Saturday, May 24, 2014

Variable Height (Retractable) Pilothouses

(Update: I learned in July 2018 that the correct term is "retractable pilothouse." But I'm not going to spend time fixing all of my old posts because Google broke the author's search function on April 3, 2018, so the value of consistent terminology for use in a search has become worthless. But starting with July 2018 posts, I use "retractable pilothouse.")

The following is from one of my visits to Lemont:

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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.

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While on the Lemont's High Road Bridge, I caught a towboat running light. I was rushed to get it before it went behind the sand pile. It looks like I did not hold the camera very steady.

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.

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Upbound on the Des Plaines River in Joliet between Jackson Street and Ruby Street Bridges --- Sydney Reese. The largest of Ozinga's Middle River Marine's four towboats: 73'x20', 1200hp. Built in 1965. [BoatDB] (Their web page is out of date. They now have a 77' 2000hp retractable-pilothouse with Z-drives named Kamryn Olivia stationed in Mokena, IL. (But Mokena does not have a waterway!) [WaterwaysJournal]) (Update: MWRD video of Sydney pushing three ACL barges.)
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Cropped even tighter.

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While I was at McDonough Street Bridge, I caught part of a towboat through a fence. It turned out it was the Sydney Reese, and a closeup (below) gives us a good view of the hydraulic ram that raises and lowers the pilothouse.

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.

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