Posts Tagged ‘W&LE 200’

Getting Lucky on a W&LE Chase

May 24, 2017

On May 7, Rich Antibus and I heard on the scanner that the Wheeling & Lake Erie train 561 crew had engine No. 200, the Ohio Bicentennial unit.

The crew indicated to the dispatcher that they had seven loads and engine No. 101, the Pittsburgh & West Virginia tribute unit, on the other end of the train.

Both engines are GP35-3s. Armed with this new information, the dispatcher gave the 101 a track warrant on the Cleveland Subdivision from Mogadore to milepost 52 at Middlebranch.

The 561 was headed down to the Essroc Cement Facility in Middlebranch to switch them out.

Rich and I first caught up with the 561 at Skelton Road in Mogadore, which is a very tight shot.

The chase was easy from here as the train is limited to 10 mph on the Cleveland Sub.

We got it again at Waterloo Road., which is old U.S. Route 224, in Suffield. A large friendly yellow dog named Brutus always comes out to see us when we photograph here.

Our next spot was Wingfoot Lake with the Goodyear Blimp in the background. The blimp was unable to fly today due to the high winds.

Next we drove behind a storage facility north of Hartville, then it was on to the Hartville Fire Station, which is located south of town.

We did an across-the-field shot in Middlebranch before the 561 reached its destination.

This move of the 561 was a bit unusual in that the 261 road train from Brewster usually switches the plant on its way to Akron. The 561 crew only comes down here on days that the 261 doesn’t run.

While the 561 crew switched the plant, we contemplated our shots for the return trip. The 101 would lead going back to Akron.

Both of us agreed we were quite lucky to find the 561 going south this day. We’d never seen anything like this before.

Having swapped out the seven loads for seven empties, the 561 was now ready to head back to Akron.

We shot it on the siding into the plant, dodging clouds to do so. From here it was back to the Hartville Fire Station, then again to the storage units north of town.

We were going to go back to Waterloo Road but thought the light might be better at Mogadore Road, so we opted to downtown Mogadore.

We barely beat the train to our favorite spot at Die-Gem Way at the east end Brittain Yard.

By now both of us were low on film. Rich did expose a few pixels today, but he still shoots some film.

This would be the only train we would see on this day, but the effort was worth it. A move that was new to us and the chance to see the W&LE serving a customer was a good day. We hope for many more to come.

Article by Jim Mastromatteo

One Summer Day in Kent Not all that Long Ago

January 20, 2016

Trains at Kent July 5, 2003

I have a hard time thinking of something that occurred in the first decade of the 21st century as having been a long time ago.

Yet we are halfway through the second decade of the 21st century and things that occurred nearly 13 years ago can be said to qualify as old, particularly if they show something you don’t see anymore.

And so it is with the image shown above that I made on July 5, 2003, in Kent.

First, let’s make the case that this is not uncommon. Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 200, which is shown sitting with an excursion train on the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) mainline, is still in service. In fact, I photographed it a year ago near New London.

CSX 7697 is still in service, too, and wears the blue, gray and yellow livery it was wearing more than a decade ago.

C40-8W locomotives on CSX hardly are a rare sight. You could hang out any day of the week in Kent and have a good chance of seeing at least one of them.

Yet this image has one thing going for it that relegates it to the realm of the uncommon if not gone for good.

Passenger train rides on the former EL used to be a fixture of the annual Kent Heritage Festival held every year around July 4.

But about five years ago the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway said it would no longer host the trips.

Given the hostility of the Wheeling & Lake Erie, the owner of the ABC, toward public passenger excursions in the past two years, its seems unlikely that there are going to be train rides anytime soon during the Kent Heritage Festival.

This image brings back a lot of fond memories. Earlier in the day, I had ridden this train, which ran a couple miles east toward Ravenna Road.

At the time, I was thinking of joining a group called the Akron Railroad Club. Later that month I attended my first ARRC meeting.

Also, this photo was made on one of my earliest railfan outings in Kent.

It would have been nice had that tree growing along the bank of the Cuyahoga River not been there for its obscures the noses of both locomotives.

At the time, though, I was happy to get an image of a train above and a train below. I have not seen that opportunity come along since then.

So this image brings back many pleasant memories. Isn’t that one of reasons why we make photographs?

Article and Photograph 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