An Eastern Regional Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad


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B&LE logo The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad (B&LE) is a historic class II railroad that operated in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio. The railroad's main route ran from the Lake Erie port of Conneaut, Ohio to North Bessemer, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, a distance of 139 miles.(wik) The B&LE also has a branch to Erie, Pennsylvania leaving the main just north of Cranesville at NA tower, and also small branches to Linesville, Ohio and Meadville, Pennsylvania.(rp) The original rail ancestor of the B&LE, NYO&W
Bessemer and Lake Erie
September 29, 1941
the Shenango and Allegheny Railroad, began operation in October 1869. Rail operations were maintained continuously by various corporate descendants on the growing system that ultimately became the B&LE in 1900.(wik) The B&LE main shops and maintenance facilities were in Greenville, Pennsylvania. During the 30's and 40's the B&LE ran a single passenger train each day except Sunday between Erie and Greenville, 63 miles, and another between Greenville and North Bessemer, a suburb of Pittsburgh, 90 miles. The B&LE's primary freight traffic was southbound iron ore from the Lake Erie port of Conneaut, and northbound coal and industrial products.(rp) The B&LE came under the ownership of the Canadian National Railway as part of CN's larger purchase of holding company Great Lakes Transportation.(wik)

History of the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
1865 - Bear Creek Railroad (name changed to Shenango and Allegheny Railroad Co.) was incorporated in March 1865 for the purpose of moving coal 21 miles from Pardoe to Shenango for delivery to other railroads and the Erie Extension Canal.
1869 - The S&A Railroad began operation in October.
1883, Shenango and Allegheny had extended north to Greenville, PA and south to Butler, PA.
1892, S&A had extended north to reach the port of Conneaut, OH. The extensions carried their own descriptive corporate names and survived a series of corporate reorganizations to become the Pittsburgh, Shenango and Lake Erie. The rail line had been completed as far as Butler, still 40 miles distant from the Mon Valley.
1892 - "The first ore boat arrived in Conneaut in 1892 stimulating the interest of Andrew Carnegie.
1896 - In April a tri-party agreement between PS&LE, Union Railroad Company and Carnegie Steel Company called for construction of a line from Butler to East Pittsburgh.
1896 - The Butler and Pittsburgh Railroad Company incorporated April 8.
1897 - B&P completed, spectacularly, by October 27 including a long, single track bridge across the Allegheny River.
1897 - PS&LE and B&P were consolidated into the Pittsburgh, Bessemer & Lake Erie under majority ownership of Andrew Carnegie to haul iron ore and other products from the port at Conneaut, Ohio on the Great Lakes to Carnegie Steel Company plants in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. On the return trip, Pennsylvania coal was hauled north to Conneaut Harbor.
1900-01 - Carnegie formed the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad under this exclusive ownership and arranged to lease PS&LE for 999 years.
1901 - This arrangement stayed in place with the formation of U. S. Steel in 1901, which bought out Carnegie interests.
1901-02 - The former B&LE main line divides around Greenville, between a waypoint north of the Village of Osgood called 'KO' and another waypoint near the Village of Kremis that used the telegraph call name 'KY'. The B&LE constructed a shortcut K-O Line to bypass the steep, winding route through Greenville. From 'KO Junction', it runs south over a long (1,724') viaduct above the Little Shenango River, the original B&LE Old Line, the former NYC RR's JF&C Branch and the former Erie RR's Chicago--New York main line at Osgood. It then passes east of downtown Greenville at a relatively high elevation, and rejoins the original line at KY, near Kremis. The K-O Line cut-off shortened KO to KY run by 3.1 miles vs. the Old Line.
1906 - B&LE leased, and later sold, to Union Railroad the portion of line between North Bessemer and East Pittsburgh.
1988, The Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad became part of Transtar, Inc. Transtar is a privately-held transportation holding company with principal operations in railroad freight transportation, dock operations, Great Lakes shipping, and inland river barging. Prior to 1989, the Transtar companies were wholly owned transportation subsidiaries of USX (formerly United States Steel Corporation). In December 1988, these transportation companies were acquired by a new holding company, Transtar, Inc.
2001 - The Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad became part of Great Lakes Transportation, a privately-held transportation holding company with principal operations in railroad freight transportation, dock operations and Great Lakes shipping.
2004 - The B&LE came under the ownership of the Canadian National Railway as part of CN's larger purchase of holding company Great Lakes Transportation.
B&LE map
Bessemer and Lake Erie
1941

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- Various editions
Pghbridges.com
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Copyright Richard Parks, December 18, 2008