Tuesday, May 31, 2016

J. I. Case Steam Tractor Under Load

Screenshot from video
It is one thing to see a steam tractor running around a farm show with no load, it is another to hear it pulling a heavy load. They added a little engine and hydraulic pump to a 6-bottom moldboard plow to provide a load worthy of the horsepower and traction of this tractor. In addition to someone riding the plow to raise and lower it, note the tractor has a second rider. I presume he is the fireman. Also note how many times the driver has to turn the steering wheel to pivot the front axle with the chains. Part of the problem is that there is a lot of slack in the steering chains.

Rock Island over Rock River in Milan, IL

(Bridge Hunter NorthJohn Marvig North, 3D Satellite North,
  Bridge Hunter SouthJohn Marvig South, 3D Satellite South)

In 1894 these six steel lattice trusses were used to build the bridge across the Sylvan Slough. They were moved here in 1930 when the slough bridge was replaced with a steel girder bridge.

Bridge Hunter North
This photo is from September 25, 1915 as was used by the Rock Island Southern Railroad.

Both bridges have three lattice trusses, so I can't use the number of trusses to determine which bridge this is. But in order to get a low sun to lineup with the bridge, I'm guessing this is the north bridge.

Jeff McDowell posted
CRI&P Vandruff Island Railroad Bridge

MWRD: O'Brian WRP Adds Disinfection

MWRD posted
I wonder if this was the construction at the O'Brian Water Reclamation Plant that caused the "L" embankment to cave in and stop service on the CTA Yellow Line for almost a half-year.
Upon completion, the UV disinfection system is now the largest water treatment UV installation in the world, having the potential to treat 450 million gallons of water per day, using 896 lamps that provide a low pressure, high output performance....Between last year’s disinfection upgrades implemented at Calumet WRP, the MWRD now has a system in place that will dramatically improve the quality of water throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System, while protecting the region’s drinking water supply in Lake Michigan. (MWRD posting)
Tribune article. If it dramatically improves the quality of water, then why did they keep telling the EPA for so long that it is not needed? And does their largest plant, Stickney, have this treatment yet? I noticed it was conspicuously missing when they mentioned the Calumet plant. The answer is no.

Update: when I toured the Stickney plant, I learned the bacteria die within three miles anyhow. Since they dump their effluent into an industrial canal that has very little recreational (canoe and kayak) traffic, there are no plans to disinfect its output.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

PRR & NYC Lift Bridges over Calumet River

20160521 3284rc, view from the North
(Satellite; Historic Bridges; Bridge Hunter: NYC, PRR)

I'm doing both railroads in the same post because you can't take a picture of one without taking a picture of the other. Also they were all built in 1912 and designed by Waddell and Harrington. (Historic Bridges)

The two bridges in the up position were NYC/Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. The bridge in the down position is one of the two PRR/Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago bridges that used to be here and is now Norfolk Southern. The "metal sculpture" on the right is the remnants of a B&O bridge. The cantilever truss in the background is the I-90 Skyway Bridge. (We will see better views of the Skyway later.)

View from the Northeast
Fortunately, the gate of  the South Chicago & Indiana Harbor (see sign below) was open so that I could get a shot without a chain-link fence in the photo.

Unfortunately, it forced me to use an angle that placed a power-line tower right in front of the NS/PRR bridge. By the way, when I first arrived, by the time I parked my van and had walked to the sidewalk, a security guard was on his way to meet me. I told him I was interested in pictures of the bridges. I verified he would not let me go on the property. And he did not offer to escort me. That is why all of my pictures are from the public sidewalk.

You can clearly see the gap between the PRR bridge and the two NYC bridges that was created when the second PRR bridge was removed in 1965 (Historic Bridges). I still can't find why they chose to remove one of three unused bridges. And why not leave a second bridge connected to the rail system so that they can do repairs on the first bridge without shutting down a major rail corridor? Even though all of the steel mills are gone and the river is no longer used for iron ore, it still sees at least big Laker Boats for grain.

I went back to the van to get the telephoto lens, but I'm still stuck with the tower and some trees blocking the view.
I did take a through-the-chain-link picture to get another angle. Another reason for this picture is to catch two of the classic industrial buildings of the SC&IH. The building on the right is the one that has the above MITTAL sign.

I took another picture from the 95th Street Bridge because it had an oil train that adds scale. I missed the locomotives because when they arrived I did not have a clear shot. I think it was BNSF power on this NS track. Fortunately, the train was slow and long enough that I was able to get to the 95th Street  Bridge while the tankers were still rolling across it.

Because of this fried fish food takeout, it is easy to find a legal parking space just west of the 95th Street Bridge.

Obviously, they smoke their fish themselves. They did a very brisk business the entire time I was there. Of course, it was the first weekend in May with decent weather, which is why I was out also.

I got gutsy and did a little trespassing up an access road. Now that I see the bridges are obscured by power poles and a little tree, the next time I visit this area, I'm going to get gutsier and go up to where the road curves. That would be the old B&O RoW. But this is a good view of the Skyway and the gap caused by the removed PRR bridge.

J Robert Burger posted a view from the Skyway and from the East.

Patrick McDonnel commented on the Skyway posting
Should say it's not mine. Photographer is @MonkOne on Instagram. He's a Chicago Urbexer
[This is the inside of the building on top of the lift span.]
Gabe Argenta's comment on the Skyway posting still shows the Falstaff brewery. Update: this is not the Falstaff brewery. That was further east. I'm still trying to find the name for this facility.
Joe Usselman posted
A pair of former Conrail dash 8's lead a train onto the BRC at Rock Island Junction in 2010.
Scott Griffith posted
[Looking East. You can also see the B&OCT Bridge on the left and the Skyway on the right.]
Steven J. Brown posted
The Amtrak Broadway Limited rolls through South Chicago with AB, AB sets of "E's"! 427 was built in 1955 as UP 953.
[I commented that I was surprised the second Penn bridge had already been taken down by 1977.]
Terry Falduto Taken down in the mid-1960s I think
[When Steven posted it again, I noticed that the B&O Bridge has yet to be hit by the boat.]
Christine Douglas posted
The ATB Tug G. L. Ostrander/Barge Integrity outbound on the Calumet River in the Port of Chicago 28 May 2017 heading to Alpena, MI
Rod Truszkowski posted
Ted Gregory Awesome pics Rod! when did they tear out the 4th drawbridge at today's CP 509? hardly ever see a pic with all 4 bridges...
Rod Truszkowski Back when NYC and PRR merged as they were tearing one down it fell into river block boat traffic and killed a few men
Note the bridge tower. I can tell by the B&O Strauss bascule bridge on the right that we are looking at the east side. ]
Dennis DeBruler commented on Rod's posting
The gasometer that we see to the left of the bridges is looking pretty full.

An outbound Dimitrios K with a cargo of grain assisted by two G-Tugs.

A closeup of the tops of two of the bridges.

Arturo Gross posted a 1998 Flickr photo with the comment: "Conrail C40-8W 6077 leads an eastbound off the BRC across the Calumet River bridge on Chicago's southeast side Aug 1998." The photo includes a signalling bridge over the four track mainline that uses Pennsy's Position Light signal heads. The angle is shallow enough for the left two heads that you can see they use the "red eye."
Mark Bilecki Sr. Nice shot, just north of Colhour yard in Hammond
Steven W Panek CP 509 to be exact

Arturo Gross Flickr 2017 Photo with BNSF locos pulling an e/b coal train.

Arturo Gross Flickr 1995 Photo shot from under the skyway.
John Smatlak Flickr 1986 Photo from the same vantage point but with a scrap yard in operation.

Ted Gregory posted a photo of a ship going under the raised bridges.
Rod Truszkowski I was csl until 96 then crl till I retired 4 years ago. The bridge and track was to be sold to the csl the president of the csl was hemming and hawing that night the bridge was raised to let a boat thru somehow it wasn't raised high enough and the boats bridge caught the b&o bridge. The story was because the bridge tenders were going to loose their jobs they may have been a little miffed. The bottom line is the csl was paying only 500,000 for the bridge it was insured for 2,000,000. Someone screwed up on that one .
Rod Truszkowski Now if you noticed one of the spans for the PRR is missing. They were going to remove 3 spans across the river in the 50's. During the removal of the first one it collapsed blocking boat traffic for some time. Also men were killed and injured so they said raise the other to and left them that way.
Dennis DeBruler I would also guess that they are all owned by NS. Conrail went from 8 tracks to 2. Now taxpayers are being asked to add back a third in Indiana and west of Grand Crossing.
Ted Gregory They already have. Triple track and new interlockings added from around Chesterton to the IL state line. Clark Rd Crossing now has 3 NS mains in addition to all the CSX and CN tracks
Dennis DeBruler Rod Truszkowski, I had to wait until I got back to my maps to check a detail. I read a Facebook comment that the freight cars were split according to the reporting mark on them. If I remember correctly, NS got the NYC cars and CSX got the Pennsy cars. But the routes were not split according to former NYC vs. Pennsy ownership. For example, CSX got the NYC water level route (Lake Shore & Michigan Southern) east of Cleveland, but NS got it to the west. This is because NS's NKP parallels the NYC east of Cleveland. Then, as Ted mentioned, NS switched from NYC to Pennsy just after it entered Illinois. NS got the Pennsy's main east of Crestline, OH, but CSX got it west of Crestline. CSX then dumped their part on the new Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern. When I studied the history of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, & Chicago, I noticed that Crestline was a boundary between two railroads: Ohio & Pennsylvania and Ohio & Indiana. (The Fort Wayne & Chicago was the third railroad chartered to make a connection between Pittsburgh and Chicago.) It is interesting how corporations charted in the mid 1800s helped determine the segments that got split between NS and CSX. http://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../prrs-pittsburgh...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rock Island's Blue Island Tower

William Shapotkin posted four photos with the comment:
W/B ROCK Psgr train #7 passing the (old) Blue Island (IL) tower. Photo taken by the late Don Davis on May 6, 1962 just before the tower was closed. View looks north (timetable E/B).
Also included are views of the model board (viewed left-to-right). Again taken by the late Don Davis on May 6, 1962.

Jon Roma Believe it or not, I had never seen pictures of the old Blue Island Tower. The model board looks like a home-made affair, which was pretty common on the Rock Island.



Mark Llanuza posted three photos with the comment:
Ken Connolly one of the last Rock Island tower man employees still works at Blue Island tower .He started in 1972 was laid off when the Rock shut down but was hired back by the RTA in 1980 still works at Blue Island for Metra.


Mark Llanuza posted two photos with the comment: "Its 1978 were at Blue Island IL with light power heading to Rockdale to pick up a train with four E-units .The tower to the left kind of still looks the same inside today."



I'm still researching where the tower stood in 1938.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Field Tillage: Disks

Disks had a set of curved steel wheels mounted on a shaft called a gang. Each gang was mounted at about 22-degrees. I checked all three vintages that I post here and the front gangs pushed the soil out while the back gangs pushed it back in.

Rylan L. Carr posted
This unit is representative of the technology in the middle of the 20th century. Each wheel had a "paddle" on the back side to scrape of any soil sticking to the wheel.
20141013 0017
John Jasiulevicius posted
A an obviously older unit that hasn't been used for a while.
The reason for the trays on top was to hold rocks so that the weight would help push the disks into the ground. Note that the edge of the field provides plenty of rocks to use. That poor farmer was like my Grandfather --- after he started working another farm, plowing was slow because he spent a lot of his time carrying away rocks that the plow had hit. And evidently freeze-thaw cycles would push more rocks towards the surface because it took a few years before he got the fields clean of rocks.

John Deere 2625 taken from a brochure
Tractors and fields grew bigger, so disks grew bigger. The frames grew bigger to keep the shafts on an angle. But the roads did not grow bigger. So a significant aspect of disk design became the use of hydraulic rams to fold the frame for transport.

Taken from a John Deere brochure
Video of a 10' IHC double-action disk. Modern JD video teaches that ground temperature needs to be above 50 degrees before 9am before corn can be planted. A better one because it shows unfolding. This disking is before fertilizing to smooth out the chiseled bean field and the previous one was to disk the fertilizer in and make it really smooth for the corn planter.

Here is a series of pictures I took of a disk at the John Deere dealer where I got the brochures. I introduced myself to a dealer, and he spent time with me even though I was up front about I would not be buying anything. In fact, he suggested that I help myself to as many of their brochures as I wanted. He also taught me that primary tillage was done in the Fall and secondary tillage was done in the Spring.

20141013 0020, Side
Close up of front

Several hydraulic
circuits to fold and
control depth
The A-F adjustment is "hydraulic fore-aft leveling."
The more I looked, the more rams I found. The two on the sides fold the outer wings onto the middle wings. The one by the staggered wheels helps raise it out of the ground when making the turns at the ends of the field.
John Deere has you pull the reels behind your disk or cultivator. You can tell this is newer technology because the terminology is still in flux. John Deere talks about "rolling baskets" instead of  "reels." The reels put the larger soil particles on top and finer soil particles in the seed zone. If you look at the second picture of the Kuhn Krause posting, you will see clods being flung above the soil so that they will land on top. I suspect this device works well only at the higher field speeds of modern, high-horsepower tillage of around 10mph.
Screenshot from video
Video of a Versatile 260 pulling a disk. This is the first Versatile I've seen that is not articulated. I wonder if they are rebranding someone else's "smaller" tractor. The drone is handling a very windy day. It looks like he is overlapping at least three feet. That seems excessive.

Kool Aid Factory

Chicago's Extinct Businesses updated their cover photo
Kool-Aid factory once located at 7400 S Rockwell St on the SW Side of Chicago.
When I was a kid, you would add their little packet of coloring to 2-quarts of water and then stir in one (or was it two?) cups of sugar. Given the sugar content of what you were drinking, I think this qualifies as a confection made in Chicago.

When I looked at the location on a satellite image, that location is now housing. But I was surprised how much land west of it is now vacant. It was already vacant in the birds-eye view. (No link to the birds-eye view because "There was a problem creating the link.") It was vacant in 1938 because Chicago growth had not yet reached that area. Looking at Historic Aerials, that area was cleared out between 2005 and 2007.

Sandi Zehner Growing up by Midway, we had Cracker Jack, Tootsie Roll, Nabisco and Kool Aid; depending on the way the wind blew. Is the Tootsie Roll factory still the only one in the US?

David Michalski Jr. Tootsie Roll is still there

Cermak Road Bridge was stuck in the upright position

20160416 2177 10:04am
I was heading East on Cermak Road to get pictures of the track still in Grove Street when I noticed the bridge was up. It was Saturday and the boats were scheduled to run to the lake that day. But that would have been hours ago. Was it stuck from that raising or has it been stuck for days? It was easy to park in the block that had the barricades. But I should have stepped out of the car to take the following picture because I got a lot of glare from the windshield.

They had moved quite a bit of equipment in place so that they could work on it. Chicago had replaced all of the other Scherzer Rolling Bridges in town because the foundations were a maintenance problem. This bridge was totally rehabilitated in 1997. One wonders what went wrong.

It was still stuck when I took a video of the Canal Street RR Bridge going up an hour later. Look under the left side of the span.

Screenshot from a video