Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PRR's Canal Street RR Bridge Interlocking Tower

Posted by Bill Molony on Facebook
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 much larger tower southeast of this one that controlled the 21st Crossing.
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.]

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:


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
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."

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."




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.


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



Fred Meyer posted six photos:






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.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cicero Central Railroad

Edward Kwiatkowski posted
(Shortlines) Ed's comment:

Chicago's newest shortline railroad the Cicero Central.
Owned by Watco Incorporated, this terminal railroad is
approximately one mile long, operating south of West
39th Street / Pershing Road...between South Cicero
and Central Avenues, utilizing a portion of the CN's
former Illinois Central / Chicago & Illinois Western
Railroad branch line.
This railroad mainly switches the Koppers Chemical Refinery in west suburban Cicero Illinois.
Ed also has this and some more pictures on Flickr. Ed's comment said CERR owns the railroad. Actually, it is leasing it from CN. (WATCO) I assume it has trackage rights on the CN track that goes north to Hawthorne Junction to interchange with CN's east/west mainline. But it has to use what was Manufacturer's Junction trackage to do that interchange. OmniTrax still says it owns that part.

It is a Class III railroad because it projects that its annual income will be less than $5 million. (Office of the Federal Register [US]) Progressive Railroading has some PR statements from the press release. I wonder who switches the other industries that is on the CERR line, including the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant.

Fortunately, Doug Kaniuk's Facebook posting is in a public group, so I have removed the copy I had made because you should be able to follow the link and see the comments that have been added. In particular, Doug now has a web posting.

Update: answers in this posting are of interest:
Jacob Metzger Koppers is served by Cicero Central, a Watco property. Two WSOR MP15's for power.
Ele is served by CN, and then the other tracks that lead to the massive concrete pools are Chicago Sanitary District.

Ramon Rhodes The ex-SF McCook industrial branch which served UOP, US Ink, Pielet Bros., Akzo-Nobel chemical, and US Cold Storage has been pulled up and the chemical plant was closed and demolished.

Edward Kwiatkowski posted
The Cicero Central Railroad at work, switching
the Koppers Chemical Company.
Stickney Illinois. August 2017Doug Kaniuk info:
Joe Usselman posted
A couple Cicero Central MP15's in WSOR paint shoving some tank cars around a little known area in Stickney on the old Chicago & Illinois Western last year.
John Morelli Yeah we took over for CN(I work for the CERR/watco) the rumor is that CN was breaking too many rules on koppers property. I have a feeling it’s just bc watco is cheaper to contract out for switching than CN.John Gardner I used to switch koppers when i was working for cn
It was a crappy switch
John Morelli yeah it’s pretty shitty location to switch cars and our lists from koppers make no sense how they want it spotted. But it’s a good place to get your feet wet in the railroad industry learning how to switch cars around all day.