Butler, Pennsylvania, located 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh, is a two-railroad town which can be surprisingly busy. Canadian National operates the former Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad through town, while the Buffalo & Pittsburgh operates the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s BR&P line. With mostly reliable schedules, it is quite possible to catch a pair of CN trains passing through Butler during daylight hours along with two pairs of B&P trains. Let’s review a visit on March 3, 2021.
Canadian National generally makes two appearances in Butler daily with a southbound loaded iron ore train pass-ing through town in the morning hours, headed for the Union Railroad interchange at North Bessemer. Approximately 3 and 4 hours later, the train will return north from North Bessemer with empty ore cars for reloading at Conneaut, Ohio. The ore trains run seven days per week.
The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Butler engine facility is easily photographed from the Route 68 bridge in Butler. An interesting group of units is sitting in the serving facility, with B&P GP38-2 2178 and SD60M 3888 under the sand rack. Off to the right is B&P SD60I 3884, B&P GS1400 1401, and Pittsburgh & Ohio Central SW1500 1547.
Twice a week, CN will run a “miscellanies” train south from Greenville, Pa., which works in AK Steel in Butler, along with any local work on the line. Depending on customer needs, the “misc” train might return north to Greenville after working in AK Steel, or it could continue south toward North Bessemer. The “misc” train normally leaves Greenville between 8:00–10:00 a.m. and arrives in Butler about two hours later.
The B&P in Butler hosts Butler yard job, BT-1, which works around Butler during the morning hours. Butler local BT-3 comes on duty at 9:00 a.m. and operates from Butler northward onto the Northern Sub. Branch to Karns City and return, working weekdays only. After coming on duty, BT-3 will head east toward East Butler to make up its train, then depart town between 10:00 a.m. and noon. After working the chemical plants around Karns City, BT-3 will return to Butler between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m…