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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock


Date: 09/17/22 10:10
Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: qed479

Hello, All,

Some years ago I lived in Erie and would drive to Conneaut, OH, to see railroad action at and around the coal dock there.  B&LE used to keep an old F unit at the dock to move cars around.  The railroad ran loads and empties between the dock and a yard at Albion, PA.  From there the road ran to North Bessemer, northeast of Pittsburgh. Just toured the dock on Google Maps and it looks to be empty.  Can anyone tell me if the Conneaut dock is still active?  Thanks for any and all responses.



Date: 09/17/22 15:26
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: Gonut1

It does look rather empty on Google, note that there are large piles of ore ready to load. It is part of Canadian National today and they still load a daily ore train for North Bessemer. Not like the glory days of old when there many more blast furnaces in Pittsburgh. There are posts here on T.O. from time to time. Usually when CN makes a poewer swap. For some time there were Illinois Central locos when CN snt the B&LE engines elsewhere. 
Gonut



Date: 09/17/22 17:13
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: DJ-12

Activity at the dock is down to ore and very little else. There have been sporadic coal and coke moves to the upper facility over the past decade but nothing for several years.

Ore is now loaded by road crews from Greenville. They pull the train in, run around the loop and flood load before departing back to Greenville. The train usually arrives early evening.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 09/17/22 17:15
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: SD45X

CN SD70M-2s are the new steeds



Date: 09/18/22 09:40
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: ICG

I passed through Conneaut on 7/8/98 and saw this little gem.

Tom Paris      Houston TX




Date: 09/18/22 17:04
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: qed479

That locomotive is just barely recognizable as the F unit that I saw long ago at the Conneaut Dock.  The passing years have not been kind to the old engine.  Thanks.



Date: 09/20/22 07:44
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: toledopatch

qed479 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That locomotive is just barely recognizable as the
> F unit that I saw long ago at the Conneaut Dock. 
> The passing years have not been kind to the old
> engine.  Thanks.

The picture itself is 24 years old. I would not bet too heavily on that F unit still being there.

Coal on the B&LE seems to have dried up under CN operation. I recall coal trains being interchanged by NS to B&LE at Greenville during the early 2000s and there also was some being delivered by CSX to an interchange at Conneaut for unloading there. I'd have to go back and look at the pictures, but I seem to recall some coal in CSX cars moving over the B&LE main, but I don't remember where it was interchanged. In any case, it appears lake-bound coal on both CSX and NS has dwindled to the point that neither road sees need to route any of that traffic over B&LE rather than deliever it to boats at Toledo (CSX) or Sandusky (NS). I don't believe the former Conrail dock at Ashtabula is handling any coal or ore any more, either -- just stone traffic.



Date: 09/20/22 15:51
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: qed479

We lived in Erie in the early-to-mid 1970s when the yellow F unit was in service at the Conneaut dock (anyone have the history of this engine?).  The B&LE had a small yard in Albion, PA, I think because ore loads were brought up from the Conneaut dock in sections and then consolidated at Albion for the run to North Bessemer, PA.  North of the Albion yard the line split.  One branch went north to Wallace Jct, just beyond Girard, PA, for a connection with the Norfolk and Western that gave the B&LE access to Erie, PA.  The other branch ran northwest and downhill to the dock at Conneaut, OH.  There was an incident  (anyone have details?)  in which a cut of cars at the north end of Albion yard got loose and rolled downhill towards Conneaut.  My recollection is that the crew coming upgrade spotted the runaways in time to jump and only minor injuries ensued.  I took my young son with me to see the wreckage. It was amazing to see some of the hopper cars' thick steel plates crumpled like aluminum foil. 



Date: 09/21/22 19:03
Re: Q re Conneaut OH Coal Dock
Author: qed479

I found details of the Bessemer and Lake Erie runaway coal hoppers wreck on the B&LE Archives website: https://blearchive.weebly.com/wrecks.html.  The accident happened on September 27, 1974,  This website has a great story about the wreck which involved 79 loaded coal hoppers rolling out of the Crainesville yard and accelerating downhill towards the Conneaut Dock.  The crew of the B&LE train leaving the dock was alerted by radio of the runaways.  They had time to move their engine away from the dock and set the point of impact at a location to avoid damage to the dock and the bridge over Conneaut Creek before bailing out.  Quite a story.



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