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Lake Shore Railway Museum, Steam Engines and Covered Bridges 6/05/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose in Meadville and following our Internet duties and checking out, we went to Perkins for a good breakfast. After that we drove to the station in town after Elizabeth picked up some film at a CVS drug store.

Meadville Railway station built in 1881 which is the original Meadville Railway (later Meadville & Linesville Railroad and later Pittsburgh Shenango and Lake Erie Railroad in 1891) station plus a 50 foot addition that was made by the Bessemer and Lake Erie in 1907. The Erie & Pennsylvania Railroad also used this station for the first three years of its existence as they had an operating lease on the line which ended in 1884. In fact, it was an E&P train that made the first trip on this line from Linesville to Meadville before the station opened.

The station housed Meadville Farm & Garden from 1969-2019 and some tracks still exist around the station area. To the north they go to the former Avtex Fibers plant to serve Andover Industries. To the south they still extend to Dad's Dog Food. Meadville Farm & Garden went out of business in February 2018 and the French Creek Valley Railroad Historical Society purchased the building in December 2018. The building has been been converted into a museum and community center and had a grand opening in the summer 2022.

We started to leave Meadville when I spotted a locomotive and cars on display and we went to investigate.

Ashatabula, Carson and Jefferson S2 518, ex. Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company 518, ex. Erie-Lackawanna 518, nee Erie Railway S2 518 built by American Locomotive Company in 1948. It was donated by the AC&J and moved here in 2015. During the nation's bicentennial, it was one of many locomotives across the country painted in a bicentennial livery.

Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad wooden box car 40412 built by Standard Steel in 1908. It also arrived in 2015 and was the subject of a three-year restoration project.

Erie Railroad bay window caboose C356 built by International Car in 1953. It is on long-term loan from the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society and spent its career working the entire main line of the Erie from Jersey City to Chicago.

Conrail wedge snow plough 64568, ex. Wellsboro and Corning 95904, nee Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 95904 built by Russell Snowplow in 1945. It was donated to the French Creek Valley Historical Society by Growth Resources of Wellsbor, Pennsylvania

From here we went to North East, Pennsylvania and soon found the railway museum and parked the car down the street. Elizabeth had never been here and it was my second visit.

Lake Shore Railway Museum Information

Founded in 1956, the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society, Incorporated is a 501(c)(3) all-volunteer educational organization operating a railroad museum on the grounds of the former New York Central Railroad passenger depot in the borough of North East in Erie County. LSRHS is governed by a member-elected Board of Directors that meets monthly to conduct LSRHS business.

Our Mission

Our mission is to preserve, enjoy and share the memory, history and experience of railroading, particularly that of northwestern Pennsylvania, western New York and northeastern Ohio, as it has been and as it is now. LSRHS maintains a special collection with emphasis on General Electric rail transportation products, Heisler Locomotive Works products, Pullman Standard Car Company products and all local railroad companies (past and present) due to the economic, social and historic impact they have had on the local area. LSRHS strives to accomplish its mission by preserving railroad and transportation artifacts of local, regional and/or industrial significance on its 2.5 acres of property adjacent to the CSX Railroad mainline in North East, Pennsylvania.

About Us

The LSRHS Museum complex is a neighborhood revitalization anchor for its section of North East Borough and provides a safe and open area for viewing railroad operations (as citied in nationally distributed Trains Magazine). In addition to the historic locomotives and rolling stock we have many other artifacts and much equipment pertinent to America’s and the region's railroad heritage, all maintained by LSRHS at the museum. The LSRHS museum is open to the public on a regular basis on weekends until the end of October. The LSRHS Museum grounds are open to the public year-round, weather permitting.

Our Visit

The grounds are always open so anyone can visit at any time.

General Electric AC6000CW 6002 built by the company in 1998. One of the most powerful single-engine diesel locomotives ever built was donated by Wabtec in March 2022. It is notable for a number of reasons, including being the first General Electric AC traction locomotive preserved anywhere and it is among the only ones still in close-to original condition. Union Pacific and CSX Transportation both purchased the AC6000 type locomotive but many of the 208 built have been dramatically altered over the years.

It was later returned to Erie GE to become a member of the engineering test fleet and shortly after it was painted in a GE’s red and gray paint scheme. The engine was later retired because it no longer reflected the technology used by Wabtec's locomotives (Wabtec acquired GE in 2019).

Chessie System C&O B30-7 8272 is actually CSX 5554, built by General Electric in 1980. It was retired in 2009, received a cosmetic restoration and was painted in its as-delivered C&O scheme by the CSX shops in Huntingdon, West Virginia.

Norfolk Southern B-32-8 3563 built by General Electric in 1989 and donated to the museum in 2013.

New York Central U25B 2500, ex. Conrail 2500, exx. Penn Central 2500, built by General Electric in 1964.

Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company 0-6-0F 6 built by the Heisler Locomotive Works in 1937 where it worked until 1973. Only 30 were built and approximately six survive. This is the museum's only steam locomotive and was restored to operation to run on compressed air in summer 2002, with the exterior re-painted in 2013.

CSX U36B 7764, ex. Seaboard Coast Line 1813 (to make the 1776 spot available for the "Bicentennial 1776" locomotive), nee Seaboard Coast Line 1776 built by General Electric 1970. When owned by CSX, it was Massachusetts Call Volunteer Fire Department 7764, a rolling education/training unit for emergency services and police personnel across the eastern United States. 7764 is painted in the current CSX paint scheme with markings to recognize its role as a special training tool.

Hunkin Conkey 80 ton switcher 20, nee Genesee and Wyoming Railroad Company 20 built by General Electric in 1944. Hunkin-Conkey moved the locomotive from Restof, New York to Warren, Pennsylvania for use with the building of Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River. The locomotive remained stored in Warren after the construction of Kinzua pending the start of a tourist railroad that never materialized. In 1982, a locomotive broker sold the locomotive to a steel mill near Youngstown, Ohio. The locomotive, eventually sold and moved to McDonald Steel and then was gifted to Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation in 2008.

25 ton boxcab locomotive 1901 built by General Electric in 1939.

35 ton switcher built by General Electric in 1956 for the Cooper Bessemer diesel engine plant in Grove City, and has been there ever since, even though CB was gone by 1999.

Erie City Iron Works 30 ton switcher 25 built by Whitcomb Locomotive Works in 1941. It was made operational by LSRHS in summer 2009 and had its exterior re-painted in 2013.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern freight station built in 1869. This was the second LS&MS passenger/freight station in North East, replacing the first one that was built in 1852. It was moved west about 400 feet when the LS&MS built the "new" passenger station in 1899. After it was moved it served as a freight station. The brick passenger station was last used by New York Central in 1960 and the wooden combination station was last used in 1957.

Darby Wood Products 10 open section-1 drawing room-2 compartment sleeping car "Lake Terrell" built by the Pullman in 1924. It ran locally on the New York Central and was last used by Pullman in 1967, also having the distinction of being the last car owned and operated by the Pullman Company.

National Forge 15-ton cabless locomotive 392 built by Plymouth Locomotive Works in 1959. It was was used in the construction of Kinzua Dam in Warren, Pennsylvania and was bought by National Forge of Irvine, Pennsylvania after completion of the dam. It became property of Ellwood National Forge/Ellwood National Crankshaft and was donated to LSRHS by Ellwood in 2004.

Two CSX box cars including CSX 135680.

What is left of this car.

Hygrade Fine Products mechanical refrigeration car 162 built by General American Tank Car in 1961.

Hygrade Fine Products mechanical refrigeration car 163 built by General American Tank Car in 1961.

New York Central wooden caboose 20054 built by the railroad in 1915. It is erroneously lettered for burned New York Central caboose 19950.

Nickel Plate 68 seat lightweight coach 103 built by Pullman Car Company in 1950 with a center bulkhead to reduce "bowling alley effect'. It is one of ten NKP cars built to this configuration and one of only two known to survive. The museum acquired the car in 2014.

Great Northern 8 duplex roomette-3-double bedroom-1 compartment-4 open section sleeping car 1273 "Pend O'Reille River" built by Pullman in 1950. It is the only lightweight sleeper of this unusual configuration in the museum's collection. The exterior was re-painted in 2013 and remains in its as-built condition; it was never was part of Amtrak.

Great Northern dining car 1251 "Lake Wenatchee", ex. Amtrak 8088, exx. Burlington Northern 1251, nee Great Northern 1251, built by American Car and Foundry in 1951.

Lake Shore Railroad Northeast station built in 1889.

Pennsylvania Railroad position signal.

Ellwood National Forge 188, nee Pennsylvania Power Company 1950 built by General Electric in 1950. It was donated to LSRHS by Ellwood Company in December 2008 and made operational by LSRHS in summer 2009, being painted to Ellwood National Forge colour scheme at the same time.

Plymouth model JHG switcher from the early/mid 1940's. It was built for and saw service at the ACF Erco Nuclear Division in Buffalo for many years. At some point, the locomotive was sold to other business concerns in the Buffalo area, eventually ending at the Tonawanda Terminal of Commerce complex. Terminal of Commerce successor DKP Steel retired the locomotive, and companion 1939 boxcab GE in 2006. After a protracted effort to acquire the JHG Plymouth and the 1939 Boxcab GE, author and Buffalo Area Rail Fans Association President Steve Koenig identified Lake Shore Railway Historical Society and its North East, Pennsylvania, museum as a safe haven for the two locomotives. Plans and work to move both locomotives to North East began in January 2014, but were hampered by the unusually cold and snowy winter that plagued the south shore of Lake Erie that season.

Conrail transfer caboose 18374 built by Penn Central in 1968.

Pittsburg & Shawmut wooden caboose 164 built by the Russell Snowplow Company in 1916.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy baggage car 1530 built by the railroad in 1918 and is the only baggage car in the museum's collection. Its development as a museum exhibit/display car is underway.

Museum scene.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend "Little Joe" 802 built by General Electric in 1948. It is one of only three known to exist from the original twenty built and, with 803, was the last electric freight locomotives to operate in North America. This engine was retired in 1983 and was at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore since it was decommissioned. CSX, which had acquired the B&O line, agreed to give Little Joe to the Pennsylvania museum and hauled the locomotive to the point where its rails came closest to the museum, which was Cleveland.

Erie Dock Company electric locomotive 7 built by Atlas Car Company of Cleveland in 1910. It received power from an electric third rail and was specifically designed for use as an ore/coal car shunt tending the Hulett ship unloaders that used to be commonly seen on the docks of the Great Lakes. These locomotives ran on a separate set of tracks located between the main tracks for the ore and coal cars being loaded. With their arms extended out on both sides, these locomotives pushed the empty rail cars into position for loading and then moved loaded cars away. Number 7 operated on the Erie docks until the mid-1950's, then at Whiskey Island in Cleveland until 1992. Erie Dock Company was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Museum scene.

Hygrade Fine Products steel mechanical refrigeration car, built by General American Tank Car in 1961 and is the third in a sequence of three refrigerator cars in our collection which demonstrate the evolution of the refrigerator cars that served the fruit/vegetable industry of the region.

Fruit Growers Express wooden ice-refrigerator car 55119 built by the company in 1925. This is the first in a sequence of three refrigerator cars in our collection which demonstrate the\ evolution of the refrigerator cars that served the fruit/vegetable industry of the region.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway 36 foot wooden box car 23107 built in 1907. It was most recently used by the East Erie Commercial Railroad as a maintenance car and moved to LSRHS Museum in May 2007.

Wellsville, Addison and Galeton 132 ton centre-cab switcher 1700, nee Ford 1006, built by Erie General Electric in 1940. It was designed to resemble a 1937 Ford automobile. Only eight of this design were built and this is the only one remaining.

Union Tank Car 8,000 gallon tank car 74152 built by the company in 1922. It was formerly leased to East Erie Commerical Railroad and used for fuel oil storage.

Pennsylvania Railroad 14 single bedroom sleeping car "Nightstar" built by Pullman in 1927 and remains in its original configuration although the seats and beds were updated.

Pullman 3 compartment-2 drawing room-lounge-observation "Central Park" built by the company in 1925. It is the last known Pullman-New York Central car of its configuration to exist. The observation lounge was partially restored in 2006 and opened for public viewing and education on car restoration.

Smedley Street Tower.

Pennsylvania Railroad flat car built as class F36 by the railroad in 1941 and was later upgraded to F36a. It is the only example of this class of flatcar to advance to Conrail ownership.

Museum scene.

General Electric AC6000CW 6002.

Museum scene.

McChord Air Force Base 45 ton centre cab switcher 35500 built by General Electric in 1943. It was enlisted into the Army and then transferred to the Air Force when that division became independent. After its military duty was complete, it worked alongside other longshoremen on the docks of Seattle and Vancouver, Washington. Like many other dockworkers of the time, it lost its job due to the advent of container shipping. It then found employment back east in the steel reclamation industry outside of Pittsburgh.

Working from a tip from volunteers from the French Creek Valley Railroad Historical Society of Meadville, Lake Shore Railway Historical Society officials reached out to ELG Metals southeast of Pittsburgh about their retired GE locomotive. After some discussion, ELG agreed to donate the locomotive. With technical assistance from Erie Wabtec, the firm of Daily Express, Inc. of Carlisle, was engaged to move the 45 ton locomotive to North East.

Entry way and an outhouse.

Museum view from where we parked. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit here but as it was not a weekend, could not go inside the station to see the model railroad, the displays and purchase souvenirs. Something for the next visit!

I then drove us to Lake City to find our next station.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern and Pennsylvania Railroad Girard station which was moved to Lake City. Girard Station was the original name for the station on the LS&MS. When the town of North Girard was established, the station took that name. In the mid 1950's, the town name was changed to Lake City. At one time both the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad had passenger service to North Girard, up to the late 1940's. The tracks are the old New York Central water level route from Buffalo to Erie to Cleveland. The Pennsylvania had trackage rights from Girard Junction, a few miles west of North Girard to Dock Junction on the west side of Erie, Pennsylvania where I-79 now crosses the tracks. The people that bought the station turned it into a restaurant, calling it "Girard Station", but the station is in the center of "downtown" Lake City.

Elizabeth navigated us to Conneaut, Ohio. Although the depot museum was closed today, we were able to take photographs of the station itself and the equipment on display.

New York Central Conneaut station built in 1900 by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern as a replacement for an older wooden depot, then acquired by the New York Central Railroad in 1914, along with the rest of the LS&MS. The passenger depot building has housed the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum since 1964.

Plaque on the Conneaut station.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Conneaut freight house built in 1851.

Bessemer and Lake Erie wooden caboose 1825, nee Bessemer and Lake Erie 1001 built by the railroad in 1925.

Bessemer and Lake Erie hopper car 76857 built by American Car and Foundry in 1937.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 755 built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1944. It was one of the last locomotives to receive major repairs prior to the Conneaut backshops closing in 1958 and was donated to the City of Conneaut in 1964.

We continued on our journey and came upon the Kingsville station by chance as we were passing through the town.

Nickel Plate Road Kingsville station, now King Supply Company, a purveyor of anthracite coal stoves, furnaces and fireplace inserts. From here we drove to the first covered bridge of the day.

Root Road Covered Bridge spanning the west branch of the Ashtabula River in Monroe Township. The bridge, one of currently 16 drivable bridges in the county, is a single span Town truss design. During its renovation in 1982-83, the bridge was raised 18 inches and a new center pier was added and it is located approximately 6.3 miles southeast of North Kingsville.

Elizabeth picked up a Conneaut map from a covered box beside the bridge and found there were three other bridges in the area. We decided to visit each of them.

State Road Covered Bridge spans Conneaut Creek in Monroe Township and is a single span town truss design. Constructed of 97,000 feet of southern pine and oak, it features a four-foot-tall window which extends the length of the bridge. The dedication of the bridge in 1983 was the forerunner of the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival. The bridge is located approximately 3.9 miles east-southeast of North Kingsville.

State Road Covered Bridge. I drove us to the next covered bridge.

Middle Road Covered Bridge, a 136-foot Howe truss bridge built in 1868 over Conneaut Creek, which is the longest river in eastern Ashtabula County. It was reconstructed in 1984 with the help of three volunteers and four college students.

The plaque on the bridge. I drove us to the last covered bridge.

Creek Road Covered Bridge, which sits 25 feet above the Conneaut Creek and was extensively renovated in 1994. It spans Conneaut Creek, famous for its steelhead trout fishing and is easily accessible and can be driven through.

From here I drove us to the penultimate station.

Nickel Plate Road Saybrook station built in 1882 and was moved from the tracks twice, once in 1950 and again in 1985.

We then made our way to Jefferson, Ohio where I rode one of Bart Jennings's rare mileage trips in 2013 when the Ashtabula, Carson and Jefferson Railway offered passenger service as well as freight.

Ashtabula, Carson and Jefferson caboose 518573, nee Norfolk and Western 518753 built by the International Railway Car Company in 1969.

Ashtabula, Carson and Jefferson bay window caboose 425, nee Nickel Plate 425, built by the railroad in 1956.

The two of us walked down the tracks to take an old friend's picture.

Ashtabula, Carson and Jefferson S-1 107, ex. Fairport, Painesville & Eastern Railroad 107, exx. Norfolk and Western 2044, nee Nickel Plate 45 built by American Locomotive Company in 1945.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Jefferson statioon built in 1872 which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The last scheduled passenger train stopped here in late June 1956 and the station was closed by the New York Central in 1961; it was purchased from Conrail by the Jefferson Garden Club in 1978.

Pennsylvania Railroad caboose 477243 built by the railroad in 1918.

Elizabeth then drove us down to Poland where we went to Jersey Mike's for dinner then checked into the Best Western Boardman Inn for the night.