Thursday, March 23, 2017

UP/C&EI Trestle over Kaskaskia River in Shelbyville, IL, My Pictures

On my last trip to Kentucky, I got off I-57 to check out the dam and this bridge in Shelbyville, IL.

If you look at a map of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, it forked south of Woodland, IL into branches to Danville-Evansville and to St. Louis. The St. Louis branch then had another branch leave it southwest of Findlay, IL, to head south into Illinois' coal country. It is this southern branch that crosses the Kaskaskia River valley.

20170316 8057
I knew from studying a satellite map that there was a field that would give me a nice clear view of much of the trestle. But from the map one could also see that field was surrounded by a treeline. There was also a fence. Most importantly, the stuff in the foreground was thorn bushes. I do not mess with thorn bushes.
Fortunately, the county rode does go all the way to the base of the trestle. This view is looking  southwest, away from the river.
Switching to a vertical format and getting even closer to the trestle.

An "artsy" view from underneath the trestle and a rare blue sky.
This view is in the other direction. The cut-stone pier is on the Kaskaskia River bank.
I stepped over a chain to get the center pictures and this one. Now I wish I had trespassed further to get a better picture of the truss over the river.
You can see there is a cut-stone pier on the other bank as well.
I found a spot among the trees that gave me an almost clear shot of the span over the river. The construction of the truss is strange. It appears there are heavy members down the middle, then lighter members on each side.
From the visitor center for the dam, which is built on a terminal moraine, you can see the top of the trestle just below the treeline with the sky. (The road goes over the dam itself.)
In the background of a picture I took of a wheelchair accessible fishing dock down by the spillway, you can see the girders outlined by the blue sky. (closeup below)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gensets are already dead

I fist saw gensets on an IHB train.
20140921 0128
I then saw them in the IHB Calumet Yard. They were developed to reduce pollution in yard and industrial switching where an engine has a lot of idle time and/or handles small cuts of cars that don't need all of the locomotive's horsepower.

They cost more, but they were supposed to pay for themselves with reduced fuel costs. But they proved to be a reliability issue because you had three times as many engines to maintain and the engine and generator did not use standard parts.

Also, engineers did not like them because they were slow to get a cut of cars moving. They were supposed to be designed for switching work, but that requires a lot of back-and-forth movement, which requires a lot of stopping and starting. They didn't start as fast as the old road-engines handed down to yard work engines did. Norfolk Southern considers them an experiment that failed. [NS, p16 (This Norfolk Southern Powerpoint presentation also has graphs displaying the EPA's Tier requirements.)] This 2014 presentation indicates that only one Class I railroad is still buying gensets. This photo clearly indicates that BNSF is not buying them.

Andrew Aguilar commented on Tim Hannum's posting
 Was involved in a Accident between the 2014-2015 year and Ran head into a Loaded tanker and Blew up into flames 
(At least that's what everyone told me)
Tim Hannum posted
Toaster Genset
William Brown This one ran over a draw bar at
Alliance, TX punctured the fuel tank and
burned up within 200' of the Hump Tower.
The two "toasted" gensets are not because of a design issue like we have seen with modern John Deere combines, but if they cost more to begin with, then accidents are also more expensive.

Meanwhile, companies have learned how to rebuild the old 4-axle units with a single engine to make them economical and clean. For example EMD710ECO Retrofit Kits and Knoxville Locomotive Works.

It is particularly important to cleanup the locomotives used in yards in urban areas because when the study was finally done, a direct correlation was found between kids having asthma problems and the home's distance from a major railroad yard. (BNSF's Clyde/Cicero Yard was the specific yard used for the study.)

NS, p20
NS is rebuilding their yard engines so that they can be "plugged in" and turned off when not needed. And, of course, they are adding "plug in" stations to their major yards. The electricity powers a heater to keep the engine coolant warm because they don't use antifreeze. And a warm engine can be restarted. The plugin also keeps the batteries charged.

NS is also experimenting with a natural gas mother/slug set where the slug is full of high pressure tanks. They are also working on battery powered locomotives. They are on their second iteration of battery design, but they still need to do more R&D. [NS, p21]

Canadian Pacific's trail of two NRE gensets compared to GP9s indicated the crews liked them, but there were still significant reliability issues. The report mentioned that they did not have automatic start/stop. I wonder if NRE removed that feature to address the complaints that they were slow to get a cut of cars moving. They could at least do what I thought of when I first read about gensets --- install an active/inactive switch. The engineer knows if the locomotive is stopped for a short period of time because it is changing direction or if it is stopped for a long period of time. Leave the engines running for short (active) periods and shut some down for long periods. When the switch is turned from inactive to active, fire up the engines then so that they are ready to load when the throttle is pushed.

Duty cycle charts for line haul vs. switcher locomotives show why it is so effective to reduce emissions during idle and low power ranges for yard engines.

California Air Resources Board, Freight Locomotives, p. 50 (III-6)
California Air Resources Board, Freight Locomotives, p. 51 (III-7)

It takes two locomotives to shove three cars?! I guess so because when they went across the road, they had four of the six gensets running. At 4:10 we see the guy running the remote is not strapped to the handrail. So he is violating the "three points of contact" rule. I'd be willing to count his rear resting against the hand rail if he had enough room to lean against the rail. If anything, it looks like the rail wants to shove him off the platform. With just one tank to push, they were using 2+1 gensets. 2100hp to push one car seems like bad fuel efficiency. For relatively modern locomotives, one of the engines is smoking real bad.

CN is closing Escanaba's Ore Dock

(Satellite, Street View)
I've seen pictures of derelict ore docks before. We are going to loose another ore dock. Looking at the satellite image, it looks like they have already torn down some docks. This would be closing the last dock that was in the town.

Shipments have been low since Empire Mine closed last year. I wonder if it closed because it ran out of ore or because China has been dumping steel or both. 12 union employees are affected by the closure. CN plans to work on a redevelopment or reuse within the company for the property. The reuse plan could include other materials.

The Escanaba port allowed ore to be shipped earlier and later in the shipping seasons when the Soo Locks remained closed. It is also a vital alternative for ore shipments on the Great Lakes if the locks at Sault Ste. Marie were damaged or shutdown. [UpperPeninsula]

Update: Mark Hinsdale posted four photos with the comment:
Ore No More...With the sad announcement by Canadian National that they will close the former Chicago & North Western Ore Dock in Escanaba MI by the end of next month, I thought I post a couple of reminders of a happier time, when many of us flocked to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to watch C&NW's last FM's in the 70's, and then their big Alcos in the 80's, wheel the ore trains from Negaunee to Escanaba. It was always an intriguing operation to visit. Now, just another spike through the heart of the U.P. April, 1975 & June, 1985 photos by Mark Hinsdale




John Deere: 70hp in 1958, 121hp in 1962, 560hp in 2012, and 620hp in 2015

The 830 Diesel introduced in 1958 had 75 belt/PTO and 70 drawbar horsepower.

Screenshot at -0:27
A PR Video about the release of their biggest tractor, 121 hp 5010, in 1962. John Deere had recently replaced their putt-putt tractors with their New Generation tractors in 1960. As the video explains, they not only designed a bigger tractor, they designed bigger implements to take advantage of the additional horsepower such as a 7-bottom plow (every farmer was still plowing in the early 1960s) and a 40-foot drill.

Big Tractor Power posted
New 2017 John Deere 9620R with the new for 16 poly fender fuel tanks on triple tires at Hutson Equipment in Hopkinsville, KY.

I still haven't figured out the model numbers for John Deere. But their largest 2017 tractor is the 9620R at 620 hp. The video states that the 9R series was introduced in 2012 in a range of 360-560 hp. The series was upgraded in 2015 with 620hp at the high end and steel fender fuel tanks added to all the models. The video below implies a quad-trac option was offered in 2016. (Is that 17 years after CaseIH offered quad-trac so the CaseIH patent had finally expired?) The only change for 2017 is that the steel fender tanks are replaced by plastic tanks so that they are more rounded and don't interfere with the driver's view of the implement being pulled. A comment indicated the 620 hp engine is made by Cummins.

It is interesting to note that the 620hp figure is for the engine. The (claimed) PTO hp is only 335. The drawbar hp is probably even lower. "The 9620R comes equipped with a 14.9 Liter (912 cu in) engine producing 620 horsepower @ 2,100 rpm." [AxleGeeks] I'm shocked that the drive train of a 9620R looses almost half of the engines power. I'll bet one of those big radiators you can see behind the grill up front is for transmission oil. Maybe they should go back to geared transmissions with a clutch. I can't even find an engine (gross) rating for the 830. I wonder when the industry changed from quoting usable HP to quoting engine HP.

This video confirms that John Deere added quadtrac 18 years after CaseIH introduced it. They are also putting the spotlight back on useful horsepower. The 620hp tractor beats John Deere's 620hp tractor in terms of drawbar hp, pulling power, and fuel and DEF usage. In fact, their drawbar and pulling power numbers are the highest of any Nebraska test of a production tractor. Indeed, they have designed a new transmission to reduce "parasitic" power.

Video of 20 years of quadtrac experience.

Video of John Deere's comparison of cost of operation of their 9R series to CaseIH tractors.

A CaseIH video comparing JD 9620R vs. Steiger 620. (I didn't watch this one.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Steam Driven Turbine

John Jensen posted
Turbine at a powerhouse in an abandoned textile finishing plant.
Bud Norwood I worked on a steam turbine similar to that. From the early 1900s. The old guys that actually built those machines really were the rocket scientists of their day! We have generations of millwrights who are familiar with turbines now days but those boys were out there on the cutting edge of new technology in their day!
Bud Norwood Just to bring this discussion back to the machining aspect, several jobs I was on required in-place machining on turbine joints. Several times the rotor (155 tons) was placed in a portable lathe to machine the bearing journals. It was interesting work.
The blade wheels get bigger as the steam progresses through the turbine because the steam looses pressure.

In the 1800's, electricity was generated by pistons driving a crankshaft. Today, most of our electricity is generated by turbine driven alternators. Initially, the turbines were steam driven from coal-fired boilers. Then nuclear power was introduced to generate the steam. Now some boilers have been converted to burn natural gas instead of coal because fracking has reduced the cost of natural gas. But all three of these fuel sources use steam driven turbines.

During World War II, Germany and other countries were developing turbines that could be driven directly from burning fuel. These turbines were called jet engines. Now gas-burning turbines have been scaled up to generate electricity. But the modern versions of these plants also use steam-driven turbines because the residual heat from the gas turbine is used to make steam. I'm willing to bet that over half the electricity consumed in America is still made with steam turbines.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Excavator vs. Railroad Overpass, Both Lost

In a "battle" between an excavator on a truck and a railroad overpass, they both lost.

John W. Coke posted five photos:

1  Note the yellow warning sign on the right girder. I'm sure that is a clearance sign, but the resolution is not good enough to read how low this bridge was.

2  The boom bent at the D painted on the sign of the boom. And the bottom, center of the bridge's side beam got bent. I wonder how fast the driver was going when he hit the bridge.

3  And they had clearance data in a yellow sign on this side as well. Although the print does not look big enough to read at highway speeds in time to stop even if the driver did know his height.

4  The boom was bent 90 degrees and the rail demonstrates the flexibility of steel.

5  It looks like they have shut down the traffic in both directions while the authorized personal stand around and ponder what to do.
The strength of the pin on the trailer that fits into the "wheel" on the tractor truck is amazing. The trailer remained attached to the truck. So the truck went from highway speeds to zero in just a few feet. That has to be a lot of Gs on the driver.

Duval Junction: UP/C&NW vs. CN/SOO/WC

(Satellite) I thought I have written about Duval. But evidently I could never figure out where it was located. Steven's comment provides enough information for me to finally determine where it is located.

Jerry Jackson posted
Metra/RTA F40PH 167 shoves an afternoon rush hour CNW Northwest Line train to Chicago as it accelerates over the Wisconsin Central diamonds at Deval Tower in Des Plaines, Illinois - June 5, 1991.
The routes that form a triangle here are the CN/SOO/WC on the right, the UP+CP/C&NW+Milwaukee freight cutoff on the top, and a UP/C&NW mainline across the bottom. The tower is in the lower-right corner of this triangle.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP