JeffPo's Pittsburg & Lake Erie Vesta lantern Page

Last update:  11/11/09



This is a Dietz Vesta lantern used on the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.  The frame of the lantern is stamped with P&LE RR.  The red globe means that it was used as a stop signal.

While I have found lots of P&LE tall lanterns (i.e. Adlake reliable type) with globes marked for the railroad, Iíve yet to find a Vesta lantern that has a marked P&LE globe.

Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad

P&LE engine #9335, with a group of workers.  Taken before 1920

The Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad was formed in May of 1875 and headquartered in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  It was created by William McCreery, a prominent Pittsburgh businessman, merchant, and railroad builder.  At the opening in 1879, the P&LE was a poorly-built, single track line.  But it prospered and grew quickly.  The line connected Pittsburgh in the east with Youngstown, Ohio at nearby Haselton, Ohio in the west and Connellsville, Pennsylvania to the east. It did not actually reach Lake Erie (at Ashtabula, Ohio) until the formation of the Conrail railroad in 1976.  The PL&E was known as the "Little Giant" due to the amount of tonnage that it moved was dramatically out of proportion to its actual number of route miles. While it operated around one tenth of one percent of the nation's railroad miles, it hauled around one percent of its tonnage. This was largely because the P&LE served the steel mills of the greater Pittsburgh area, which consumed and shipped vast amounts of material. It was a specialized railroad deriving much of its revenue from coal, coke, iron ore, limestone, and steel. The eventual closure of the steel mills led to its downfall.

 From 1887 to 1927, the P&LE would became a heavy duty railroad, with double track all the way from Pittsburgh to Youngstown. The P&LE operated as an independent subsidiary, even after New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad merged to form Penn Central.  In 1992 the company was taken over by CSX Transportation. The CSX designated the P&LE as a new subsidiary, the Three Rivers Railway. However, in 1993, CSX  leased the TRR, and there is currently no de facto distinction between the former P&LE and any other portion of CSX's system.

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