Steam and Steel!

Written by: Gary Dolzall

Classic 1920s steam railroading is coming soon to Train Simulator, with the landmark Bessemer & Lake Erie route!

Steel, coal, iron ore – and steam! The upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route for Train Simulator will take you to the classic age of heavy American steam railroading, and do so with a level of realism that promise to make the route a Train Simulator landmark!

Created by G-TraX and the accomplished team of Rick Grout, Wayne Campbell, Jim Friedland, and Michael Stephan, the upcoming Bessemer & Lake route for Train Simulator represents the B&LE as its existed in the 1920s and includes the railroad’s rugged main line from the shores of Lake Erie at Conneaut, Ohio to North Bessemer, Pennsylvania, a route distance of approximately 140 miles, as well as a variety of important B&LE secondary lines, rail interchanges, and coal mine branches.

In the coming weeks here at Train-Simulator.com, we’ll be taking a close look at this upcoming route, its features, and the history and operations of the remarkable Bessemer & Lake Erie. But first, let’s introduce some of the many extraordinary highlights of this upcoming route:

Born for Steel, Ore, and Coal: The Bessemer & Lake Erie was a railroad born to serve deliver iron ore to and serve the steel industry centered around Pittsburgh – and to haul coal from the mines of western Pennsylvania. Which is to say, born to do heavy and hard railroading. And the B&LE also handled its fair share of general freight and operated limited passenger services. Thus, it’s no surprise that the B&LE featured an impressive infrastructure including a multi-track mainline constructed to high standards with numerous impressive bridges, and operations governed by semaphore signaling and train orders issued from numerous lineside towers.

Fabulous Conneaut: In all of North American railroading there were few locations that represented big, tough steam-era railroading more than the harbor at Conneaut, Ohio. On the south shore of Lake Erie, it was at Conneaut that Great Lakes freighters burdened with iron ore arrived and almost unearthly giant Hulett unloaders transferred the ore into B&LE rail hoppers for movement to Pittsburgh’s steel mills. And yet the Huletts were only a part of the intrigue at Conneaut, which also was alive with coal loading and storage operations, a carferry dock, limestone handling, and, of course, B&LE’s ever-busy railroad yard.

Yards and Terminals: Conneaut is just one of five major yards and railroad terminals on the upcoming Train Simulator Bessemer & Lake route. Albion, Ohio, along with Greenville (home to B&LE’s main shops), Butler, and North Bessemer, Pennsylvania (where the B&LE interchanged with Pittsburgh’s Union Railroad), also are home to sprawling railroad facilities.

Standard Steel: Located near B&LE’s Butler Yard is the massive Standard Steel complex, which hosts steel production, rail car-building, and automobile production amid a challenging and fascinating labyrinth of industrial trackage.

Steam Power, Large and Small: Included with the upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route for main line duty are the railroad’s husky D-1-A 2-10-2 “Santa Fe” type steam locomotives as built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1916, and diminutive but potent Baldwin-built 0-6-0s for yard and switching duties. And the route will provide 12 career scenarios putting its highly authentic steam power to work.

Remarkable Rolling Stock: Michael Stephan is up to his usual magic when it comes to period-authentic rolling stock, and the upcoming B&LE route will include a wonderful array of equipment including hoppers, boxcars, tank cars, flat cars, gondolas, refrigerator cars, pickle cars, cabooses, and passenger equipment, typically in various liveries and with multiple loads!

As expansive as the above overview of the Bessemer & Lake Erie route’s captivating features is, it only begins to tell the story of this truly remarkable upcoming route from G-TraX. So be sure to stay tuned for more information here at Train-Simulator.com!
Gary Dolzall

The upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route for Train Simulator, masterfully created by G-TraX, will take you to an unforgettable age of American steam railroading as existed in the 1920s. In a classic trackside scene of heavy mainline steam railroading, a duo of Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-2s have departed Conneaut harbor with a train of iron ore bound for Pittsburgh’s steel mills. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

The Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad was born to perform heavy and hard railroading, and featured an infrastructure to match the task. On a railroad known for impressive bridges and trestles, none was more imposing than the railroad’s 2,300-foot long, 160-foot-high bridge over the Allegheny River north of North Bessemer, Pennsylvania. Note: Screenshots may depict content still in development.

Conneaut harbor was a marvel of the heavy industrial age, hosting ore, coal, and limestone docks as well as a carferry slip. Like prehistoric iron beasts, a trio of Hulett unloaders are removing iron ore from the holds of the lake freighter Keweenaw Bay as B&LE 0-6-0 235 waits with a string of hoppers (above). Nearby, sister B&LE 0-6-0 234 (below) handles loading a carferry. In the upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route, the massive Huletts of Conneaut are fully animated.

Mainline power for the upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route are B&LE’s D-1-A class 2-10-2 “Santa Fe” types constructed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1916. Even through the big Baldwins weighed in at 292 tons and exerting 81,600 pounds of tractive effort, the railroad’s extraordinary tonnage demands often required double-heading, such as with this pair of Baldwins leading coal tonnage toward Conneaut harbor.

The Train Simulator Bessemer & Lake Erie route will include more than 140 mainline miles, plus extensive secondary and branch lines and five major rail terminals. Hometown to the B&LE’s shops was Greenville, Pennsylvania, where B&LE 2-10-2 507 awaits assignment near the car shops and 17-stall roundhouse (above). B&LE 2-10-2 513 (below) has mixed tonnage in tow as it passes the tower at KY Junction, where the railroad’s main line and a secondary route into Greenville joined.

At Butler, Pennsylvania, a key operating point on the B&LE, Baldwin-built 2-10-2 505 eases past the depot on a snowy morning (above). Nearby, at the sprawling Standard Steel facility, an 0-6-0 wearing the “one spot” as plant switcher for Standard Steel Company (below) chugs to its next task. That’s Standard Steel’s massive steel production plant in the background.

In addition to mainline and yard operations, the upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route features a variety of secondary and branch lines. On the south end of the railroad, B&LE 2-10-2 508 gathers coal loads at the Ford Number 3 Mine (above). In a far different setting on the north end of the route, No. 508 has just arrived at Conneaut Lake Park with an employee excursion (below).

North Bessemer, Pennsylvania was the southern terminus of the B&LE and junction point with the Union Railroad, which handled tonnage to and from Pittsburgh. B&LE 505 awaits duty at the North Bessemer engine terminal (above), while sister 525 heads north with hoppers and passes XB Tower (below). The upcoming Bessemer & Lake Erie route, created by G-TraX, will bring the captivating appeal and challenges of 1920s-era steam railroading to Train Simulator!

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Screenshots and images displayed in this article depict content that is still in development and the represented brands may not have been approved by the respective owners. You should, therefore, consider all screenshots and images to be not final and pending approval.

Gary Dolzall

14 Comments

  • I’m not a huge fan of steam, but I might get this one! Awesome work by G-Trax yet again!

  • I’m excited. Two New American Steam Locomotive looks perfect. Now we need some C&O steam with 2-6-6-2 mallets and C&O Kanawha Berkshires. Also maybe a new PRR Route with Steam Power. Good Luck!

  • So long as the engines have good sounds, I reckon this route will be a ‘must have’

  • This looks very promising, I can’t wait! 😀

  • Oh yes, this is a must for me. It even has my little 0-6-0 that I bought from Rivarossi back in the 1960’s.
    Thankyou for bringing out an early steam route.

  • This look so cool! Cant Wait!

  • Looking forward to this DLC. I would like to see much more historic routes.

  • This is sure to excite fans of vintage railroading.

  • That looks SO great!!
    I like the funfair/theme park in the 12th picture! Is the rollercoaster animated?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • I believe certain parts of the funfair might be animated but I am unsure about the rollercoaster 🙂

  • this route and its trains look awesome. do you have a rough idea when it will come out on the store

    • As soon as it’s ready redster1 🙂

  • Another old-school route (hopefully) worth checking out. Thanks G-Trax!

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