The following is from one of my visits to Lemont:
Note how the pilot house is setting on the body of the boat and that it is low enough to pass under swing bridges that no longer move and bridges that never got converted to lift bridges. But the top of the "stairwells to nowhere" at the front is the height of empty barges that it could be pushing. So the captain could not see the front of a tow very well. For this reason, the pilot house is mounted on vertical hydraulic rams that can be used to increase the height of the pilot house. On the left of the following tow that I caught while I was at the old Bear Trap Dam site is a pilot house in the raised position.
The following takes advantage of every pixel that was in the picture (that is, it is original-size).
Update: I caught the Mary C lowering its pilothouse in July, 2014.
|20140514 0020, camera resolution|
Sometimes on my way home from Joliet I revisit the 135th Street Bridge. As I started up the bridge, I saw that a tow was going upstream. So I raced (OK, trotted) up the bridge grabbing pictures as I went hoping it wouldn't get too far before I got to the top. Note that the tow had its bridge in its full, upright position.
Cropped even tighter.
I found a photo of each of Illinois Marine Towing's towboats. Note that all but two of them have variable height pilot houses. The small fixed height towboat works around Channahon, and the large one works between Lemont and Peoria.