Bessemer & Lake Erie BLE

The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad (reporting mark BLE) is a class II railroad that operates in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio.

The railroad's main route runs from the Lake Erie port of Conneaut, Ohio to the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, a distance of 139 miles (224 km). The original rail ancestor of the B&LE, the Shenango and Allegheny Railroad, began operation in October 1869.[1]

Rail operations were maintained continuously by various corporate descendants on the growing system that ultimately became the B&LE in 1900. In 2004 B&LE came under the ownership of the Canadian National Railway (CN) as part of CN's larger purchase of holding company Great Lakes Transportation. B&LE is operated by CN as their Bessemer Subdivision. As a subsidiary of CN, B&LE has been largely unchanged (though repainting of B&LE locomotives into CN paint with "BLE" sub-lettering began in April 2015[2]) and still does business as B&LE. B&LE locomotives, especially the former Southern Pacific SD40T-3 "Tunnel Motors", have been scattered across the CN system; many are being used in the line that feeds most of B&LE's traffic, the former Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range lines in Minnesota. The iron ore that originates on these lines is transloaded to ships at Two Harbors, Minnesota, then sent by ship to Conneaut, Ohio, where it is again transloaded to B&LE trains. It is then taken down to steel mills in the Pittsburgh region, mainly to the blast furnaces at US Steel's Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock, Pennsylvania, part of the Mon Valley Works. As of Fall 2018, the active locomotives on B&LE are former Illinois Central SD70's, 1028 & 1022, CN 5422 (SD60), 5291, 5346( SD40-2Ws), and B&LE 867, 868(SD38AC), 905 (SD40T-3).

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