Posts Tagged ‘Wheeling & Lake Erie’

W&LE Receives State Grant to Improve Bridge

September 17, 2021

The Ohio Rail Development Commission has approved a $125,000 grant to the Wheeling & Lake Erie for bridge work in Tuscarawas County.

The project involves improving the clearance of a railroad bridge over a Ohio Route 212 near Bolivar.

The railroad owns the bridge and maintains it. The ORDC grant will be matched by the

Ohio Department of Transportation for a combined state funding share of $250,000.

The project cost is estimated at $503,320. Officials said the bridge to be rebuilt has been struck by vehicular traffic at least 20 times over the past 17 years, including this past June.

“The resolution of this long-running clearance concern will result in a safer experience for the motoring public, as well as enhanced safety for trains on this crucial corridor,” said Mark Svetlich, W&LE’s vice president of engineering.

In other news, the ORDC also approved a grant of up to $91,440 to CASTLO Community Improvement to rehabilitate and paint a railroad bridge in its industrial park in Struthers. CASTLO’s share of the cost is $91,440. The scope of the $182,880 project involves structural steel repairs, painting and related bridge improvements.

Passing Beneath the Wheeling in Orrville

September 14, 2021

Our Conrail wayback machine has taken us to Orrville just in time to witness the passage of an eastbound on the Fort Wayne Line as it passes beneath the Wheeling & Lake Erie bridge. On the point is SD60M No. 5507. The image was made on May 25, 1996.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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.

Wheeling Stone Train on CSX

July 22, 2021

Wheeling & Lake SD40-2 No. 6995 and its train of stone tool along westbound on the CSX New Castle Subdivision in Akron on July 10, 2021.

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

R.J. Corman at Justus

June 11, 2021

A northbound R.J. Corman train crosses the Wheeling & Lake Erie at Justus just east of Brewster. The image was made on May 19, 2021. The Corman train is on a former Baltimore & Ohio secondary route.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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

ORDC Awards Grants for Rail Service

March 14, 2021

Three Ohio industrial facilities have received a collective $1.13 million from the Ohio Rail Development Commission that will enable them to obtain rail service.

In a news release, ORDC said it awarded a $75,000 grant to Trucent Renewable Chemicals to establish rail service at a new $10 million facility to be constructed in Van Wert.

The new plant will be part of Trucent’s renewable chemicals group, which concentrates on whole cut and distilled fatty acids derived from vegetable oils.

NGL Supply Company, doing business as Sycamore Terminal Company, received a $50,000 grant and a $500,000 loan to install rail infrastructure at its new transfer facility near Sycamore.

The facility will be served by the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway.

In addition, the ORDC approved a $500,000 loan for Mountaineer Products, doing business as MPR Supply Chain Solutions, to expand operations in Bellaire to include rail service.

The planned facility, which will be served by the W&LE, will include rail-truck-river barge transload capabilities.

As part of the project, rail will be installed off a W&LE line to hold a unit train for transloading fertilizer, polyethylene, steel, salt, friction reducer, pipe, sand and other commodities.

ORDC said Mountaineer Products might build a track later to connect with a nearby Norfolk Southern line.