Friday, February 15, 2019

How Wabtec/GE Locomotives are made

Since I have notes about Progressive Rail(Caterpillar)/EMD locomotive manufacturing, it is only fair that I write some notes about GE locomotives. Especially since I came across a couple of videos that do the heavy lifting for me.

GE was able to make a locomotive that met the Tier 4 deadline. EMD is making a Tier 4 locomotive, but I recently read that UP is putting most of the 100 units it bought into storage because of electrical problems.

GE Transportation was recently merged with Wabtec in a $11.1 billion deal. Wabtec is the current name for the Westinghouse operation that invented air brakes. They have expanded into other railroad technologies such as PTC (Positive Train Control) equipment.

Maria Ko
[I didn't realize the wheel flanges were so small.]
GE's original plant was in Erie, PA. I don't know if this is the facility that Alco used when they built locomotives. I've learned they build their engines in Grove City, PA. They also moved a lot of the locomotive production from Erie to a million sq. ft. facility in Fort Worth, TX (16 photos). In fact, for a while they were talking about closing Erie. At least they kept the production in the USA. I don't know what combination of cheap land, cheaper taxes, and union busting prompted the move. There is no point reading articles about the move because no one is going to honestly say "we moved to bust the unions," if that was the case.

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(new window) I can't believe they didn't hand the "bubbly gal" a torque wrench to finish installing the the "oh wow" oil pressure sensor. Letting the public think that finger tight is OK hurts my brain. I really miss the WWII produced videos that had a professional narrator behind the scenes focused on providing information. (I still haven't figured out if one guy did many films back in the 1940s, or if several guys did "the narrator voice." Some of the GE videos also had Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. So they are not sexist. Sometimes they include a "bubbly guy.")

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Talmadge Memorial Bridges in Savannah, GA

(1953 Bridge Hunter; 1990 Bridge Hunter3D Satellite, 201+ photos)

Boston Public Library Flickr, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
The clearance of  this bridge was too low for some ships. And a couple of allisions with piers increased the urgency of building a replacement bridge. The cable-stayed replacement was completed in 1990 with a cost of $80 million. "The bridge provides 185 ft. of vertical navigational clearance at Mean High Water. With a main span of 1100 ft. and a total length of 1.9 miles the new Talmadge Memorial carries the 4 lanes of traffic on Hwy 17 over the Savannah River. Prior to the construction of the new bridge, a law mandated that Hwy 17 be re-routed across the Houlihan Bridge." [SavannahPortJournal]

GDOT (link is broken)
GDOT (link is broken)
Many of the piers of the old bridge still stand because "the cost of removing the old bridge was greater than the cost of erecting the new bridge."  [SavannahPortJournal]
3D Satellite
I spent some time on the web site trying to find info on this bridge, but I was defeated.

The current limiting factor for handling 14,000 TEU neo-panamax ships is the 42' depth of the navigation channel. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' project to deepen the channel to 47' is expected to be completed in 2022 with a cost of nearly $1 billion dollars. Cranes have already been installed that are tall enough to handle the 14,000 TEU ships.  But ships that can handle 19,000 TEU, and even 22,000 TEU, are using other ports. The 185' clearance of the current bridge is not high enough to handle that generation of container ships because they increase their capacity by stacking the containers even higher. "Talks about a new bridge are in the planning stages and no details on size needed or cost were available." [SavannahNowAJC]

[A nice view of the old piers that are a monument to the endurance of properly poured reinforced concrete. It is too bad that Chicagoland contractors can't learn how to make concrete structures that last that long. For example, the new outer-drive that is just 33 years old is already exposing its rebar.]

Lamar White posted
4100 on the Savannah River

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

BNSF/GN Trestle over Teton River near Collins, MT

(Bridge Hunter; a photo with a train on itSatellite)

Andrew Tuttle posted two photos:

As with most steel tower trestles, the span across the tower is shorter than the span between towers. But this trestle is unusual because the depth of the girders for the short spans are as deep as those for the long spans.

1902 eBook1, p267
Photo from Railroads of Montana
   Collins, Montana - Wooden Trestle Over Teton River 1900's
[You can see 150' Howe truss on the left side of this image.]
eBook2, p256

Great Northern got a lot of practice building trestles. Here is another one over the Kettle River near Sandstone, MN.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Small Machine Tools and Tooling

I have some notes on big machine tools. But probably more of America was built with many small machine tools than with a few big ones. I'm starting some notes concerning small machine tools.

Steve Johnson shared a link to a photo album with the comment: ""Our pneumatic tools in use on one hundred and thirty-five railroads" 1897 Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co pneumatic hammers brochure, including their Boyer Railway Speed Recorder. Very cool illustrations, rare early brochure, company incorporated in 1895."
Steve Johnson Did a very extensive search and only found one other copy, in the Canadian National Archives of all places.
Dennis DeBruler Between steam locomotives, ships, bridges, and skyscrapers, there were a lot of rivets that had to be pounded back then.

Below are some of the photos from that album.

Pneumatic tools are also used to to drill holes. In fact, compressed-air driven tools were invented to create holes in rock for explosives when building tunnels and mining minerals because they can hammer and twist the tool.

Hammers have many uses. In the case of this photo, cleaning flange off of forgings. I used a smaller pneumatic cold chisel with my 2-horse air compressor to bust the stucco off my house when we were installing a new door. The carpenter I hired to do the job had bought a concrete cutting blade for his saw. But the pneumatic chisel did a much quicker job. He was embarrassed because he had consulted with a friend as to how to remove the stucco. He was also relieved because the saw didn't make much progress, but the chisel cut through the stucco like butter.

I've also come across videos of a couple of generations of making chain.

Screenshot @ -0:44    (source)
Screenshot @ -0:07   (source)

Friday, February 8, 2019

IR/BN/CB&Q Bridge over Fox River at Sheridan, IL

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Street View  caught bad lighting; Satellite)

IR = Illinois Railways/Illinois Railnet

DNE 31 Flickr
It is obvious that one of the trusses of this bridge was replaced with steel bents and girders. So I dug deeper. "Bridge once had two truss spans. A Whipple Deck Truss and a Pratt Deck Truss. The whipple was replaced with I-Beam Spans." [Bridge Hunter]

A Roger Puta Photo
They have not only kept the Pratt truss, they still have wooden approach trestles on the east side.

Steve Conro from Bridge Hunter
Chris Guss uploaded by Steve Conro from Bridge Hunter
Very interesting night shot
[I could not find "Chris Normantown Guss" in the "Select Photographer..." menu, so I can't find the link to this photo. I wonder what Chris used for lights.]
Jason Leverton Flickr 2012 Photo has four locomotives, three paint schemes and a former SP tunnel motor. It is probably pulling a "sand train." It is well worth clicking the link.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I-90 Pontoon Bridges over Lake Washington at Seattle, WA

1940+1993 South Bridge, Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge: (Bridge HunterHAER; Satellite)
1989 North Bridge, Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge: (Bridge Hunter; same satellite as above)

AARoads posted
The old Lake Washington Floating Bridge that carried US 10 at the time of this photo and later I-90. The bridge opened in 1940 and sank in 1990 during a storm.
[A second bridge was finished in 1989, and the original bridge was repaired by 1993.]
Hadley had help design concrete ships for the WWI Emergency Fleet. He had the idea in 1921 of building concrete barges with a deck to create a pontoon bridge over Lake Washington. He then scouted both Mercer Island and Seattle to find good locations for approaches to the bridge. His ideas were considered foolish until 1937 when he approached Murrow, director of the Washington Department of Highways "stating that he had found the most direct route for the bridge." Murrow started investigating his ideas and the more they studied them, the better they looked. A review committee "reached a unanimous opinion that the conditions at Lake Washington were uniquely favorable for a pontoon bridge. It had 'only a slight variation of its level, no current, no ice, no drift, and only limited reaches of open water in which waves could develop.' The engineers considered making the pontoons of steel or of wood as well as of reinforced concrete, but concluded that concrete pontoons, with necessary anchorages, was not only lowest in cost but also was superior because its greater mass would make the bridge it more stable. These studies, by the state highway department, included an experiment with a concrete barge anchored in Lake Washington, on the proposed route, from December 1937 to 31 March 1938. Various instruments on board recorded the tension in cables attached to the anchorages, daily weather conditions including wind direction and speed, the list of the barge, and the height of the waves. This taught the engineers much about the lake conditions and the possible behavior of pontoons." The pontoons of the resulting bridge were cabled to anchors, some of which were over 200' deep. Three types of anchors were used: deep soft mud, deep hard bottom, and shallow hard bottom.  (The reference has much more detail on the anchors.) [HAER-data]

Since Lake Washington is considered a navigable waterway, each end has a fixed 150' tied-arch truss over a navigation channel, a hinge, a transition span, another hinge, some transition pontoons (the deck is slanted to make a grade), an articulated joint, and then pontoons bolted together to the middle of the lake. At the middle, the is a pontoon that can slide out of the way to make a 200' wide, unlimited heighth, opening for boats that don't fit under an arch. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out from the text description how that movable span worked. I need to see some diagrams. Float valves in the transition pontoons change the level of water inside the pontoon to change the angle of the hinges to account for the 4' high variance of the lake's water level. [HAER-data]
Photo from HAER WASH,17-SEAT,13--4 from wa0182, cropped
A satellite caught a better view of the truss. We take tied arches for granted today. But in the late 1930s, when this one was designed, those arches had to be very innovative.
3D Satellite

In November 1990, while under re-construction, the original bridge sank because of a series of human errors and decisions. The process started because the bridge needed resurfacing and was to be widened by means of cantilevered additions in order to meet the necessary lane-width specifications of the Interstate Highway System. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) decided to use hydrodemolition (high-pressure water) to remove unwanted material (the sidewalks on the bridge deck). Water from this hydrodemolition was considered contaminated under environmental law and could not be allowed to flow into Lake Washington. Engineers then analyzed the pontoons of the bridge, and realized that they were over-engineered and the water could be stored temporarily in the pontoons. The watertight doors for the pontoons were therefore removed.
A large storm on November 22–24 (the Thanksgiving holiday weekend), filled some of the pontoons with rain and lake water. On Saturday, November 24, workers noticed that the bridge was about to sink, and started pumping out some of the pontoons; on Sunday, November 25, a 2,790-foot (850 m) section of the bridge sank, dumping the contaminated water into the lake along with tons of bridge material. It sank when one pontoon filled and dragged the rest down, because they were cabled [actually, bolted] together and there was no way to separate the sections under load. No one was hurt or killed, since the bridge was closed for renovation and the sinking took some time. All of the sinking was captured on film and shown on live TV. The cost of the disaster was $69 million in damages. A dozen anchoring cables for the new Hadley bridge were severed, and it was closed for a short time afterward. Westbound traffic was allowed on Tuesday, and eastbound traffic was resumed in early December.
The disaster delayed the bridge's reopening by 14 months, to September 12, 1993.

Because all of the pontoons were replaced, the bridge lost its historical registration.
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The 1990 maintenance was done after the new bridge was completed in 1989. In this Street View we see the old bridge is in service, and they are doing maintenance on the southern half of the new bridge. Normally those lanes are HOV reversible lanes. [1989 Bridge Hunter]
Street View on the original (south) bridge looking at the new one.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

HO Tower: Aban/EJ&E vs. NS/NKP

(John Haynes Track DiagramSatellite, extrapolate the Oak Savannah Trail to the Northeast)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:    1968    1987
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for the correct information)

Hobart, IN has two towers along the EJ&E Porter branch, which is now abandoned. This one and Bart Tower.

Dave Arganbright commented on a post asking for Baldwin center-cab photos
Dennis DeBruler commented on Dave's comment
Dennis DeBruler I've seen several photos of Bart Tower (EJ&E crossed Pennsy), but this is the first one I have seen of HO Tower (EJ&E crossed NS/NKP). Bart was in the middle of this excerpt and HO was in the lower-left corner.!3m1!1e3...
John Grose Dennis DeBruler there was far more interchange at Hobart between the J and the NW than between the J and the Pennsy/PC/Conrail.
Dennis DeBruler John Grose I noticed that NS still has most of the tracks in the yard east of the HO crossing.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3.