Old 09-04-2013, 03:55 PM   #1
lock4244
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Question B&LE Operations

Would anyone be able to shed some light on current B&LE operations in or north of Sharon, PA? Looking to be in the area this October and would like to try my hand at shooting the Bessemer, though the primary focus is the WNYP, I've a day that could go the B&LE's way. TIA.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:53 PM   #2
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Others may be able to give more specifics, but the basics are operations centered out of Greenville, PA. Typical schedule remains to be a north turn to Conneaut, OH in the mornings, and a south turn to North Bessemer, PA in the afternoon.

Based on most people catching the trains coming into Bessemer anywhere from 4-7pm, I'd say the departure from Greenville is likely anytime 1pm or later. Consistent advice I've seen over the years is check lineside signals. If there is anything other than red, you will have a train coming. Might be a while, but it will show up eventually.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:29 PM   #3
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Others may be able to give more specifics, but the basics are operations centered out of Greenville, PA. Typical schedule remains to be a north turn to Conneaut, OH in the mornings, and a south turn to North Bessemer, PA in the afternoon.

Based on most people catching the trains coming into Bessemer anywhere from 4-7pm, I'd say the departure from Greenville is likely anytime 1pm or later. Consistent advice I've seen over the years is check lineside signals. If there is anything other than red, you will have a train coming. Might be a while, but it will show up eventually.
Pretty much what I am seeing/hearing here locally too with exception that they usually run 2/day each way, with an occasional 3rd scrap train to AK and/or stone to Mercer Lime. Also like Mike said, they sometimes light the whole system if there is only one thing moving, so there may be something in the block, or it may be in the universe, lol. Seems that the 2x have been passing each other quite frequently too.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:13 PM   #4
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Default BLE game plan

All the info given is good (and my last visit is now a couple of years old), but I always went to Greenville with a good book and hung out with the radio on.

First thing in the morning check the south end jct. where the Highline meets the downtown route. BLE often leaves a train there. Without my ETT handy I think that location is now called Kremis. If nothing is there then figure on a north run. Next go check the KV (or is it called K06?) hand throw siding on the high line, they can occasionally stage a train there, and then check the signals at the northend at Sandy (or is it Karen?) jct where the highline leaves the downtown line. Look at both directions to see if anything is lined.

The last time I was in Greenville the DS gave a departing train its TWC for the Conneaut branch will still in G-ville. If you had been up near Albion you would never hear that on the radio.

The BLE DS lines trains up way in advance. I checked a signal at about 10-11pm one night in G-ville and it was lit up for a southbound. At sunrise the next morning the signal was still green and the train had yet to return from the north. But it arrived shortly.

Some other general advise: Hotels are hard to come by if you need to spend the night in G-ville. A few years ago, there was only 1 and it closed at 8-9PM.

And the BLE is probably the fastest railroad I have ever chased. These guys can come out with power, get on a train and get moving in 1/2 the time a Class-1 train will do the same. Once on the run, the roads to track layout makes chasing harder than it looks. I have literately drove 45 mins between spots, pulled up to the track and had the train bearing down on me as I got out of the car. This is hard for a first time visitor to comprehend for a bulk commodity, heavy-haul railroad. Since there are so few trains, I have chased a full round trip from G-ville to Conneaut, back to G-ville (crew change) and followed south to P-burgh, that is an all day project. I maybe got 3-4 on each segment. So figure on some good lead time between shots.

Last edited by Cameraman; 09-05-2013 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:20 PM   #5
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Nothing is ever certain on the Bessemer. Expect to be trackside at the crack of dawn and be committed until the sun has gone down below the horizon.

First crew is usually called 0500-0600 at Greenville to go North to Conneaut. Depending on the situation at the dock that crew will turn back south with empties between 1000-1200. Recrew at Kremis 1200-1400 for the trip to North Bessemer. Arrival is often around dinner time with the return trip over the Allegheny River Bridge approximately an hour later. These times will need to be adjusted based on several factors, most importantly whether or not the dock is prepared to send empties back south.

Usually a second crew called will be called anywhere from 0600-1100 depending on what other chores need done. Second ore train, stone, serving AK Steel at Butler, etc... This often provides the opportunity for meets in the early afternoon, especially when there is a second set of ore cars that need to be spotted at the dock in Conneaut.

It should be noted that a B&LE train recently struck a log truck resulting in significant nose damage to one of the tunnel motors. While having one locomotive out of service may not ordinarily seem like a big deal, it means the B&LE is down to only one unit that can be OOS for any maintenance without affecting operations.

Current roster:
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866,867, 901, 902, 907, 908, 910

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Last edited by PLEzero; 09-05-2013 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:48 PM   #6
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Current roster:
862,868 - Dock power
866,867, 901, 902, 907, 908, 910

This message board may be helpful:
http://members3.boardhost.com/Bessemer/
You forgot 643 Brad, lol!
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:41 AM   #7
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I'll be coming from Erie on the first day, so I may be better served to head to Conneaut and head south looking for the train. Second day I'll be overnighting in Meadville, so likely would be able to be in Greenville pretty early. If day one went well on the BLE, I may concentrate on the WNYP. Then again, if day one went well, I just may want to go back for seconds!

Thanks for the great information, guys... been putting off a stab at the BLE for too long.
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:13 AM   #8
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I'll be coming from Erie on the first day, so I may be better served to head to Conneaut and head south looking for the train. Second day I'll be overnighting in Meadville, so likely would be able to be in Greenville pretty early. If day one went well on the BLE, I may concentrate on the WNYP. Then again, if day one went well, I just may want to go back for seconds!

Thanks for the great information, guys... been putting off a stab at the BLE for too long.
It's been a few years since I've shot the BLE, but I would highly recommend driving the extra 40 mins to Greensville instead of Conneaut. Like has been pounded into the ground already, its the only place they will 100% for sure be running.

Two or three times when I went up there, the pervious day's crew brought a loaded train down to Greenville, so the morning crew just tied on and shot south. On those days, the train didn't end up making into Conneaut until the mid/late afternoon!
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lock4244 View Post
I'll be coming from Erie on the first day, so I may be better served to head to Conneaut and head south looking for the train. Second day I'll be overnighting in Meadville, so likely would be able to be in Greenville pretty early. If day one went well on the BLE, I may concentrate on the WNYP. Then again, if day one went well, I just may want to go back for seconds!
That is in an option but be warned you have a reasonable possibility of getting burned. If you choose to drive to Conneaut it's likely they will show anywhere from 8-10. If they don't, the senario John presented above will likely ruin any shot of seeing them until well after noon. There is rarely much radio chatter unless a train is in Greenville or Conneaut. Detectors at 117 (Conneautville), 97 (Meadville), 78 (Kremis), will be your friend if you're unsure of what's going on.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:09 PM   #10
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Default C-ville vs G-ville

Brad has some good insight. I have often heard fans say go to C-ville and you will see something even if the BLE doesn't run. That being the other class-ones. I unfortunately live in the wrong direction so I get to G-ville long before so I have never done that.

One thing to remember if there is no power at either end of the high line the power will come out of the shop and run up the old line to either juct. and then get on the train. So I tend to sit as close to the shops as possible, not on the highline.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:11 PM   #11
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Brad has some good insight. I have often heard fans say go to C-ville and you will see something even if the BLE doesn't run. That being the other class-ones. I unfortunately live in the wrong direction so I get to G-ville long before so I have never done that.

One thing to remember if there is no power at either end of the high line the power will come out of the shop and run up the old line to either juct. and then get on the train. So I tend to sit as close to the shops as possible, not on the highline.
What is the highline? Not familiar at all with the BLE...
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:21 PM   #12
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The High Line is the "by-pass" around downtown Greenville. A lot of times, recrew/taxi drops will take place at either jct. pending train movement direction instead of taking entire trains through downtown if essentials aren't needed for the locos. A lot of times, the trains will also be dropped at the same jcts., and the engines will run light back into Shenango for fuel, etc., or if there isn't an immediate recrew scheduled.
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