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 ■