Wednesday, September 20, 2017

LaSalle Street Bridge

(Bridge Hunter,  Historic Bridges, Chicago Loop Bridges, Satellite)

Xavier Quintana posted
The LaSalle Street Bridge during construction in 1928, the year it opened, connecting the Near North Side to the Loop in Chicago. (Vintage Tribune)
A saved a 3D satellite image because it captures the construction work on the river walk. It also reminds me that the SS Eastland disaster occurred in this block.
3D Satellite
HAER ILL, 16-CHIG, 128--9 from il0632

Sunday, September 17, 2017

C&WI 74th Tower


Robert Daly posted two photos with the comment: "C&WI tower at 74th St (Hamilton Park), Oct 17 87."


Dennis DeBruler Was it the building in the red rectangle?
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dragline demonstrating that a fire needs oxygen as well as fuel and heat

This video shows the coal is not burning when it is in the dragline's bucket, but when it is dumped so that it spreads out and a lot of the coal becomes exposed to the air, you get a fireball.
Justin Curless shared a video
Dave Morse Good thing it was a Marion, it would have melted the boom and mast on a BELoza Stanton Hardly a challenge for an 8200
Jim Ludwiczak Hope they are wearing respirators.

Mitch Kelly When a coal seam catches fire and you can't dig it out it will smoulder for hundreds of years until th ground above it collapses, happened in America and wiped out a whole district. I hope they sorted this one out.

Chris Onweller Mitch, I was thinking of Centralia too. You can't fill it with water or gasses, you either dig or let it burn. 

Just one HUGE reason coal mines use so much water - to pull coal dust out of the air and reduce the chance of a fire.
Paul Weichert Sounds like that dragline is ate up with grease worms!Mark Kinnaman @ Damian O'Sullivan, it aint wasting money, its trying to save money so it done go underground where they cant put it out

Thursday, September 14, 2017

AK Steel/Armco Works

(AK Steel web site)
When I saw a huge steel works in Middletown, OH, that was not near a river or a lake, I dug into the history to learn why it would be built where it could not use modern water transportation for the raw materials such as iron ore and possibly coal. (I added the adjective "modern" because the land was on the Miami and Erie Canal.)

George M. Verity owned the American Steel Roofing Company in Cincinnati that made the steel sheets used to build roofs. To solve his supply problem for rolled steel, he formed the American Rolling Mill Co. in 1899. The community of Middletown offered money and land to Verity to build his new rolled steel plant in Middletown in 1900 [video].

Verity soon quit the roofing product business and concentrated on meeting customer demand for rolled steel created by automobile and appliance manufactures. In addition to expanding the facilities in Middletown in 1911, he bought plants in Zanesville, OH  and  Ashland, KY and merged with Columbus Iron and Steel, which supplied a large amount of pig iron. They also expanded their product line to include stainless steel and a variety of galvanized steel products (thus the metalZinc label).

The following showed how steel was rolled into sheets until the 1924 perfection of continuous roll stands and coiling.
Inside Middletown Armco factory, photo from "Armco in Pictures and Fact," published by the American Rolling Mill Co., 1921, from armcosteel-home
Each stand rolled a slab down to a sheet by passing the steel back and forth by reversing the rotation of the rollers. For each pass, the rolls would be screwed closer together to reduce the thickness of the steel.
In 1904, John B. Tytus applied for a job with the American Rolling Mill Co., hoping to work in a steel plant to understand the mechanics of industry. Verity gave him the difficult job as a spare hand, dragging heavy steel sheets to the shears. “When I first visited the steel mill,” he was recorded saying, “I counted sheets being handled 22 different times. Right then and there I figured that a business, which had so much lost motion, had plenty of future for a young man.”
Tytus began studying the flat metal rolling process, analyzing various blueprints, including a process developed by Leonardo Da Vinci. In 1919, he presented his first continuous rolling mill blueprints to Verity, and Verity subsequently appointed a committee to consider the installation of Tytus’s new mill.
About $10 million dollars was needed to invest in the new machine – an amount that could destroy the company if the idea failed. Still, when Armco acquired a plant in Ashland, Verity took the opportunity to attempt to build Tytus’s continuous rolling mill.
“In all, 14 stands of rolls were envisioned in a straight line, which would reduce red-hot five inch thick slabs into thin steel sheets. Five factors controlling process were essential: temperature of rolls, composition and springiness of rolls, the screw pressure applied to roll necks; and the shape, composition and temperature of the piece.”
In 1924, after years of fixing problems and struggling with the machine, it was in full operation. In the first full month of operation, the continuous rolling mill produced 9,000 tons of sheet steel. Three years later it was producing 40,000 (the original steel mills only produced 130-135 tons a week).
All other major steel companies quickly adopted the invention and between 1927 and 1940, 26 continuous rolling mills were built.
Source:George C. Crout and Wilfred D. Vorhis, “John Butler Tytus: Inventor of the Continuous Steel Mill,” p. 132-145. From Ohio History V. 76. Copyring 1967 by Cincinnati Historical Society. [armcosteel-home]

In 1989, Armco entered into a limited partnership with the Kawasaki Steel Corporation of Japan. That is why the name became AK Steel in 1994 during another reorganization using the first letter of each former company. The company had over a $1 billion of revenue, but it had very little profit because of high operating expenses. So it persuaded Tom Graham to come out of retirement at age 65 to lead the redirection efforts. Erlier Armco had participated in the diversification fad that caused companies to acquire other companies that had little or nothing to do with their core business. So the first thing Graham did was divest more than ten of the company's subsidiaries and operating divisions. Another change was the replacement of 75 of the company's top executives and managers! Then he worked on improving its operations and service. [encyclopedia]

Just as Verity risked the company's survival by investing $10 million on Tytus' design of a continuous roll mill, Graham risked the company by investing $1.1 billion on a greenfield, start of the art steel production facility in Rockport, IN. Graham insisted that the increased efficiency and lower energy consumption would lower their operating costs. And it would produce 80-inch rolls instead of the then maximum 72-inch rolls. [encyclopedia] The new plant focused on cold-rolled steel, and its efficiency helped the company survive the price crash of hot-rolled steel caused by a global oversupply. (That is, China dumping steel on America because its economy went into a slump.)  [I can't find where I read this :-(] 80-inch rolls has become the industries standard for the maximum width.


Every web page for one of their locations that I checked (e.g. Rockport, IN) makes a big deal about safety:
Safety First and First in Safety
Our safety programs are the most comprehensive in the steel industry. In fact, AK Steel leads the industry in safety.
This is because they had some serious safety issues that they finally addressed. (Too bad British Petroleum still refuses to address its safety issues.)
The company had one of the worst safety records in the U.S. industry in 1996 with ten fatalities since 1993 and nearly $2 million in fines paid out to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
By 1998, however, management was able to turn the safety issues around by focusing on eliminating workplace injuries, revamping its safety and health programs, and getting employees as well as contractors involved in safety awareness. Its positive safety performance was rated by OSHA and the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the company claimed that it had the best performance out of the eight largest integrated steel firms in the United States. [encyclopedia]


AK Steel was listed #1 on the Mother Jones Top 20 polluters of 2010; dumping over 12,000 tons of toxic chemicals into Ohio waterways. 
In early 2015, the EPA listed the Ohio River as the most contaminated body of water in the U.S. According to the EPA's Annual Toxics Release Inventory, of the 23 million pounds of chemicals discharged into the river in 2013, more than 70 percent came from AK Steel. [Wikipedia]
Considering how polluted the Chicago river is, the Ohio River being worse is a rather scary thought. The Tribune had built their new printing plant by the river so that they could continue to receive rolls of newsprint from big boats. But they were told the river could not be dredged down to the needed draft because it would stir up the pollutants in the river's bottom. I wonder if this pollution issue is why they shut down the blast furnace at Ashland, KY in 2015.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Time-lapse of a trail bridge being installed over Metra+CP/Milwaukee

(Satellite, the east side of the new trail can be seen under construction)

Screenshot (source)
This is part of a trail connection, which will link Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve to other local trails and parks. Project elements include this 221-foot steel pedestrian bridge (the biggest one in the forest preserves!) over the Metra Railway with a scenic overlook, new 10 foot-wide paved trails, and a revised crosswalk at IL Route 60.


Road Bridges over St. Croix River near Stillwater, MN

(Old Bridge Hunter, no New Bridge Hunter, Old 3D Satellite, New Satellite (marked, not built), Old John Weeks, New John Weeks) The only thing that is currently on the satellite image for the new bridge is a couple of barges for building the piers for the towers.

The truss bridge was built in 1931 and rehabilitated in 1973. The replacement one-mile-long, bluff-to-bluff bridge started in 2013 was scheduled to be done in Fall 2016, but it was almost a year late (Aug 2, 2017). The new bridge does uses post-tensioning with almost 2,000 miles of strands segment strands. [video] (All of the videos are below in the order that they should be watched.)

John Weeks posted some bridge pictures with extensive comments on the photos.
The old Stillwater Lift Bridge over the Saint Croix River. This bridge was just recently closed to highway traffic and it will reopen soon as a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle bridge. It will be part of a trail loop that goes over both the new and old bridge that is expected become a regional tourist attraction.
The new Saint Croix Crossing bridge. A cell phone photo doesn't do it justice. This is the first and only bridge of its type in North America, an extradosed structure. It uses 5 sets of short towers to avoid spoiling the view from the river, whereas a more conventional cable stayed bridge would have had a pair of 500 foot towers that would have been totally out of character along a National Wild and Scenic River. — at The New Saint Croix River Crossing.

Approaching the new Saint Croix Crossing bridge on the ramp leading up to the pedestrian / bicycle deck.

A view of the bridge deck as seen from one of the bump-out observation decks. What makes this bridge type unique is the angle of the suspension cables. Having the cables go directly from the towers to the bridge deck is becoming an increasingly popular design (where there is no catenary cable strung between the towers), a type known as a cable stayed bridge. However, on this bridge, the cables are at a shallow angle where more of their force is pulling towards the bridge tower than is lifting the bridge deck. The bridge stays up not because the cables are holding up the deck, but because the cables are pulling the deck segments towards the towers making them a really strong beam. This is known as an extradosed design. I don't know where the word comes from, but it is the first of its type in North America.

[I include this photo as a bonus.]
MNDOT from stcroixcrossing/gallery

(source of videos: bottom of stcroixcrossing)
If this part of the river had a rapids, then multiple, short towers would be relatively cheap because the bedrock would be close to the surface. But this video indicates the towers are rather expensive because the pier caissons go down as far as 140 feet.
(new window)
(new window)

(new window)

(new window)

(new window)
(new window)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Steam Powered Pumping Stations for an Oil Pipeline

I have discussed how utilities such as phone and oil companies would use a railroad's right-of-way to bury their cables or pipes. Comments on Roger's posting below have taught me that an oil pipeline was laid along Santa Fe's right-of-way from oil fields in Kansas to the Standard Oil Co. refinery in Whiting, IN. The pipeline started in 1906 and was used until at least the 1930s. [GenealogyTrails, Facebook comments]

Roger Holmes posted
I love shooting photos with a late afternoon sun. It casts a golden glow on subjects such as this BNSF eastbound going past the old pumping station for the Standard Oil pipeline at Wilburn (or is it Wilbern? I've seen it spelled both ways) Illinois on November 27, 2009. © Roger A. Holmes.
John Carson The Wilbern Pumping Station matches stations in Ft. Madison, Ponemah, (Warren County) Dahinda (Knox County) and Kernan (East of Streator) in style, layout and materials used in construction. There is an old Pumping Station in Ranson which is a different style, but closely match two pumping stations in Marceline Missouri. I'll have to check out the one in LaRosa.

Wilbern Satellite
1907 Post Card of Wilburn Illinois from GenealogyTrails
Donated by Sharon Kopina
This is a view looking down into the village of Wilburn.  Behind the photographer are hills and cliffs with the creek running in front of the hills.  You can see the oil pumping station in the distance. Beyond the station is the creek  and the Santa Fe Railroad. -- Nancy Piper

Jon Martin commented on Roger's posting
It may be hard to believe but someone lives in the one in LaRose. I wanted to see it as well and a group of us pulled up to it. 2 guys came walking out in pajama pants to see what was going on. Good thing they liked old Army trucks because they gave us a tour.
Note that for some of these towns, these pumping stations were the only industry. You can tell they were a source of pride because they have not removed the tall smokestacks.
Jon Carson commented on Roger's posting
Kernan Il (A Google Photo)
John Carson  commented on Roger's posting

John Carson  commented on Roger's posting
Former pumping station at Ransom. Different style, brick construction, not stone block. Matches those in Marceline Mo.

John Carson  commented on Roger's posting
Maeceline Mo. one plant.

John Carson  commented on Roger's posting
The other plant at Marceline Mo.
Christoph Traugott posted eight photos with the comment:
Abandoned coal-fired Prairie Oil & Gas Company oil pumping station, along the BNSF Transcon, the pipeline ran from Kansas to Griffith, Indiana. Prairie Oil & Gas Company was acquired by Sinclair Oil in 1932. Kernan, La Salle County, Illinois.









Roger Holmes posted
An eastbound BNSF freight with the old Standard Oil Pipeline pumping station at Wilburn, IL on February 22, 2008. © Roger A. Holmes.