Thursday, January 01, 2009

Santa Claus rides The Bessemer Route

Received the following via email from Nathan S. Clark, Jr. The text and 2004 photo are his.

'When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a jolly old elf, and...Good Grief, Charley Brown!...he's piloting NOT a miniature sleigh nor, eight tiny reindeer, but 9,000 thundering horses!'

Locomotive engineer R. A. Camp of West Springfield shares a bit of the Spirit of ol' St. Nick as he pilots Bessemer engine #901 south through the snow-covered farmlands of Mercer County near Fredonia, PA at 4:30 p.m. on Friday 12-17-04 along Canadian National Railway's Bessemer Subdivision. 'He rode not his sleigh, but a train that did whistle. And away it all flew, down the track, like a missile. But I heard him exclaim, ere he curved out of sight, Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!' (With apologies to author Clement Clarke Moore and his classic 'The Night Before Christmas'.)

This is B&LE engineer Ray Camp's annual 'gig'. He dons the Jolly Ol' Elf's garb, puts a string of twinkling, battery-powered 'marching/chase' lights around the outside of his cab window at night, and opens the throttle! Not exactly a particular 'Santa Train'; just whatever run he gets called for. Still, Ray brings holiday cheer and smiles (and double-takes!) all along the main line of The Bessemer Route! A really nice 'touch', for a workaday guy who is performing the utilitarian task of getting Minnesota's Mesabi ore to the Edgar Thomson Works furnaces in Pittsburgh from the boats at the Conneaut docks on Lake Erie.