Monday, December 10, 2018

Wire Junction: NYC vs. CSS/NS/NKP

CSS is the nickname for the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Realroad. The CSS&SB now handles just freight. A government agency is responsible for the passenger service. CSS bought the NKP's L&EW branch between Michigan City and Kingsbury. [Trains, November 07, 2005 10:18 AM] The route has to be through Sillwell to a spur that served the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant. An industrial park is being developed along that branch.

Ken Durkel posted
South Shore Freight AF-2 Southbound waits for the signal at Wire in LaPorte, Indiana as a westbound passes on the NS Chicago Line on March 06, 2014.
Mark Egebrecht Wire?Jeff Krall From what I have been told, back in the days of CR, the interlocker/diamond at milepost 462 was referred to as Wire.Craig Cloud Yep, PC Western Division ETT diamond was called Wire. Plus, notice South Shore speed over diamond around 10mph due being a flange bearing diamond.Ken Durkel The older crews still call it Wire, on occasion dispatch does. Location was WR interlocking.Matt Lastovich When I call the NS I call it Wire.
I've been studying railroads for over four years now, and I'm still learning about new junctions in the Chicagoland area.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Copper River & Northwestern Railway and its bridges

Mile 27, Flag Point Bridge: (Satellite; Blog; more below)
Mile 28: the bridge no longer exists; Blog
Mile 34, Hot Cake Bridge: the bridge no longer exists?; Blog
Mile 49, Million Dollar Bridge: (Satellite, I use Bing because, for the first time I have seen it, the Google image is blurry; Blog; more below)
Mile 132, Copper River Trestle: (Satellite, replaced with road bridge; Blog)
Mile 145, Kuskulana River Bridge: (Street ViewSatellite; Blog; more below)

The copper mine ran out and the mine and railroad were abandoned on Nov 11, 1938. [r2parks]

Mile 49:  I start with the famous "Million Dollar" Bridge. The Mysteries of the Abandoned series on Science Channel had a segment about this bridge. I remember the railroad was built to access a copper mine. The problem with TV shows is that it is hard to go back and get additional information. Fortunately, there is quite a bit of info about it on the internet.

Forgotten Railways, Roads, and Places shared
One of the most famous abandoned bridges in the world. Abandoned in 1938 by the Copper River & Northwestern Railway, it was converted to a vehicle bridge, but sustained major damage in the 1964 Alaskan earthquake.
It was repaired again in the mid-2000’s despite not being accessible via road, since the repair costs were actually cheaper than having the bridge dismantled. Had it collapsed, it could have triggered an environmental disaster, as salmon use the Copper River in their seasonal passages.
Dennis DeBruler It appears that since they paid to repair it, they decided to use it to build a road from Cordova, AK-10. But it soon stops at a "Winter Trail,", which I assume is a ice road.

CR&NR Blog: Start
CR&NR Blog: The "Million Dollar" Bridge

Mile 27:
CR&NR Blog: First Big Steel Bridge
Mile 145:  Joseph John Torregrossa provided two photos in comments on the share by Forgotten Railways, Roads, and Places.
There is another CR&NW railway bridge that has been converted to road use and is still in service to this day! Drove over it a few months ago
Joseph John Torregrossa And from what I’ve been told that guardrail is a relatively new addition.
1, cropped


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Logan Martin Dam near Alpine, AL


Photo from TooneCycling
[It amazes me that fish can go through the pentstock, scroll and turbine and still have enough energy to feed off a fisherman's line. Or does the turbulence attract fish from downstream?]
Fishing and Boating Safety Tips
Steve Robinson posted ten photos with the comment:
Alabama-Logan Martin Dam
Construction of Logan Martin Dam began in 1960 and quickly took on the monumental scale of an ancient wonder. Photos from Alabama Power’s Archive show hard-hatted workers dwarfed by gigantic intake pipes and turbine housings. Against the dam’s massive flanking earthworks, trucks and cranes seem like toys in a sandbox. Even a half-century later, these images can inspire awe at what it took to tame a river and turn pent-up water into electricity.
An annual festival and boat show at Pell City’s Lakeside Park. Named for former Alabama Attorney General Logan Martin (brother of longtime Alabama Power President Thomas Martin, for whom Lake Martin is named), the dam created a 48.5-mile-long reservoir 460 feet above sea level (465 in summer), with 275 miles of shoreline and an area of 15,263 acres. The dam is 459 river miles above Mobile. Its concrete section, longer than two football fields [612 feet], houses three turbines powering AC generators that produce more than 400 million kilowatt-hours per year.
Beyond hydropower, the dam provides flood control, economic development, irrigation and drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation. Flowing under the Interstate 20 bridge east of Pell City, the lake is a liquid interlude on the drive between Birmingham and Atlanta.
Motorists crossing that causeway have been known to feel a pang of envy at the sight of a fast-moving water-skier or a fisherman angling for bass.
Logan Martin was part of the second great phase of hydroelectric dam-building in Alabama. The first era, starting with Lay Dam (completed in 1914) and ending with Thurlow Dam (1930), gave us Lay, Jordan, Mitchell, and Martin lakes, among others. But after the early dams were built on the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, the Great Depression and World War II intervened.
The damming of the entire Coosa River had long been envisioned (in the 1870s, the first of many surveys authorized by Congress recommended no less than 34 dams and locks for the river). Finally, in June 1954, President Eisenhower signed into law legislation the U.S. House and Senate had approved almost unanimously, authorizing the transformation of the upper Coosa as proposed by Alabama Power. Logan Martin Dam was the second dam built under the project, which included the construction of Weiss, Henry, and Bouldin dams and the redevelopment of Lay Dam to increase its generating capacity.
A half-century is a long time, but older locals remember what the area was like before the waters rose. “I had family here and came here as a boy,” said Mike Riley, president of the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association. “This was a largely rural, agricultural community. The Coosa was a fast-moving river, not something you’d just jump into.”
It had flooded for generations, as noted by Native Americans who lived on the Coosa and observed that every 15 or 20 years the Coosa “overflow[s] the banks, and spreads itself for five and six miles in width.” [From “Rivers of History” by Harvey Jackson, p.2]
To clear the way for the lake, Alabama Power had to compensate people for property, cut down thousands of trees, and relocate more than 2,000 graves. The lake inundated the village of Easonville, established in 1821.
“I was a teenager when the lake came,” said Pell City resident Vicki Davis Mize. “We lived in Easonville, on what is now Harmons Island. My mother’s store was covered by the water but my father’s church was moved to higher ground.” This structure, Coosa Valley Baptist Church, now stands beside Highway 231.
“A lot of us were very sad to lose our homes,” Mize said. “But farmers who were struggling were better off after selling land to the power company.”
“From a P.R. standpoint, Logan Martin was a much easier sell than the earlier lakes,” said Harvey Jackson, a professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University who has written extensively on Alabama waterways. “By then, Alabama Power knew how to hash out the problems. People knew lakefront property was valuable and the lake benefited from its proximity to Birmingham. Because of the dams, the Coosa today is really more of an elongated lake than a river. They were built for electricity but have turned out to be one of the greatest recreational assets the state has.”
Pell City resident Carol Pappas has lived on Logan Martin for about 30 years. “The lake had the effect of growing the surrounding towns — Pell City, Talladega, Lincoln, Riverside, and others — and improving the local economy and housing. We have a lot of people in Georgia with lake homes here,” she said.
“I never pitched the community without highlighting the lake,” noted former Pell City Mayor Guin Robinson. “I can’t tell you how many lake cruises we’ve had with visitors thinking of relocating. You’re not just relocating a business, you’re moving families.”
Robinson and others say the higher quality of life and lower electrical rates fostered by the lake and dam helped attract the Honda plant to Lincoln. “People recognize that the town and the region would not be what they are today without Lake Logan Martin,” he said.
Pappas agrees. “The quality of life of lakeside living is extremely positive — it’s like being on vacation all the time.”
“If you’ve spent time on a lake, you know it’s therapy,” Robinson said. “It has a way of calling you home.”










What struck me about this dam is the height of the Tainter gates. They are about half the height of the dam itself.

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Friday, December 7, 2018

BRC served industries north of Clearing Yard.

There is so little carload traffic left that I wanted to capture this information of the industries that are still served by BRC on their mainline along Cicero Ave that went north from the east end of Clearing Yard. Satellite images are embedded throughout this posting.

We begin with this local that Nick describes.
Nick Hart posted
This BRC local out of Clearing Yard switches industries around the Chicago/Cicero border. It operates three days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) and is usually a late morning departure out of Clearing. It's two main customers that I know of are Charter Steel in Chicago, along with Best Foods, located less than a mile north of where this photo was taken. There's a few other industries that I don't know of. Anyone by chance know the names?
On this sunny afternoon, the train is headed back south to Clearing after switching Best Foods. Crossing the Cal Sag Channel and the BNSF Chillicothe Subdivision (former ATSF) at the location known as LeMoyne, the local has a BRC MP15AC in charge.
Chicago, IL
April 19th, 2018
Craig Cloud How often is the interchange track used?
Nick Hart Craig Cloud Not sure how often it's used, but I believe NS runs a few stacks to Landers Yard, utilizing that connection track.
Zaky Joseph That interchange track connects the BNSF (Santa Fe) junction yard with the BRC. They run stack train transfers to Norfolk Southerns Landers yard, as well as light power and transfer moves from BNSFs Corwith Yard to BNSFs Cicero yard, via the BRC.
Dennis DeBruler Zaky Joseph I'm glad to hear that at least some container traffic is interchanged using steel wheels instead of rubber wheels. (For my reference: message 01/23/09 18:42 in,1854347)
Dennis DeBruler Looking at the connectors at the former Santa Fe and CB&Q routes, it looks like the transfers would have to be a shoving move along the BRC. That would explain why they are building the Panhandle Project:
Zaky Joseph This job also switches home products, south of the CN diamonds at Lemoyne (I55 North of Cicero Ave). And north of Archer ave
Taylor Veldman This job also serves Unilever off of 31st
Ean Kahn-Treras Different name, but same spot as Unilever. 31st St indeed.

There is one other place just south of 47th Street that they serve. You can see 3 or 4 bay hoppers in the satellite view.

Ean Kahn-Treras It amazes me that the Brc couldnt wiggle away any of the former CRI trackage in the lemoyne industrial park before it was all left for dead. Lots of industrial warehouse space back in there now.
[Actually, the crossing is Nerska that was controlled by BRC's Lemoyne tower. Note the bridge in the background.]
4401 W Roosevelt
Charter Steel Trading started as a brokerage house in 1974. It expanded into warehouse and slitting slitting services in this facility at 4401 W Roosevelt Rd in Chicago.  We can tell by the curved tree line in the lower-left corner that some buildings in this area had rail service.
1600 S. Kostner
In 2011, they expanded into cut-to-length services with a second facility. We can see that this facility receives coils of steel in covered coil cars. If we follow this spur to the west, we see it branches from the middle of the remnants of BRC's 12th (22nd) Street Yard. This yard used to support a lot of industries off its 16th Street Branch.
Street View
They have changed their track layout since the most recent satellite image to use the south part of the building. It appears that Dow Chemical is using their property as a parking lot for trailers as well as cars.

Nick Hart posted
BRC MP15DC 150 makes a pick-up at Charter Steel, before heading south to Best Foods and Home Products. This is the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday local out of Clearing Yard. Most of the time, it runs with Geeps, so it was nice to see it operating with a switcher on this sunny afternoon.
*Note* Taken on private property, with permission obtained from Charter Steel staff.
Chicago, IL
April 24th, 2018
Zaky Joseph posted
BRC #237 switching at Charter Steel in Chicago with a little bit of street running. 11/21/18.
Zaky Joseph John DeWit Woodlock II it should run Tues, Thurs, and Sat, as long as there are steel cars to be picked up or dropped off there.

William L. Brushaber One correction, Best Foods at 2816 s.Kilbourn is in Chicago and this 77yr old was 1st introduced to railfaning in the'40's by my grandfather when the BRC still had steam. And my Suntimes paper route in 1955 was 28th St. ,Kilbourn and Kenneth st.. I also got to watch DiamondT trucks on the test track north of 28th St. where there is a Highschool now. The BRC is the border between Cicero and Chicago .

I don't know why, but Google offered two different images for the same URL. I'm saving both of them because they captured two different staging and spotting patterns.

By the diagonal (lower-left corner) and curved side (upper-middle) of buildings, you can see that a spur used to run all the way through the property to Kilburn Ave.

Later, when I was looking for an oil company, I found a satellite image that not only has a track past the curved building, there are two cars spotted at the curve. And Google labeled it Unilever Best Foods. I also are a lot more tanks on the property.
I'm back to the newer image, and a lot of the tanks have been removed. But they have built some new tanks down by an auxiliary building. I'm guessing the change is because they switched some receivables from rail to truck.

This job also serves Homz Products. Judging from the silos and covered hoppers, I'm guessing they receive plastic pellets. Browsing some of their products (e.g. seasonal), many of them are made with plastic.

Taylor Veldman This job also serves Unilever off of 31st.
Dennis DeBruler Is it BWAY now? It looks like their spur has been paved over.!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...


Ean Kahn-Treras It amazes me that the Brc couldnt wiggle away any of the former CRI trackage in the lemoyne industrial park before it was all left for dead. Lots of industrial warehouse space back in there now.
Dennis DeBruler Indeed, it is just east of their Lemoyne Yard.

The petroleum company is served by a different job.

By "north", I meant along the mainline that goes north to the former Milwaukee route. But another interpretation of north would be all of the rail-served industries that were along the north side of Clearing Yard.

Alliance Steel
Unfortunately, BRC is loosing another industry --- Alliance Steel.

Lucas Irons shared an InsideIndianaBusiness link.

David Jordan The Belt Railway of Chicago's 8002 Tariff lists Alliance Steel at 6499 W. 66TH Place in Bedford Park, which is close to the 65th Street address listed elsewhere.

Alliance Steel is moving to Gary, IN.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

WNYP/NS/Pennsy 1930 Bridge over Allegheny River in Oil City, PA

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Bridge & TunnelsHAERSatellite)

WNYP = Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad (leased from Norfolk Southern)

This bridge carried Pennsy's mainline between Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Most of that line has been abandoned, but one of the original two tracks that were on this bridge is still used by the WNYP.

Photo from HAER PA,61-OICI,2--2 from pa1273

July 1971. AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE II, ERIE RAILWAY SURVEY. - Pennsylvania Railroad, Allegheny River Bridge, River Street vicinity, Oil City, Venango County, PA

[It is Pennsy's roundhouse. Erie was on the other side of the river. My understanding of the comments on the following posting is that the modern building on this side of the old building was part of the shops building. The modern part was retained and repurposed as the Oil City Warehouse Mall.] 

Carl Venzke posted
Pennsylvania Railroad, Allegheny River Bridge, River Street vicinity, Oil City, Venango County, PA - photo by Jack Boucher c 1968
Rob Nichols Overheads show single tracked now with the line heading to the upper left now abandoned.
Rick Fleischer Just out of the picture, to the left, was the Pennsylvania Railroad's roundhouse at Oil City, Pa.
Joe Dunlap commented on Carl's posting
Still there.
[The satellite caught the river at a higher water level.]
George Ford Jr commented on Carl's posting
Francis Otterbein shared
Kim Hughes From what I've read Pittsburgh has the most bridges and Pennsylvania's right up there as a state. Beautiful picture thank you.
[Comments indicate that there used to be a double crossover when both tracks were intact. Someone wants to know how to model guard rails in a turnout on a bridge.]
Matt Marshall This side of oil city was the PRR, the Erie came up the other side of the river.
Thomas Jameson Hard fitting a railroad in those river valleys!

Dennis DeBruler commented on Francis' share
One advantage of roundhouses is that they leave a very distinctive land scar. Since railroads a reluctant to clean up their polluted ground, you can still see where many of the roundhouses stood.,-79.../data=!3m1!1e3
Matt Marshall The warehouse mall in the pic was part of the shops.

Chris Spear commented on Francis' share with a photo from RRPictureArchives of a steam engine coming off the bridge.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

1.1 Gigawatt Coal Creek Station near Underwood, ND


I was going to just post this photo as another tandem crane lift. But when I discovered that Coal Creek Station is a mine-mouth plant using lignite, uses a 436 mile DC transmission line to Minnesota, and uses the steam to make ethanol and corn oil; I decided it was worth further research.

Branden Kuck posted
2250s setting conveyer section. Lighting came out good so figured I would share. Local #49
Gerald Duysen Is this at Coal Creek Station?
Branden Kuck Gerald Duysen yes sir it is
The cranes above are building a conveyor that takes the coal from the Falkirk Mine to the power plant. This photo makes it obvious that it is a surface mine. More surprising, large draglines are still being used for mining. I wonder if they are still made
in America.

My 1928 RR Atlas shows that SOO ran through here, thus the rrWC label. The SWCE PDF file indicates the plants are now served by the Dakota Missouri Valley Western Railroad, thus the rrNew label.

This photo shows the conveyor belt with storage silos that goes from the Falkirk Mine to the power plant.
Bojidar93, Aug 2010
In 2009 they added a facility that uses waste heat to dry the lignite. This process also removes some of the impurities from the lignite creating a product they call DryFine. They burn this in their own two 550 Mw boilers and also ship it in covered hoppers to another combined heat and power plant. Waste heat is also used to dry corn from the fall harvest so that it can be stored in bins. Regular grain elevators have to burn a lot of natural gas to dry grain for storage. Farmers generally burn propane in their grain dryers.

Coal Creek scrubs mercury and other toxins as well as sulfur dioxide. Their scrubbing technique allows them to sell the fly ash to reduce the amount of cement needed to make concrete. So fly ash reduces the carbon footprint of making cement, a very energy intensive process.

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This is obviously the video they show before plant tours.
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(new window starting at 0:45) This video has talking heads, but the scenes of mining equipment in action makes listening to the "we take care of safety and the environment" worth tolerating. (source)