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Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad

Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad was established in 1900 under Andrew Carnegie to protect a route for iron ore from Lake Erie to Carnegie's Pittsburgh mills. It was comprised of many predecessor companies.

Bear Creek Railroad (name changed to Shenango and Allegheny Railroad Co.) was incorporated in March 1865 for the purpose of moving coal 21 miles from Pardoe to Shenango for delivery to other railroads and the Erie Extension Canal. By 1883, Shenango and Allegheny had extended north to Greenville, PA and south to Butler, PA. By 1892, the line had extended north to reach the port of Conneaut, OH. The extensions carried their own descriptive corporate names and survived a series of corporate reorganizations to become the Pittsburgh, Shenango and Lake Erie.

The first ore boat arrived in Conneaut in 1892 stimulating the interest of Andrew Carnegie. In April 1896, a tri-party agreement between PS&LE, Union Railroad Company and Carnegie Steel Company called for construction of a line from Butler to East Pittsburgh....the Butler and Pittsburgh Railroad Company incorporated April 8, 1896 and completed, spectacularly, by October 27, 1897 including a long bridge across the Allegheny River. Also in 1897, PS&LE and B&P were consolidated into the Pittsburgh, Bessemer & Lake Erie under majority ownership of Carnegie.

Four years later, Carnegie formed the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad under this exclusive ownership and arranged to lease PS&LE for 999 years. This arrangement stayed in place with the formation of U. S. Steel in 1901, which bought out Carnegie interests.

In 1906, B&LE leased, and later sold, to Union Railroad the portion of line between North Bessemer and East Pittsburgh.

In 1988, the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad became part of Transtar, Inc. Transtar is a privately-held transportation holding company with principal operations in railroad freight transportation, dock operations, Great Lakes shipping, and inland river barging. The Transtar subsidiary companies formed over the years to meet the transportation needs of various steel making facilities that were the predecessors of today's USX Corporation. Prior to 1989, the Transtar companies were wholly owned transportation subsidiaries of USX (formerly United States Steel Corporation). In December 1988, these transportation companies were acquired by a new holding company, Transtar, Inc.

The Transtar companies have a long business history, more than 100 years in many cases. The companies provide a broad mix of specialized transportation services, by rail and water. In addition, some of the rail and water carriers own and operate bulk commodity docks and port facilities. Transtar's core business is serving the transportation needs of the steel, utility, mining, and chemical industries, although other business supplements this core.

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