Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PRR's South Branch Bridge Interlocking Tower

When researching the Canal Street RR Bridge, I learned that control of the bridge was transferred from the machinery building on top of the span to a "nearby interlocking tower." The building on the right in these photos is that interlocking tower. It controls the bridge and the signals regulating the crossing of the bridge. There was a larger tower southeast of this one that controlled the 21st Crossing.
Posted by Bill Molony on Facebook
Bill posted again
Pennsylvania Railroad Baldwin DR-6-4-2000 "Sharknose" #5786 departing from Chicago with PRR train #52, the Fort Pitt on July 4, 1949.
David Nelson April 27, 1947 - April 28, 1968.
Dennis DeBruler One of the better views I have seen of the bridge control tower.

Bob Lalich commented on a post
The cabin seen right of the tracks controlled the interlocking depicted in this drawing. I believe the bridge itself was controlled by an operator in the structure on top of the span.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Bob's comment
When built, it was controlled from a room in the shadows under the machinery house. But when I researched the bridge, I read that control was transferred to "a nearby interlocking tower." Unfortunately, I didn't note the source of that statement. I searched some references, but I was unable to find that statement again.

Thanks for confirming that the little tower was an interlocking tower.


Bill Molony posted on Facebook

Willam A. Shaffer posted
Amtrak E8A #201 (ex-B&O #1443) - Chicago, IL (Circa 1973)
(Photo by Mike Parafink - Collection of William A. Shaffer)
AMTK #201 is shown crossing the 21st Street Bridge in Chicago.
[
Note that we can see part of the bridge tender's shack. Also note the top signal head can display only the "red eye" aspect.]
Gordon Leonard posted
It's still Feb. 1976. We're still at The Bridge. Check out the damage at the lower right front. It hit something....!
Bjarne Henderson They ran fast and were a pleasure to work on from a service attendant's perspective. They had access doors near the food service area so you didn't need to schlep all your stuff from one end of the car or the other as you still have to do with Amfleet. Clearly, whoever designed the Turbocafe considered the needs of employees as well as the passengers. Too bad that they wore out too quickly compared to their peers.
[Note the signal heads are missing many positions because only slow speeds are indicated for crossing the bridge.]
Steven J. Brown posted
Amtrak International departs Chicago for Toronto at 21st Street - September 12, 1988. The International used to alternate VIA/Amtrak equipment every other day. VIA Rail F40PH-2 6407 was built in 1986).
Dennis DeBruler It shows the one-story bridge tower by the bridge and the interlocking tower a little to the east.

John Dziobko's 1962 photo shows the "red eye" head illuminated. A 1955 photo of a C&WI commuter train shows the "stop" head before it was converted to a "red eye."

Ride on TZPR-IMRR Peoria-Havana Pass. Special - Oct. 4, 2012

After the train leaves town, this video has many industrial scenes that I'll never be able to capture because they are from the perspective of railroad property. David Jordan posted this link on Facebook with the explanation:

I'm in Newark, New Jersey for the annual Lexington Group of Transportation History meeting. Three years ago, Lexingtonians met in Peoria. We had two inspection trips using an Iowa Interstate GP38-2, two ex-Montreal commuter coaches and business cars ABRAHAM LINCOLN and THE HAWKEYE.

The first trip took place October 4, 2012 with IAIS 707 manned by a Tazewell & Peoria RR crew from State Street in Peoria to Wesley Jct. from there to Havana and back, an Illinois & Midland crew ran the train. We wyed at Quiver Yard in Havana. A TZPR crew took the train from Wesley Jct. back to Peoria. Video lasts 13:33.

Schnabel Freight Car for Long/Heavy Loads.


John Coke posted in Facebook
John Cook explains:

WESTINGHOUSE CEBX 800 36-AXLE SCHNABEL CAR Renumbered WECX 800 

A Schnabel car is one which has two heavy lifting arms on independent trucks (bogies); when the inner ends of the arms are locked together and train lines connected, the two cars act as one. When the cars are separated and a monster load, usually a giant transformer or a nuclear reactor pressure vessel, is rigidly bolted between the arms, and the trainlines extended under or around the load and connected, the entire set of the two end cars and the load becomes one single car. The arms are hydraulically operated to lift the load to clear the railhead and to tilt and swing the load to compensate for track irregularities and to clear trackside obstacles. On tight turns, both arms can be moved outboard to move the load clear of signals or masts inside the curve. To load heavy objects directly from barges, a wye leads to tracks run along either side of the barge slip and the cars are separated and run down either side of the barge with the arms swung inboard at 45°; the load is swung around 45° on the barge and the arms are then dropped and bolted to the load. The load is then lifted, the set pulled back until the lead car clears the wye, the turnout thrown, and the set pulled further until second car clears the wye. At this point, idler cars, cars of spares and tools, passenger cars for the crew (or caboose-like rider cars) are usually added and the consist is ready for over-the-road travel. 

The load is called an "Upgrader." An upgrader is a facility that upgrades bitumen (extra heavy oil) into synthetic crude oil. Upgrader plants are typically located close to oil sands production.
Tom has many more pictures of WECX 800 and 801. The it can shift the load vertically 44" and offset the load 40" to either side of vertical.

John also posted a video as to how big tanks are trucked to their final destination. Note that there is one tractor-truck in the front to steer and four in the rear to push.

Update: I've come across several more pictures and a video of Schnabel cars. Dan Mackey has a  Flickr Album of Schnabel car views and some other heavy-duty flat cars. An article also has a link to this video plus more information on the car.



When they are travelling empty, the two halves are connected to each other. You can see the blue one is travelling with the caboose that carries the support crew. And that they can travel in a mixed freight train when empty.
Bryce Denny -> Freight Car Photos

John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads


Strong rectangle loads such as transformers are connected directly to both halves.

John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads


Other loads have a special deck or other equipment to fasten the halves and hold the load. Here are a couple of pictures of a car with an empty deck travelling in a mixed freight.

John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
This is a car with a deck carrying a load. Note that it has cabooses at both ends to also act a buffers. Via Facebook comments I confirmed that the Schnabel car and its support cars travel alone in a train when it has a load.

I saw a couple of more pictures that used steel tubes instead of a deck to hold the two halves and the load, but now I can't find them )-:

John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
I have noticed that the cars have variances in truck arrangement and control cab. This car has a rather big cab and 9 2-axle trucks for a total of 36 axles. The posting by Bryce above has 3-axle trucks at the front and back of the carriage and a couple of 2-axle trucks in between for a total of 20 axles. And it does not seem to have a control cab. So there is quite a variety of designs.
John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads
Update: John's comment:
There's only one railcar like it in the world, and it's the biggest of its breed. Having 36 axles and being 232 feet long and 370 tons with no load in the middle, and capable of being up to 345 feet long and 1250 tons with a load, there's no denying it's huge. The CEBX 800 Schnabel was built in 1980 by Krupp Industrie und Stahlbau (now part of Thyssen Krupp) for Combustion Engineering, hence the CEBX reporting marks. Its original purpose was to haul large heavy bits of nuclear power facilities for Combustion Engineering. More recently, the car has found work in the petroleum business, hauling a good number of huge refinery components around Canada, and for the last few weeks, hauling a 590-ton hydrotreater from the Port of Houston to the Suncor Refinery in Commerce City, CO (near Denver).
Daniel Oswalt Now it's WECX 800 owned by Westinghouse. It's been over in SC and Ga
For almost as year moving parts for VC Summer and Vogtle nuclear.


Top View Birds eye looking down of WECX 800 hauling 627 tons of steel to Vogtle Nuclear
RRPICTUREARCHIVES.NET
Edward Duke There is another one now also, WECX 801. It is actually bigger than this one by capacity.
Daniel Oswalt It got turned over EMPTY in Charlotte NC. Headed to Kasgro for repairs. Horrible welds they tried to do field repairs and X-ray them but they were too bad.



Third photo in posting
Another posting has 6 pictures including this closeup. It appears they carry spare trucks.

Video of 801 derailing. I recommend that you skip the video, but read the comment. The derailment was caused by something breaking in the car, not the track. Railroad Oddball Locomotives & M.O.W. Equipment comments indicate that the video is a year old and that the car was back on the road about a month later.
John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads 20 Axle Shiftable Railcar & caboose from Specialized Rail Transport.
John W. Coke -> Rail & Highway Heavy Loads If you access the link, you should be able to see more pictures.
A video, "Transformer (Jack & Slide)", shows the entire movement of a large transformer from ship to concrete pad. Note how the ship turns upright as it sets the transformer on a modular transport vehicle. Also not how they build the schnabel car in the railyard to receive the transformer.

A video. The comments are informative: "This train came from New Orleans and is heading to Port Huron, MI. It has a 25 mph maximum speed and cannot meet trains on a curve in a siding. Must meet on a straight section of track." This is the first time I have seen a covered hopper used as a buffer in front. Normally it is just a flatcar or toolcar.

Screenshot from a video
[Some people get suckered into cat videos. I'm a sucker for Schnabel videos. Although I did use the slider quite a bit on this one.] 
John W. Coke posted
Schnabel By Don Kalkman
Samuel Stokes shared Phil Hall's photo
And I thought my locomotives were huge. CN train 435 passes train L350 at Brampton,Ont. L350 was a special move for Hydro One. Because if L350's D9 status, the train must come to a stop if it to be passed by any other non dimensional train. The opposing train must move at 10 mph until clear of L350. The train started out in Hamilton,Ont and was forwarded to the CP Rail interchange at Oshawa, Ont. Tomorrow the CP will pick it up and move it to a location near Oshawa, where it will be offloaded to a low-boy trailer for movement to a Hydro One facility near by. The Schnabel car was built in 1974 by National Steel Car in Hamilton and was rebuilt in 2014.

Video of chasing a  train with both 800 and 801.

Samuel Stokes posted six pictures with the comment "A few from my own way back machine."

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Timothy Pitzen posted
[Note the vested employee on the bridge. Is he checking the track deflection? Some comments suggested he was holding the bridge up :-)]
Evidently the WECX 801 got into some trouble. I noticed this was back in 2014. John W. Coke posted three pictures with the comment "Damaged load arms of WECX 801."

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John W. Coke posted
Kasgro GE 25-ton Yard Goat leaving Kasgro Rundle Road Yard with WECX 801 Light w/o Arms
John W. Coke posted
WECX 801 Light w/o Arms
[This is one of five photos. I picked this one because I like the bridge as well. I'm guessing it is the Rockville Bridge.]

Tod Riebow posted

Tod Riebow posted
Keith Pokorny posted six photos at Rondout, IL of a move on the CP/Milwaukee. You can follow the link for the other five photos and his comments.

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John W. Coke posted three pictures with the comment: "An Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, the "J," EJ&E SW1001 #445 with Westinghouse Ca WECX 202."

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Fred Meyer posted six photos:

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Big transformers (260 ton) are a problem on roads as well:


John Lewis posted
A Schnabel car ... built to carry specialized loads, these things are monsters. 36 axles plus idler flats and waycars on either end, they are the ultimate in specialized equipment; they can shift the load up and left/right to clear trackside obstructions. The large cylindrical object and associated cars are at West Quincy Missouri on 31 Aug 10.
David Oswalt Jr. posted
Two Schnabels outrunning Hurricane Florence
[The one on the right has 36 axles.]
John W. Coke posted
Westinghouse Schnabel car WECX 202 with transformer load -- John Hill Collection
Merritt Burrus we still have several transformers in service that were likely transported by this car or others similar... they have the Schnabel car mounting eyes... all Westinghouse.
Merrett Burrus commented on John's posting
 Here's a good picture of one of them being moved (again).Pete White Read all about it in Seattle Times.https://www.seattletimes.com/.../talk-about-a-superload.../
John W. Coke posted
Load testing twenty axle schnabel car built for HLI Rail & Rigging by Kasgro.
Mark Everett Mike's train house has them in O scale I have one.
John commented on his post
John W. Coke posted two photos.
Merritt Burrus first new one in some time isnt it?
David Keown Merritt Burrus they built a clone of CEBX 800 last year or the year before that.
Greg Price WECX 801 (CEBX 800 Clone) was completed and delivered in 2012. It was sent back to Kasgro in 2014 with structural issues. During its return trip it was involved in a derailment. I don’t know that WECX 801 has ever returned to service.
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Chad Miller commented on John's post
Loaded the first turbine on it last fall. [Fall 2018]

John W. Coke shared
Hauling damaged Schnabel components.
John W. Coke posted
[Even empty, they are impressive looking. I could not find a link to this photo. But I did find another of John Doughty's Schnabel photos.]

Jown W. Coke posted
Bulgarian Railways - 20-axle Schnabel rail car.




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Train's article about 801, the world's largest railcar.

John Lewis posted a photo of a train in the West Quincy, MO yard in 2010. It had two cabooses as well as a big parts car. The comments indicated that it had come up the IHB to use the connection to BNSF/CB&Q.
Michael Matalis Yes, the day before the move west. The load was moved along the triple track at night because commuter fences had to be taken down along the way in order to clear.
Lance Wales Pretty sure I also shot this move coming out of Chicagoland on the Mendota Sub. The load was a cracking tower used in some refining process (oil?). Remember that it came from somewhere in Canada.
Paul Yelk John Lewis - Yes, the Schnabel car can shift it's load as much as 5 feet either direction: Up, down, left, or right. There are a lot of restrictions when there's a Schnabel car involved. Most of the time it requires a physical inspection of the route to identify all the potential obstacles especially those that have to be temporarily removed. More info here: http://southern.railfan.net/schnabel/schnabel.html I have the MTH o-gauge model of this car. It has 14 axles; is 26.5" long with the center piece installed and requires a circle of 6 feet in diameter (O-72). The full-size can be up to 36 axles and about 300 feet long!

[That link is a rabbit hole of really neat information. For example, on 800 I found a photo of the type of crane necessary to pick and place a big load. I'm glad he copied the photos because he has the same problem I have with source links, the PR departments of companies don't maintain the integrity of their URLs.
A photo of a train with two empty Schnabel cars.
"Ken also notes that there is a complete R.J. Corman derailment crew consisting of about a dozen 18-wheelers carrying the usual side-boom bulldozers and other equipment that is staying within an hour of the train all the way to Denver."
An engineer talks about moving the largest load in North America, 773 tons. Photos of another big crane.  I've noticed that a lot of these big loads start at an import dock because they were made in another country.
A railroad company's description of moving an even heavier load, 790 tons. The car can support 880 tons.
]

I don't understand this routing because I'm not familiar with the subdivisions, but I include it for those who are fluent in BNSFese.
Kevin Bristow Continue to Bucklin on the Brookfield sub transfer to Marceline Sub it was offset as it travel up the transfer track and we still had to remove switch stand to complete move. Sibley Bridge was the next obstacle with no problems crossing bridge. Train continue on trans con on the Emporia Sub.