Posts Tagged ‘Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway’

Westbound at Creston

August 22, 2021

Wheeling & Lake Erie SD40T-2 No. 8795 is on the point of a westbound in Creston, Ohio on Nov. 15, 2015. This locomotive was acquired by the W&LE in September 2014 from the Squaw Creek Southern and placed into service the following month. It was originally built for the Southern Pacific in April 1980 and also spent time on the Union Pacific locomotive roster. It has since been renumbered as Wheeling 5411.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Relics of the Past Near Bellevue

August 13, 2021

I see a number of things when I look at this image made east of Bellevue on the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Hartland Subdivision near Young Road.

I see smoke from the locomotives as the engineer throttles up. I see farms and fields that are typical of this region of Ohio.

And I see a pole line and a signal mast that has been shorn of its signal heads. The latter is due to the Wheeling receiving regulatory approval to decommission a centralized traffic control system that once was operational between Bellevue and Brewster.

CTC dated back to the days when the Nickel Plate Road owned these tracks.

Pole lines were once ubiquitous on rail lines with significant levels of traffic but have rapidly vanished in recent decades as railroads move to other forms of communications technology.

You may also notice that the three locomotives of this train reflect former owners Kansas City Southern and Wisconsin Central.

That long has been a hallmark of the W&LE. It has leased or acquired second-hand motive power that it took months if not years to repaint into its black and orange tiger stripes livery.

My memory is that I was with Marty Surdyk and, I believe, his brother Robert, when I made this image on July 13, 2008. It was made at mid day so the lighting is rather harsh.

Where the Corman Crosses the Wheeling

July 28, 2021

A northbound R.J. Corman train crosses the mainline of the Wheeling & Lake Erie near Brewster on May 19, 2021. The Corman train is on a former Baltimore & Ohio line that once went to Wheeling, West Virginia, and served the southeast Ohio coal fields.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Shuffling in Spencer

July 1, 2021

It’s a Friday afternoon in May 2008 and I’m out doing some railfanning before tonight’s Akron Railroad Club meeting. Ed Ribinskas is along with me.

This is one of two Wheeling & Lake Erie trains we caught on this day. The train shown above has come into town on the Hartland Subdivision and its motive power has cut off and gone around the connection to the Akron Subdivision to work the yard.

For some reason the power has been separated. Perhaps one unit is being dropped here to be picked up by another train.

Later in we would catch a westbound empty stone train that we would chase as far as New London. We photographed it at Firestone Road and from the overpass on the north side of New London that goes over the CSX Greenwich Subdivision.

That train was worth chasing because it had a former Wisconsin Central unit on the point and a former Denver & Rio Grande unit tailing. But that train is for another post on another day.

What I liked about the image above is that it conveys the feel a railroad at work. As one crew member rides the lead locomotive another walks on the ground nearby wearing a hard hat and safety vest.

Cars sit in the yard tracks on both sides of the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown mainline waiting to be picked up.

There is even one of the old searchlight signals that guarded this diamond. Those signals are gone now, replaced with modern devices.

The hardware in Spencer may have changed but one thing remains constant. It’s still a place to find the railroad at work.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Before the Meeting: W&LE Iron Ore Train

June 25, 2021

The chase begins in Wellington with the Wheeling & Lake Erie iron ore train getting a clear signal to cross the CSX Greenwich Subdivision.
Somewhere between Wellington and Spencer we got the ore train again. Note the old style milepost.
You won’t find these searchlight signals in Spencer anymore.
Our last look at the iron ore train in Spencer. SD40 No. 4001 was on the rear.

Back in the day I usually would get in some railfanning before attending Akron Railroad Club meetings.

The tradition began when the late Dave McKay would suggest we hang out for a while at Voris Street in Akron before getting dinner at Steak ‘n Shake and then heading to the club meeting at the Summit County Historical Society’s carriage house.

I continued those before the meeting railfan outings after Dave’s death in December 2004 although I now had more time on meeting day and could extend my range.

On many of those outings the club’s then treasurer Ed Ribinskas was with me.

Our destinations depended on how much time we had and my interests at the moment. I shared images from some of those outings during an ARRC member’s night program in March 2019 titled Before the Meeting.

The photographs above were not part of that program, which to date is the last one I’ve given at an ARRC event.

I just scanned these slides recently as part of a project to scan my collection of slides and color negative film photographs of Wheeling & Lake Erie operations.

The date of these images is March 29, 2008. This would be the first of three before the meeting outings Ed and I made that year to catch W&LE trains.

The March outing began in Wellington where we caught a few CSX trains before an eastbound W&LE iron ore train showed up.

After getting the ore train in Wellington, we chased it out of town, photographing it once along the way and in Spencer.

The train had an all Wheeling look with an SD40 on each end and W&LE lettered hopper cars in between.

Those locomotives, Nos. 4025 and 4001, are still on the W&LE locomotive roster although they have been rebuilt to SD40-3 specifications.

Both units were built for the Missouri Pacific and operated for other railroads before the Wheeling acquired them.

A few elements in the above scenes have changed in the 13 years since these images were made. Chief among those changes is the removal of the search-light type signals in Wellington and Spencer.

You might also notice the lettering on No. 4025 is smaller than what the Wheeling uses now. The current lettering scheme is visible on trailing unit No. 4001.

Otherwise, these images are timeless and some could have been made this year.

Before driving to Akron on this day we wrapped up our outing in Sullivan where we caught a westbound train on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

I don’t recall where we had dinner that night but a check of the ARRC Bulletin shows that the late Richard Jacobs gave the program, presenting slides of Colorado narrow gauge railroads that he made in 1992 and then various images made in 2007 in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

What You Gain by Cropping

April 21, 2021

Here are two images of Wheeling and Lake Erie No. 2662 heading east in Navarre on Aug. 16, 2014. The top image is the full scene while the bottom image has been cropped.

Yes, you can lose some quality by cropping, but it can save some photos taken from farther away than you’d like perhaps because you have the wrong lens on your camera.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Another Wheeling 2 for Tuesday

September 29, 2020

Here are a pair of Wheeling & Lake Erie locomotives that each feature a touch of another railroad.

In the top image SD40-2 No. 6316 still wears is Wisconsin Central livery as it helps pull a westbound in Navarre on September 5, 2016.

In the bottom photo, GP35-3 No. 107 pays tribute to the Akron, Canton & Youngstown. It is shown in Canton on Nov. 4, 2011.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Revenue Service Back on W&LE Carrollton Branch

September 23, 2020

Revenue service has resumed on the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Carrollton branch following completion of rehabilitation projects funded in part by the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

An online report indicated that the first revenue move in more than three years on the branch occurred on Sept. 11 when a plastics company in Carrollton received nine loads of plastic pellets.

Another shipper received a load of stone on Sept. 20 that was delivered to a stone unloading facility recently constructed next to a siding in Carrollton.

ORDC had given the W&LE a grant of $235,225 to be used to rebuild a bridge at Oneida over Sandy Creek.

The agency also awarded a $100,000 grant to trucking company Griffeth & Son to build a transloading facility for stone that is being transported from a quarry near Carey, Ohio.

The transloading facility also received funding of $200,000 from JobsOhio and $50,000 from the Carroll County Community Improvement Corporation.

In recent years the Carrollton branch had been used for storing idled freight cars.

Book Covers AC&Y History in Photographs

June 1, 2015

The Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad has been gone for five decades and in most of the country it is just another obscure fallen flag if it is remembered at all.

But not so in Northeast Ohio where the AC&Y remains well known even though three railroad companies have operated the property since the Norfolk & Western acquired the AC&Y in 1964.

img448The operations of the AC&Y have been covered in various books and other sources over the years, but now the railroad has its own book.

Released earlier this year by Morning Sun, Akron, Canton & Youngstown and Akron & Barberton Belt in Color does double duty in covering the history of two railroads that were headquartered in Akron.

Today, what is left of both railroads is owned by the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, with the A&BB operating under the name Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

Most of the 128 pages of this book are devoted to the AC&Y and follow the standard Morning Sun “slide show in a book” format.

The majority of the content focuses on equipment, but those looking for an overview of the history of both railroads as well as their operations will come away satisfied.

A few black and white photos made their way into the pages, which is not surprising considering that much of the history of the AC&Y was made before color photography became widespread.

Contributing photographers include current and former Akron Railroad Club members John Beach, Peter Bowler, Roger Durfee, Dave McKay and Chris Lantz. Robert Farkas provided information to the author.

Robert E. Lucas wrote the book in conjunction with the AC&Y Historical Society. ARRC member H. Roger Grant wrote the foreword.

Unlike other roads that the Norfolk & Western acquired in the 1960s, the AC&Y continued to operate with a high degree of autonomy that included keeping the AC&Y name.

It wasn’t until 1982 that the AC&Y Corporation was dissolved and the N&W began operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary the road that never made it to either Canton or Youngstown.

Nonetheless, N&W equipment became common on the ex-AC&Y and the AC&Y identity gradually faded away.

This is a comprehensive look at the company’s history, including the era when the western end of the line was known by such names as Pittsburgh, Akron & Western, Lake Erie & Western, and the Northern Ohio Railway.

Some of the trackage in Akron was built as part of the original AC&Y and the book does a nice job of covering the histories of the predecessor railroad companies.

The book describes with words and photographs the operations of the line from Delphos to Akron before describing in detail the locomotive and freight car fleets. There are sections devoted to such topics as stations, infrastructure and passenger train operations.

The book has brief sections describing how the AC&Y as well as the A&BB have fared in the W&LE era.

Most of the photographs are of the roster shot variety with some action images spread throughout the book. Rosters of equipment are provided along with a few maps.

This book will make a welcome addition to the collection of anyone with an interest in the history of Northeast Ohio railroads.

Review by Craig Sanders

Looking Good After More than a Decade

February 8, 2015

WE 1

WE 2

Ohio celebrated its bicentennial in 2003. As part of the festivities, the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway painted GP35-3 No. 200 into a black and white livery with a red, white and blue bicentennial logo, and an Ohio flag painted on its sides. White stripes adorned the nose.

I’ve seen and photographed this unit before, including a time when it was leading a train on CSX when the W&LE still used its trackage rights on the New Castle Subdivision through Kent.

Although this livery is approaching 12 years of age, the unit itself is much older. It was built by EMD in December 1964 for the Southern Railway, where it carried roster number 2706.

The “new” Wheeling acquired the unit in 1990. It was rebuilt in October 1995. Along the way it acquired Alco trucks.

My latest encounter with W&LE 200 was near New London earlier this month. It was sitting in the siding just east of Chenango Road waiting for the approval of the IG dispatcher to get onto the CSX Greenwich Subdivision.

With fellow unit 4016 (an SD40-3), the 200 was cooling its heels with a Willard-bound manifest freight.

The original plan was to photograph this train at GN Tower in Greenwich after it got on the CSX Willard Terminal Subdivision.

But with time running short — it was getting to be late afternoon — we decided to look for it in New London.

And there is was, looking rather splendid. Maybe the railfan gods were looking out for us because some late day sunlight poked through a crevice in the clouds and No. 200 looked even more spectacular taking a bow for the cameras.

Photographs by Craig Sanders