The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad, by Kenneth C. Springirth, the latest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Rail series, provides an unvarnished look at everyday, heavy-duty freight railroading leading to the Great Lakes.
The Bessemer and Lake Erie ran north-south, in western Pennsylvania, between the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and Erie, Pennsylvania and Conneaut, Ohio. The book covers the “big steam” an diesel eras, after a brief look at the line’s construction. Photo coverage extends up to the welded rail era as recently as 2006.
Whereas the photographs in some books focus on the scenery, and deluxe passenger service, The Bessemer and Lake Erie focuses on the motive power and rolling stock needed to move heavy duty freight from mines to Great Lake. The freight trains were long and heavy, and the environment could be called “grimy industrial.”
Many of the best photographs in this book are waterfront scenes, including some wonderful photographs showing the Hulett automatic iron ore unloader that could grab 10 tons of ore from a ship and place it in a hopper car. The Hulett’s were huge, and positively dwarfed the hoppers placed below them.
Bessemer and Lake Eric Railroad, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local rtailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313—2665.