Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Louisville and Indiana Railroad

LIRC
The Louisville and Indiana Railroad (LIRC) was formed in March 1994 when Conrail was chopped up by NS and CSX. On the south side, in its headquarter town of Jeffersonville, IN, it crosses the Ohio River bridge and serves one of the Ports of Indiana.

The LIRC route began as two railroads: "the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, which started business in 1838; and the Jeffersonville Railroad, which began operating in 1850. The railroads merged in 1866 and later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad." (ProgressiveRailroading)

A Sept. 2013 Progressive Railroading article reports a "South Wind" project in which CSX would pay almost $100 million dollars to upgrade the line to accommodate 286,000-pound rail cars, as well as double-stack and high-cube equipment that is 20' 2" high. CSX wants to use this route because their Cincinnati-Louisville route "was nearing capacity, and the grades and curvature on the route constrained train lengths, tonnages and operating speeds. It wasn't practical to upgrade the route, CSX officials concluded. But upgrading the LIRC would be, they believed."

But their system map does not show trackage rights over this route. I found a July 2014 article that indicates the Surface Transportation Board was still studying the plan. The LIRC had spent $1.3 million to rebuild crossings so that it can run trains at 30 mph instead of 10 mph. The plan is being held up by John Drybread, Edinburgh's utility director, because the number of trains would increase from 6 to 15. But South Wind would increase train speeds from 25 to 45 mph. Increasing the speed offsets the increased number of trains in terms of total delay. And it about halves the wait time for a train. Since Downers Grove sees about 80 trains a day, I can tell you that if you are sitting in a car or an ambulance, it is the wait time for a train, not the number of trains, that John should be looking at. The train speeds in Downers were restricted last summer because of a station construction project and the longer wait times were noticeable as bigger traffic backups. The STB should require that CSX installs signaling equipment that is good enough to allow Edinburgh to be a "quite zone" and then allow the project to proceed. Again, my experience with the 5 grade crossings in Downers is that freight trains are not the problem, it is the commuter trains during the rush hour that cause more significant traffic backups.

The locomotive roster is a museum even by shortline standards. Their newest locomotives are GP38-2s. I've spotted at least 3 different paint schemes. But the photos on their home page use Tuscon Red. I like that the color and their logo is a nod to their Pennsylvania RR heritage.

I notice that the route goes through Columbus, IN, but Cummins is not one of the customers listed on their site unless the Cummins plant is in Walesboro Industrial Park. But the customer list must not be complete because I saw reference to sugar as a cargo used by Hershey. Yet Hershey was not on the list.


Update: A Flickr photo of their green and yellow livery.
Lukas Irons posted
Everything old is new again, including a revamped railyard, all five tracks of it in Jeffersonville Indiana. The Louisville and Indiana Railroads new transload facility is all finished. Dutch Lane Yard has already attracted Lubrizol to the area and products will be transloaded here along with steel and other things.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Dawn, 4/6/16. Louisville & Indiana 22006 2003 in the Jeffersonville, In. yard.
CSX got approval to upgrade L&I track and bridges with $100 million on April 10, 2015. Found this link in a posting by Scott Nauert with the comment:
This CANNOT be good news for CSX's now-dead Illinois Sub between East STL and Olney.. The government gave the highball to CSX to upgrade and re-route major traffic over the L&I between Indy and Louisville, making the Illinois Sub even more redundant, considering UP interchange traffic destined for the south and east has to be processed at Avon anyway.

Photo by Douglas Weitzman, 8/28/2016
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
The Roundel is honoring Indiana's 200th year.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Transloading Coal to Barges

While researching coal mining in Kentucky, I came across a coal transloading facility.

Alliance Resource Partners
The caption for the picture on the Alliance Resource Partners page is:
The Mt. Vernon Transfer Terminal is a coal-loading terminal on the Ohio River at Mt. Vernon, Indiana. Coal is delivered to Mt. Vernon by both rail and truck. The terminal has a capacity of 8 million tons per year with existing ground storage. Mt. Vernon is capable of receiving and unloading 105-car unit trains of coal via EVWR (with direct connections to the majority of Class I railroads) that can transfer to ground storage and/or direct to barge(s). 

Satellite
An overview satellite image shows the loop of track that is used to receive and unload unit trains. Zooming into the loading dock confirms this is the facility in the above photo.

Satellite


Satellite
















The terminal on the left is a cement terminal.











While studying smoke plumes, I discovered another coal transloading facility upstream from the Mt. Vernon facility. You can tell it has been constructed rather recently because none of the map sites I have gone to show the railroad tracks in the road map view. And Bing's satellite shows it still being constructed. As usual, the Google map is more up to date and shows the completed facility.

M-60 Tank

20140916 0028
The city park in Grayville, IL has a M-60 tank.




Trash Containers


20150112-15 0101
This photo was from the mixed freight train I saw Jan 15. I learned from Ramon Rhodes in the "BNSF Historical and Modeling Society" Facebook group that these 20-foot containers are for hauling solid municipal waste and coal plant residual fly ash. Unfortunately, I had a brain burp and I did not cross over to the sunny side to take pictures of the freight. But the dark sides are still readable.

Update: I noticed another "trash car" in my picture of the Frankfort, IN, coaling tower.

20140829-30 0001c
Photo by Ramon Rhodes, used with permission
Ramon posted that BNSF runs a double-stack trash train out of Seattle Washington on a daily basis. He explains: "The trash containers are more ruggedly built than standard shipping containers of similar lengths. They also have soft roll-back tops."
Photo from Mike Matalis, used with permission
Update: while looking through Mike's blog for pictures of removing the old signal equipment at Forest Avenue, I came across this photo of a lot of trash cars running eastbound on the BNSF/CB&Q "Racetrack."
Jerry M Murphy posted
Jerry's comment:
This is for anyone that had to switch these damn things!! For Freight Car Friday, I give you trash containers on spine cars on the RF&P at Doswell, VA. They smell horrible, and, after raining, and you are switching these, don't, under any circumstances, stand anywhere near them when you are coupling them!! It doesn't matter how easy you try, they shaking throws that pooled up water in the tarps out, and all over the place, YUCK!!

William Frederick added "Baltimore had the "poo poo choo choo". That was a real prize to shift."

20150510 1316
Screenshot
Jeffery Boan posted
Trash Containers Trans Load Gets For Midwest Waste


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Racetrack: the trains would not stop!

Update: the mixed freight was hauling trash containers.
Update: all of the pictures I took are now available in my reference blog.

On January15, 2014, on the way back from a field trip to Lemont, I swung past the Library in Downers Grove. I could not find a parking spot, so I continued north on the Forest Avenue crossing of the BNSF/CB&Q. As I crossed the tracks, I checked for headlights. I saw one to the west so I turned on Warren Avenue and, to my surprise, easily found a parking spot on the street. I quickly parked the car and hustled back to the crossing. It turns out that even when you can see a headlight, the train can be rather far away. I did not have to hustle. After that train passed, I saw another headlight so I waited for that train. Then after that train left, I saw another headlight, etc. This is a summary of the trains I saw (all of the times are PM):

3:12: eastbound grain train, BNSF 4956 (C44-9W, 1998) 67?4 (ES44C4, 2011) and a DPU of 5402 (C44-9W, 2000)
3:17: westbound mixed freight, BNSF 6761 (ES44C4, 2011) 4831 (C44-9W, 1998)
3:21: eastbound light (no freight cars): BNSF 5229 (C44-9W, 2002) 7174 (ES44C4) 1887 (SD40-2, was ATSF 5110)
3:25: westbound Amtrak Zepher with two engines, 89 & 155. I'm not a good enough foamer to tell if this Zepher was going to Los Angles or San Fransisco.

There was yet another headlight to the east, but I did not stick around for it because it was a commuter and I wanted to get home. But it arrived while I was still on Warren Avenue. And then while I was waiting at the stop light to turn north on Main Street, an eastbound oil train came through. When the light turned green, I did an illegal lane change (no was other traffic) and ducked into the passenger pickup to take pictures through the car window. I missed the number on the first unit by about 5 feet.

3:28: westbound commuter, Metra 117.
3:31: eastbound unit oil train, BNSF ? 9607 (SD70MAC, 1995-96) 4130 (C44-9W, 2002). The tank cars had safety shields.

The Diesel Shop now includes "built" info for many of the locomotives. So I included the year in the above summary. I noticed that since 1998 every locomotive was built by GE.

I took 112 pictures because I took pictures of all the cars in the mixed freight train and many pictures of the engines. But I'm going to include very few pictures because I learned why railfans don't take pictures from the Forest Street crossing --- shadows. And because all but two of the engines were boring BNSF pumpkins. I include pictures of the EMD antique, 1887, basically as a reminder to myself about the "shadow problem."















Just because railfans make taking pictures of engines look easy, does not mean it is easy.

The other EMD, 9607, is also of interest because of the paint scheme. So I include it even though it was a "grab shot" from the dark side . I believe this grey version is called the Executive paint scheme.

And I include pictures of the Amtrak train when it was not much more then a headlight (3:22:02) and when it arrived (3:25:52) to record how long it takes for a headlight to turn into a train. Also note in the headlight shot that you can see the "light" train leaving town.

3:22:02

3:25:52














I took "headlight shots" of the trains to record how close they were after the previous train had passed the crossing. In this shot of the westbound mixed freight, I zoomed in to verify that the train is crossing over from M3 to M1 but the gates at Washington are not down yet. I'm glad to report I did not see any false gate closings while I was taking pictures. But my wife told me that when she came home from the post office that the oil train caught her. And the gates for Washington and Main stayed down for about 30 seconds after the train had passed even though the gates for Forest went up as soon as the train passed. She confirmed there were no other trains in sight while the gates stayed down. So the new signalling equipment has invented a new failure mode.










The grain train consisted mostly of BNSF hoppers with two different paint schemes. In fact, the first two cars after the engine represented the two paint schemes --- the "shish" and the "cross." The picture also taught me that you can have too much sun.


I took pictures of the non-BNSF cars. There were 6 of them --- AOK (brown), SMW, AOK (light grey), SMW, light grey with reporting marks cut off, and SMW. I include one of the SMW cars because I could not find the reporting mark in about five lists that I looked in, including a .gov list. AOK is Arkansas-Oklahoma RR.

In the mixed freight train I spotted six BN covered hoppers and two Santa Fe covered hoppers, none of which were renumbered to BNSF reporting marks. Three of those hoppers were 2-bay hoppers, and this is the first time I have seen 2-bay hoppers with the predecessor reporting marks. We begin with four 3-bay hoppers. It is typical that they have the predecessor reporting marks.


Below, I include two views of the same car. I think this is a 2-bay hopper. This is the first 2-bay covered hopper that I have seen that has NOT been renumbered for BNSF.




And soon afterwards, I saw the second 2-bay hopper that had not been renumbered.



An unnumbered 3-bay hopper, which is typical.








 

But then a third unnumbered 2-bay hopper.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Round Barn

My wife drove the stretch of IL-130 from Olney, IL, to Newton so that I could get pictures of an abandoned interurban right-of-way. She kept driving so I was able to get a picture of the round barn that is along IL-130 north of Newton.

20150119 0153

Fortunately, since there was no foreground brush, the camera was able to quickly lock a focus and my closeup picture from which the above was cropped came out OK. And it was sunny enough so that the shutter speed was fast enough that I did not have any blur even though I took this picture at highway speeds. I did roll down the window before I took the pictures. I include the first picture I took to provide context.


Facebooked


4H-fairgrounds in Greentown, IN.


Add caption
While driving south of Springfield on I-55 I grabbed this photo. Unfortunately the metal roof on top is reflecting the white clouds it is blending in with. But considering I snapped this at highway speeds, I'm lucky the focus locked and the glare off the window is not too bad. Knowing approximately where it was, I was able to find it on Google. (Facebooked)

Oversize Load

When I drove home Jan 19, 2015, I planned to stop in Gilman, IL, to get pictures from the east side of the coaling tower that is still north of the town.
20150119 0156
When I was on the ramp, I was able to get a picture of the oversize load I saw go across the bridge. When I saw the load on the bridge, I was too chicken to try to get the camera out of the case at interstate speeds. But when I got on the the ramp, I saw that it was going slow enough that I was able to grab a picture. Note that the rear of the steel frame holding the load is supported by a carriage that has six axles or 24 wheels.

Most of the front carriage is blocked by the load. But I believe the back of the front carriage is like the rear carriage --- 3 axles. And the front of the front carriage is a tongue that transfers weight to the 3 axles of the tractor. A normal big rig is sometimes referred to as an 18-wheeler, 10 wheels for the tractor and 8 wheels for the load. In this case, we have a 50-wheeler; 14 wheels for the tractor and 36 wheels for the load.

I was able to get plenty of shots because the traffic was stop and go on US-24 because this rig was turning into a Mobil filling station. I happened to be stuck behind a grain truck so I deliberately took a shot of the rig turning that included a closeup of the grain truck. Evidently the turrets for the two carriages have equipment so that the turning angle of the rear carriage mirrors the angle of the front carriage.



Really big loads like this one require two escort vehicles. On the highway, one would be in front and the other would be in the back. They both have two red flags and flashing yellow lights.


I always wondered why there was a vehicle in the front. Then I got an answer one time in Louisville, KY,  when I was coming off the I-65 Ohio River bridge and taking ramps to get on I-71. I merged in behind an oversize load that was wider than the 12-foot lanes. Before it came to a curve that did not have a wide enough shoulder to hold the overhang of the load, the rear escort moved into the right lane and blocked traffic so that the load could use two lanes to go around the curve. So a function of the front escort is to spot trouble spots and radio them back to the crew so that the rear escort can block traffic and the driver knows he is going to have to leave his lane. Another function of the front vehicle is that it stopped traffic in the oncoming lane so that the rig could make a left-hand turn.


I've never seen the front escort have a tower mounted on it to verify bridge clearances. We can see by the awning of the filling station that the industry does have clearance standards and this load was carefully designed to (just) fit under that standard.

John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
Update: Note that the truck looks European. I have noticed that the pictures of really big road hauls tend to be in Europe, not the USA. Imagine how big the wind turbine is that has this for one of its blades.

Roy Walters posted
Thanks to my Son for invite to this page! We have the perfect trl built to move the Manitowoc 18000 & 16000. We've put smaller ones on it too, but anyone need one moved, we can do it fast & safer than a RGN. We have large RGNs, but this step is made for these Houses!
[Unfortunately, I don't know what a "RGN" is.]
Jeff Turner posted
November 1957
Bill Edrington It would have been something to see this go through "The Hole" at Panama. I was 3 years old at the time, and can remember NKP trains going through the area about that far back, but I sure didn't see this one.
Ben Stalvey posted
Manitowoc on the move. The good old Hake Manitowoc Transporter
[Now they use modular trailer technology for big loads, but before they were developed they used the tracks of crawler cranes.]
A comment on the above posting. The comments have several other photos.
[The front of the right-hand transporter is close to the rear of the left-hand transporter.]

Ruben Calderon posted three photos with the comment: "Moving our Manitowoc 21000 last week....all 8 tracks, swivel, carbody, wide strut frames and upper super structure with the lower counterweights!"

1

2

3
Steve Kraus commented on Bob's posting
[Moving the bottom part of Nickle Plate 624 from Hammond, IN to a restoration facility. The boiler had already been loaded and moved.]
BNSF, cropped
Designed by Mammoet, a leader in the heavy lifting and heavy transport industry, this is one of the world’s largest module cranes. It is so large that it takes two months to build and another two months to disassemble. The crane's boom length alone is 587 feet – twice the height of the Statue of Liberty. The 4,000-ton crane was transported in nearly 200 20- and 40-foot intermodal units, including flat racks, open top/side containers and closed containers. All of the containers were engineered to carry a specific component of the crane and can handle weights in excess of traditional intermodal containers. Some of the 40-foot sections of the crane superstructure can actually double as open containers during transport. Most of the containers were transported in intermodal well cars, although some required heavy-duty flat cars.



A Facebook posting with quite a few more photos of hauling the "guts" of a crane.

A Facebook posting of twelve photos of big, steel bridge beams being hauled on the highway.

A Facebook posting of IC transporting nuclear reactor parts from Havana to Clinton.