Monday, June 24, 2019

B&OCT Yard Towers at Barr Yard: Halsted and Ashland

Halsted Tower 3D Satellite
I have already written notes about Barr Yard.  These notes focus on the two yard towers.

I'm making copies of some satellite images with plenty of context since the towers will disappear when Google updates the image.

Ashland Tower 3D Satellite

Halsted Tower 3D Satellite
And I'm saving an image of the yard itself since the tracks are rather full. CSX plans to reduce the use of this yard by running its merchandise trains to Clearing Yard instead of here.

Thomas Wyatt posted [link withheld] June 20, 2019, cropped
putting in work on halsted tower...
Dennis DeBruler Were these already unused or does this mean CSX is serious about closing Barr Yard?
Jay P Cee Dennis DeBruler they have been unoccupied for 15 years
Jay P Cee But Barr is still in desperate need
Dennis DeBruler Jay P Cee So they quit using them back when the yard was still very alive.
<name withheld> They stopped using them when they started using cameras in the yard and brought the yardmasters into the trainmaster office so they could try to micromanage us better.

Scott Griffith posted
[The comments argue about Ashland vs. Halsted.
This is the first time I have seen a tower skunked by steam instead of a train!]
Crew Heimer posted
Barr Yard Offices 1977
[And Halsted Tower near the middle]
John Eagan posted, 1974, Flickr
[Halsted is in the upper-right corner.]

Erick Kruse posted
CSX eastbound with 7567 CW40-8 leading with a leased GATX SD40, prepares to depart Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois. - December 12, 2003
Dennis DeBruler Taken from the Ashland Street Tower? I just read that both towers have been torn down because they haven't been used in about 15 years. Their function was replaced by video cameras that give the yardmaster more views of the yard.

Francis Otterbein shared a link to a public group with the comment: "A single GP15T is seen from the Ashland Avenue Control Tower pulling a cut of cars west out of Barr Yard. Note the strings of retired first-generation diesels on the north end of the yard. (Jim Mirabelli photo.March 21, 1985)"

A Flickr photo of the west yard tower from the cab of a switcher.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge 1888 Bridge over Animas River in Durango, CO

Photo by Nathan D. Holmes via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
My motivation for saving this video of a DGNS train is the heavy flow of the river. One good thunderstorm on the watershed can make a mountain river flow heavily for a little while. Of course, seeing a steam locomotive in action is also nice. This is the only six-panel truss on the Bridge Hunter page so I'm pretty sure this is the bridge that is in town.

Some of the spans are older than that locomotive. And any narrow gauge steam locomotive is pretty old.
From west to east, the bridge is configured as follows. First, there is a riveted through plate girder span. A plaque on this bridge indicates that the Lassig Plant of Chicago of the American Bridge Company built this span in 1901. This construction date indicates this is one of the earliest bridges built by the American Bridge Company which formed in 1900. This span was originally located on the Pleasant Valley Branch in Utah and was relocated here in 1927.
The next span of the bridge is a pin-connected Pratt through truss with ornamented portal bracing. This span was built in 1888, and was originally located over the Conejos River near Antonito. It was relocated here in 1917.
Lastly, the east end of the bridge has a rare Howe timber pony truss span with cast iron connection pieces. This span was built in 1936.
The reason for the different spans on this bridge comes from various floods, including the first in 1885, and also the flood in 1911.
[Historic Bridges]

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Great Lakes freighters of 1000 or more feet long

This Facebook post concerning Stubby has motivated me to note the Lakers that are 1000' or more but still short enough to fit in the Soo Locks. Boats optimized for using the largest Soo Lock are called 1000-footers. Since 1983 there have been 13 of them. But Interlake has ordered a new one from FBS.
Russ Plumb posted
Forty-nine years ago today [6/13/2019], Stubby (Hull 1173) departed the Welland Canal and headed for Erie, PA. Once there, Stubby was cut in half and joined to either end of an 815 foot body section under construction in the shipyard. In 1972, the new vessel joined the Bethlehem Transportation Company fleet and entered service as the first 1000 footer on the Great Lakes -- the Stewart J. Cort (Lake Carriers Bulletin, June-July 1970).
John Lyle There were a few Canadian Lakers built the same way. They were built in Scottish ship yards (bow and stern only. Sailed across the Atlantic then the bow and stern were separated and the cargo section inserted.
Darryl Harper Sections were also added to the sides of the bow and stern to match the width of the center section, to expand from Seaway max of 78 feet to approx 100 feet.( cant recall exact width).
David G. Small I knew the chief engineer, he said every time they picked up a pilot his first question was what is this thing. [When going up the St. Lawrence Seaway.]
I knew it was an old laker because it has a superstructure on the bow. It was the only Footer built with her pilot house forward. The rest of the 1000-footers were built in shipyards on the Great Lakes.
She has a regular route carrying iron ore between Superior, WI, and Burns Harbor, IN. When I accessed MarineTraffic, it had recently docked at Burns Harbor. She has a stern self-unloader instead of the more typical boom self-unloader. This makes it easier to load and faster to unload, but it limits the docks that can accommodate her. But if she unloads only at Burns Harbor, that is not a big deal.
[A popup on that page indicates that its speed range is 5.18-12.70 knots.]

In this video you will see that the ships have a square stern and a blunt, rounded bow. The good news is that the blunt bow maximizes cargo space in the lock. The bad news is that it does not cut through ice very well. It is not unusual at the end of the shipping season for them to get stuck. Then an ice breaker has to be dispatched to help get them to their winter port. Many of these 1000-footers spend the winter at the shipyard in Sturgeon Bay for maintenance work. For example, in 2018 eleven of them were there for the Winter season (Jan-Mar).
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0:21 Stewart J. Cort, BN (Superior, Wisconsin) 3:04 Presque Isle [the only articulated barge+tugboat of 1000'] 5:28 James R. Barker, BN [It has an interesting sounding horn.] 8:00 Mesabi Miner, BN 10:40 Walter J. McCarthy 12:46 American Integrity 14:46 American Spirit 16:50 Edwin H. Gott (Two Harbors, Minnesota) [This has the longest self-unloading boom at 280' and the most horsepower at 19,500.] 19:52 Indiana Harbor 22:05 Burns Harbor (Superior, Wisconsin) 24:45 Edgar B. Speer 28:39 American Century 32:15 Paul R. Tregurtha, BN [At 1013.5', it is the longest vessel on the Great Lakes. It has the nickname of The Queen of the Great Lakes.]

Some of these ships were built at American/Cleveland Shipbuilding's yard in Lorain, OH. Paul R. Tregurtha is of note not only because it is the longest of the 1000' class, but because it was the last ship built in that shipyard. It was originally name William J. De Lancey.

Lorain Historical Society posted
May 10th 1981, the last ship built in Lorain, the William J. DeLancey departed on her maiden voyage.
Barbara Piscopo And this ship still sails the Great Lakes under the name the Paul R. Tregurtha! To learn more, visit our Children’s Room at the Lorain Historical Society where there is a “cut out replica” of this ship.
Dennis DeBruler Thanks for the name change information. I thought Tregurtha was the longest Laker, so I was confused when I read that DeLancey was the longest.
Rick Shaw I've got miles of welds on that ship.
Aloma Arp I remember this. Steinbrenner shut down his ship building there and began the decline in Lorain.
Justine Schneider Volan Aloma Arp my dad always blamed Steinbrenner for the shipyard and Lorain.
Aloma Arp Justine Schneider Volan
He was right.

The bow and part of the cargo hold of this ship was built in the Toledo Yard and then towed here to complete the ship. It is powered by two 8,560 b.h.p. V-16 diesel engines. "On November 9, 2009 the Tregurtha laid up at Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay WI for a scheduled winter repowering project. Her twin Pielstick diesels were removed and replaced by a pair of medium speed MaK M43C 6 cylinder diesel engines providing a combined 17,120 BHP. Returning to service in April 2010, this re-investment reaffirms Interlake`s commitment to reliable and dependable service to their customers, and ensures a long and productive future for the Paul R. Tregurtha....During winter layup 2017-18, the Paul R. Tregurtha was equipped with an exhaust gas scrubber system to reduce sulfur emissions. Exhaust gas from the engines is sent through a series of absorption sprays that wash and remove impurities, specifically sulfur and particulate matter. That washed exhaust gas then travels through a droplet separator before a clean plume of white steam is discharged into the atmosphere." [Boatnerd has lots of photos]

Interlake Steamship
[Please click the link for info and more photos of the freighter].

Friday, June 21, 2019

US-14+61 Bridges over Mississippi River at La Crosse, WI

(1939 WB Bridge Hunter2005 EB Bridge HunterHistoric BridgesJohn A. Weeks III3D Satellite)

"The 87 foot tall arch for the Cameron Avenue bridge was built in a dry dock downstream and floated into place. This allowed the main channel to remain open for shipping during construction. The Cass Street bridge is being rehabilitated during 2005 and 2006, with all traffic routed on the Cameron Avenue bridge during the project." [John Weeks III]

John Weeks III
The approach spans are non-trivial bridge structures in their own right. It looks like curved trapezoidal tub girders were used for the new bridge.
John Weeks III
Via Historic Bridges
The previous bridge at this location was a low level crossing, consisting of pin-connected through truss spans including a swing span. One of the spans was destroyed in a vehicle collision in 1935.
[I assume the photo is 1881 instead of 1981. Since the high-level truss was not competed until 1939, I wonder if the town had to use a ferry service for four years.]

Pat Markos posted
Good evening from La Crosse, WI!

Jason Smith via 1939 Bridge Hunter
Stairway to the sidewalk
Jason Smith via 1939 Bridge Hunter
Stairway to the sidewalk

Thursday, June 20, 2019

CREATE: WA11 - Improving Dolton Junction

The Feds are paying $19m to improve Dolton Junction. [CBS (source)]

Unfortunately, the number $19m was about the only useful info in that CBS news report. Fortunately, ProgressiveRailroading identified the project as CREATE WA11. Unfortunately, CREATE's home page doesn't have WA11. Fortunately, they do have a WA11 fact sheet.

WA11 Fact Sheet (satellite)

125 freight trains (UP, CSX, IHB, NS, CN) 2 Amtrak (Cardinal Service)
Scope of Work
Upgrade and reconfigure the CSX/IHB/UP connections at Dolton Interlocking including the replacement of an NS connection between the IHB and CSX. Construct a third main line with direct access from CSX and Barr Yard to the UP mainline. Construct crossovers between two mainline IHB tracks. Upgrade connection between IHB and UP. Automate Dolton Tower for remote control.
The project will increase freight train speeds for multiple routes from 15 mph to 30 mph, including routes accessing CSX Barr Yard, UP Yard Center, UP Dolton Intermodal Yard, a CSX mainline route, and all mainline connections between IHB, CSX, and UP. The increased speeds will enable this location to handle increased freight train throughput. Due to increased freight train speeds the potential for delay to Amtrak trains will be reduced.
Several months ago I read a comment that one of the reasons they tore down the interlocking tower before any preservationists could do anything with the contents was that the location was needed to make room for a connecting track.

A "before" image:

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

1957 COFCO/Continental/Central Soya/Glidden Grain Elevator along Calumet River

(3D Satellite)

COFCO is a Big Ag company that has an emphasis on global trade. ADM and Cargill export from Toledo, OH.

Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
Matt Holman Irondale, Chicago, Illinois- Central Soya’s B House Elevator built in 1956.
Bob Lalich I grew up near Irondale and did a double take when I saw the photos. This elevator was Continental Grain in the 1960s and later years, but Matt Holman is correct. The number of silos and windows on the center structure match perfectly. There is another small detail that helps nail the location. A small portion of the roof of Republic Steel's soaking pits can be seen just to the right of the elevator. Republic Steel was directly across the river from this elevator. Good job Matt!
Bob Lalich Matt Holman correctly identified the location in his comment. The elevator is still standing today on the west bank of the Calumet River at 117th St in Chicago. Judging the date by the cars seen here, the photo was taken in the late 1950s. According to a 1956 Directory of Industries for the Chicago Switching District, the elevator is listed under Glidden Co, and was served by IHB, PRR and CRIP. The Cargill (former CNW) elevator is out of frame to the right. It appears that the perpendicular spur is being used to unload grain doors for boxcars, or something similarly flat.

Dennis DeBruler commented on the CNWHS post, 20160521 3308c
The best shot I could get from public access, 2016.
Dennis DeBruler I was wrong. The street view car shows me that I should have gone south and then east on the access road. The street view caught a lot of ground storage. The current satellite image shows it is empty.!3m6!1e1!3m4...Dennis DeBruler Glidden was a paint company that had a scientist, Dr. Percy Julian, who figured out how to extract the oil from soybeans to make paints. Glidden let Dr. Julian continue with his research, and he developed several uses for the oil, both industrial (for example, adhesives) and food products. The plant and first elevator was up by Milwaukee Road's Gaiewood Yard. Since that plant was landlocked, they built this much larger storage elevator where it had the water transport options of barges on the Illinois Waterway and "salties" on the St. Lawrence Seaway. So this elevator stored soybeans.
Central Soya bought the soybean operations of Glidden in the early 1960s.
They had a lot of ground storage when the street view car went there.
Street View
The end of travel down this road for the street view car.
Street View

I posted a link to these notes on 6/19/2019 to Grain Elevators of North America.

Brett Ellis Rode in with many loads to B&C house and even more to Cargill. There was also the Gateway elevator and the old Norris Grain elevator which became Pillsbury in the area. Oh, I forgot General Mills too.

Dennis DeBruler B&C?

Is Cargill now some sort of processing plant?!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...

There was supposed to be a C&NW Railroad elevator down here somewhere even though it was isolated from their own tracks. I'm still looking for that history.

Brett Ellis Dennis DeBruler the very little that's left. It was a massive elevator with a huge flat storage building also. I read at one time it had the largest capacity in the US. Being a delivery point for cbot if course was a factor.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Melrose Park's Kiddieland Amusement Park, 1929-2009


Since I have written about Riverview, it is only fair that I write about Kiddieland. Especially since the Hesston Steam Museum preserved its trains. (That museum has also preserved the trains that used to run in Brookfield Zoo.) It was viable economically. The rides were well maintained. It closed in 2009 because of a dispute among descendants of the park founder. [ChicagoTribune]

(I labeled this rrInterurban because interurban railroads invented the notion of an amusement park, not because an interurban served this park.)

By David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA - 20070916 02 Kiddieland, CC BY 2.0, Link via a gallery
Edward Kwiatkowski posted four photos with the comment: "The former Kiddieland Amusement Park steam locomotive from Melrose Park Illinois, on display today [6/14/2019] at Russell's Bar B Q.
Elmwood Park Illinois."





drloihjournal, cropped
[This post has lots of photos after explaining the history. It explains the family dispute that caused the selling of the land to Costco.]

Doug Kaniuk posted
Today (6/14) until 3pm, at Russell's (North & Thacher) , Kiddleland steam locomotive on display.
Dennis DeBruler Is this normally at the Hesston Steam Museum, or do they have the former Brookfield Zoo train? Or both?!4m5!3m4...
Edward Kwiatkowski Yes. They have the 2 Kiddieland steam locomotives and perhaps some of their cars, and the former Brookfield Zoo train as well. 2 of the 3 Brookfield Zoo locomotives are operable.
Jerry Hund Look at that bell mounted on the front. It looks like the same kind used on Metra engines.
Don Rupp I believe the Kiddieland locomotives were built by Wagner which was in Plainfield, Illinois.

Charles Wesberry IV shared
Hesston Steam Museum post
All Aboard! The Kiddieland Steam Locomotive is on it’s way to Melrose Park! More updates as we go! #kiddielandsteamtrain
Eric Kalwitz why is this gem leaving? on loaner? it’s not permanent is is?Hesston Steam Museum Eric Kalwitz we are participating in a few special events today celebrating the Kiddieland Amusement Park!

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(new window) The video is a little rough, but he does try to catch each ride and gives the install date for some of them.