has a BNSF unit on the point as it passes the Conneaut Hstorical Railroad Museum.

CSX westbound Q393 has a BNSF unit on the point as it passes the Conneaut Hstorical Railroad Museum.

The 22K soars over Conneaut Creek.

The 22K soars over Conneaut Creek.

On some days you wind up seeing more trains than you photograph. Maybe you are out of position too often or you can’t get to where you want to be in time to get the photograph that you want.

I had one of those days in early May in Conneaut. But I didn’t come away empty handed, either. Here are a couple images that I was able to make.

Photographs by Craig Sanders