For years, I have ranted and complained about how the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad used to be cool, and how I never got the opportunity to shoot it when all orange consists ran on a daily basis. Nowadays, Canadian National has assigned a handful of Illinois Central SD70ís and a CN painted SD60 to go along with the few remaining BLE orange units that remain on the property. IC SD70ís are much more appealing than GE widecabs, but when compared to what things used to be like, itís hard to really appreciate them.
Unfortunately for me, I got into the railroad photography thing just before these major changes began to take place on the Bessemer, which has left me frustrated that I had not been able to shoot those all orange consists. However, I have always kept a close eye on the power sets on the line, waiting for the right opportunity to nab one or both of the last two BLE orange engines assigned to road trains, SD40T-3 No. 905 and SD38AC No. 867. I had the opportunity to chase the 905 this past summer, which I greatly enjoyed, but (In my honest opinion) the 905 isnít nearly as classy looking as the 867 and I knew I had to get it too.
Recently, the Northeast Ohio and Northwest Pennsylvania regions have been pounded repeatedly by lake effect snow, and this warranted the 867 to be placed as the north facing leader of the ore train power set, supposedly for extra power and braking purposes. A few friends and I made plans to attempt to find the locomotive and we set out early Sunday morning and headed east. In a stroke of good luck, we learned that the northbound empties were about to depart Butler, PA with the 867 on the point for the trip up north to Conneaut. We headed toward the Greenville area and ended up at this location, known as KO. This is location is directly adjacent to Sandy, where the Low Line into Greenville splits off from the High Line which bypasses the town. Before long, the horn of the 867 was heard echoing off the hillsides.
The dispatcher was unable to get the signal at Sandy to line up for the crew of the 867, so the train had to slowly creep up to the signal and receive their permission to pass it. Then, the conductor had to leave the cab to clean off the snow covered switches to verify that they were line correctly. It was a whopping five degrees outside as this painfully slow process took place, and by the time the train passed, my feet were completely numb. Nevertheless, I was extremely happy to finally get this shot which I have wanted for so long, and even though the three trailing units arenít orange too, this is good enough.
BLE 867 slowly eases its train of empties under the original Bessemer signal bridge and searchlights at KO, near Adamsville, Pennsylvania, as they continue their trip north out of Greenville to Conneaut on a snowy day.