Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MoW: Snow Removal

On the mainline out in the country, snow can be removed with plows, both rotary and wedge. There are so many videos of them in action that I'm not even going to bother to include some here.

But in towns, the rotary would be too dangerous. When our town bought a snow blower to remove the record snowfall we had in 1978 from our streets, it blew the limbs off the north side of a tree in our yard. Imagine what the more powerful stream from a rotary plow would do. Especially to the windows of trackside buildings. And in yards there is not enough room on the side of a track into which to shove the snow with a wedge plow or Jordan spreader.

New York Central System Historical Society posted
So instead of shoving the snow off the tracks, devices were developed to remove the snow. The comment for this photo was:
Snow loader X631 (Lot 751) and snow melter X1435 (Lot 752) were built by the Barber-Greene Company ofAurora, Illinois in 1945. In operation, a steam locomotive heated the tank of X1435, into which loader X631 dumpedthe snow to be melted. (NYCSHS Photo Collection)
John Wood They have street cleaning machines in Montreal that do this, scoop up snow, melt it and let the hot water out the back. Down the street drains it goes before freezing.

Note the large pipe in the bottom of the tank to the right of the ladder. When the tank was full, they would go to the nearest creek and dump the water. But with the advent of diesels, they lost their source of steam to melt the snow.

Now a method to remove snow from turnouts is a jet engine on a railcar. A video of a CN blower in action. I've looked at some other videos. It is not clear how much of the snow is blown away vs. melted. I wonder how easily the creosote in ties is to ignite. The video points out that some of the ballast rocks also get blown off the track.

Levi Hirt posted, cropped
Putting the snowjet to work tonight. [Feb 9, 2018, Michigan]
Joe Leichtman Jr. We're firing ours up tomorrow morning in Elkhart, IN.

Screenshot from a Stephen F. Magrowski post
I had some fun playing with the snow jet years ago.
[The comments have a video of a blower and discuss the differences between jet and blower.]

20170421 8728
Parked at the BNSF commuter service yard, a jet to help clear the many switches in their Chicago commuter yard.

Satellite
A video of a Snow Jet working Frontier Yard, Buffalo, NY.
Robert Seemueller Most of CSX three dozen snow jets used B-52 surplus jet engines.
Bill Baker When the CP bought the D&H, they took our 2 jets and shipped them up to Canada. They replaced them with a couple of well-used old Kershaw regulators that had an auger attached to the broom box. They actually worked surprisingly well. About 3 or 4 passes at a switch with the broom box lowered a little bit more with each pass and it was clean. Had an air compressor with us, (behind the truck), along with a wand for blowing out the switch rods and between the stock rail and switch points.
Bill Baker Couldn't begin to count how many I cleaned with a shovel and broom and sometimes a burning can.
Bill Baker commented on Robert's video
Cleaning switches at Collinwood!
A video of that jet engine working the west end of CSX Frontier Yard.

Kevin Piper posted
For nearly two years I loved going to a small and wide open satellite diesel facility located on the north side of IHB's Blue Island Yard, near Chicago. Camera in hand, this 17-year railfan was shocked to find the area devastated by a midnight fire on 2-12-78. The fire was started by a MOW snow melter machine. CR GP35 2300 was rebuilt, but the ex-PC SD45 was scrapped. Unfortunately the party was over, and the facility was never reopened.
[A jet engine creates an open flame. Thus one must be careful were it is used/pointed.]


Another method to clear turnouts is a cold air blower.
Fred Bain posted
A video of a more modern one in action (source)
Rob Bennett Have 2 of the nose jets. They are ok. Here is a link to the AF1 blower. Have 2 of these also. This is the cats meow of all blowers on the railroad hands down.. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=76pe67QDVxA . we have the jet blowers you reference still in use in Green Bay and Stevens Point. They work well when wet snow or freezing snow. [With an air speed up to 430 mph and an airflow of 19,000 cfm, it can blow away ice and hard packed snow, etc. It looks like it has an engine on the bed for the blower that is bigger than the truck's engine. The next video offered showed it clearing airport runways of various objects as well as ice and snow.]Tim Bentley Had three jet sno blowers in Toledo when I retired two years ago.Ottis Hundley Had a jet snow blower in North Kansas City yard one year. Let off of the forward throttle and that baby would blow you backwards down the track as fast as you were brave enough to go..Tim Bentley Made record time moving one from Toledo to Willard one time we just happened to be facing the right direction so we fired that baby up and flew down the track
Speaking of a jet removing snow.
Rob Bennett posted
Green Bay JET. Still in use but lonely this year... and that’s OK!
(new window) It took longer than I expected. That snow must have turned to dirty ice.



When the switches are dense and on heavily used tracks, open flames are used. The Chicago media gets excited about Tower A-2's tracks being on fire. Also check out Marshal Beecher's photo.
Lake Tower also has a lot of switches to keep operational for commuter operations during winter weather. Before natural gas became available, workers used to set out several pots with a wick to create a flame along the tracks. Before a storm, those pots would have to be set out and lit. After a storm, they would have to be collected and refilled. Or, instead of pots, they just poured flamable liquid on the tracks. It is amazing that creosoted ties survive that technique.
David Daruszka shared Xavier Quintana posting
Cold Chicago:
Arthur LaCaille uses a gasoline torch to light gas jets that thaw out switches in the rail yard outside LaSalle Street Station in Chicago on Dec. 26, 1944. (Chicago Tribune historical photo)
Rick Knowles I would think that they would use kersosene instead of gasoline in the torch because of safety. I know that's what smokejumpers use for starting backfires.

Richard Mead Drip torches run a mixture of 50% gasoline and 50% diesel. That is what I was taught at fire school.

Bill Blake posted
January 22, 1947 - A New York Central Railroad yard worker, right, is using a torch to thaw a frozen switch. The terminal tower is in the snow-hazed background. - Buffalo, New York
Bob Cerri Its actually a casing head fuel can. Open valve, light up fuel and apply to switch points & rods

Patrick McNamara commented on another posting about fires burning at switch points
 I remember these smudgepot warmers at Proviso Yard, until some bean counters thought they were employing too many M of W guys to fill them with kero...so they just got rid of the workers and the heaters and handed us worthless brooms with dandelion picker ends on them to laboriously chip out the ice.

20150510 1174
When I was taking pictures at Dolton Junction, the gas meter on the left side of this photo (closeup below) appeared in many of my photos. In the closeup, you can also see the hood of a heater for one of the turnouts.
Zoomed in
I think that one gas meter supplied all of the gas jets in the junciton. Since one always has plenty of time to kill when railfanning, even at a junction as busy as Dolton, I took a closeup of a turnout with its remotely controlled machine and heaters that was just a few feet from the Park Avenue crossing.You can see there is an underground pipe that comes above the ground an feed gas jets on both sides of the turnout.

The gas meter and the turnout we saw above is in the background of this picture. Below is the meter in the lower-left corner of this excerpt from the background at camera resolution.


But in less traveled areas, the conductor still has to clean out the turnout points with a broom. Note he uses the handle more than the bristles. That snow was not very "fluffy."

Arturo's photo of CP 502 shows the points being kept snow free with a hot air blower in the foreground of the left track.

(new window)   (source)
Tommy Vee How about three telephone poles leaning over the tracks . We hit them at 95mph. It was slightly louder.
Tom Galloway I have plowed snow with and SD-60 or a Dash-9 before I retired... The only problem I had was hitting a tree, going down-hill, around a blind curve... Hit the tree about 5-10 carlengths from a Dragging Requirement Detector!
Dennis Chornoluk Here hoping that the initial contact knocks them clear of the train, otherwise the Conductor is going for a walk when the tree swings back and gets a few operating levers and the air goes and etc, etc.


Mark Hamel commented on source
[I good thunder storm or hurricane could cause a comparable problem.]

Video of a blower cleaning switches  The comments show there are several other attachments for the
unit.




Monday, August 29, 2016

IC's 14th Street Yard

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
I researched this yard because of a 1972 photo from David Wilson's Photoset. Soldier Field without the space saucer in the background of the photo gave me the clue I needed to find the IC building. I believe it is the building in the following closeup. David has another 1972 photo labeled "14th St." Unlike most of IC's downtown yards, this yard is still being used because of the commuter service.

Zoomed in

Sunday, August 28, 2016

NKP (Clover Leaf) Bridge over Wabash River

Mitch Mitchell posted two photos with the comment: "Clover Leaf Wabash River Bridgetake a few years ago."
1
2
Thanks to the tree lines, it is easy to determine that the bridge was just south of the IN-234 bridge. They not only removed the trusses, they removed the piers and abutments.

Satellite

Alton & Southern Railway

Satellite, Gateway Yard
To summarize their history, the railroad was started in 1910 by an aluminum plant in Alorton, IL to break the service monopoly of the Southern Pacific. It kept growing along the east side of the St. Louis metro area to connect with more and more railroads and transloading on the Mississippi. As it became important as a belt route, it embraced that role in the 1960s by building Gateway Yard as a terminal railroad hump yard. Alco acquired the aluminum company, but then closed it in 1966. The ICC forced the A&S to be sold to multiple owners so in 1968 MoPac and C&NW jointly purchased the line. That is why the engine livery has MoPac blue and C&NW yellow. And the C&NW logo design lived on as the A&S logo. UP ended up buying both railroads that jointly owned it, but has maintained it as an autonomous company.

I looked for a map of the railroad, but could not find one. From the northeast end of the yard, it ran westish to River Yard and Fox Terminal along the Mississippi River. But the section immediately to the west was abandoned. Evidently they now use the TTRA route between their yard and their western branch. From the southeast end of Gateway Yard, they have a route that heads northwest, then turns more northturns east rather than cross I-64, then turns north and goes under I-64, crosses and interconnects with the B&O and PRR (now both CSX), turns east and crosses Horseshoe Lake twice, used to cross NKP(Clover Leaf) and Linchfield & Madisonturns north and terminates at Lenox Tower where it used to connect to Wabash, Chicago & Eastern Illiniois, and Chicago & Alton + CB&Q.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Metra/Rock Island over Cal Sag in Blue Island, IL

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges)
Streetview from Western Avenue Bridge

3D Satellite
Portal views of the bridges were caught by a photo by Kim Piersol of Rock Island #655, an E9A. (Found in a Rock Island posting.)

Arturo Gross Flickr 1995 Photo with IAIS Paduch GP10 402 entering the Blue Island Yard. (source) It catches some of the north side of these bridges.

Note photos 5-8 in David Daruska's Blue Island album.


History of Internal Combustion Engine

The video that motivated this posting has been deleted from YouTube. Fortunately, a timeline of the development of heat (including diesel) engines references a video by Shell describing the history of the diesel engine that you can download to view (88 mb). The video also describes the four heat engines used before diesel: steam at 6% efficiency, hot-bulb oil at 10%, gas (manufactured from coal) at 17%, and gasoline at 12%. Diesel wrote a paper on the design in 1892. But he learned that with his first prototype in 1893 that it was hard to force fuel into the compressed air. That prototype was like today's fusion reactors, it never ran on its own power. In 1894 he learned how to use compressed air to force fuel into the cylinder. By 1897, he had a prototype that ran on its own with an efficiency of 27%. The video does not explain who financed the development of successive prototypes. By 1900, single cylinder engines where in production, but they ran at less than 200 rpm. The manufactures of the engines licensed Diesel's patents. Electric generation drove the development of higher horsepower engines. By 1912, the first ocean-going diesel ship had been built. Today [1942], 1 ship in every 4 is diesel driven. By the 1940s, the 2-stroke version had also been developed. Compressed air injection is what limited the rpm of an engine. It took over 10 years to perfect direct injection, but by WWII medium speed engines for locomotives and high speed engines for trucks, busses, tractors, etc. had been developed.

1904 - Machinefabrik Ausgburg-Nurember aka MAN from DieselDuck
1912 The Diesel patent expires in the US. New companies spring up to build their versions of the engine. Allis-Chalmers and Nordberg in Milwaukee, Fairbanks-Morse in Beloit and Worthington Cudahy - all in Wisconsin, heart of the dairy states, a popular place for German immigrants. As well Busch-Sulzer set up shop in St Louis, and Winton in Cleveland. [DieselDuck]
1913 - A worker poses for this picture, from the MAN factory in Nurnberg, Germany from DieselDuck
GM developed their two-cycle design in time to build two 600hp prototypes, Winton Model 201, for the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago to generate electricity for their demonstration Chevy assembly line.
Screenshot


The Illinois Railway Museum has preserved one of these diesels.
20150627 2163


(new window)  The first part of this video is farm history. The internal combustion history starts at 8:38. As I expected, they don't mention that Navistar spent $250m trying to make EGR work to meet Tier 4 pollution requirements. They failed to meet the Jan 1, 2014, [ForConstructionPros] deadline and had to switch to Cummins engines for their trucks. And they got sued by the Security Exchange Commission for misleading their shareholders concerning their progress towards the Tier 4 deadline. I noticed that this video was made before 2015 because that is when it was uploaded. At 37:28 the spokesperson talks about 2010 being in the future. He was correct that the diesel engine was going to be cleaner. Unfortunately for Navistar, it wasn't their engines.  Their engine plant in Melrose Park, IL, no longer makes engines. Since this video was made, Volkswagen cheating on their diesel emission test has been exposed. GE was able to meet the Tier 4 deadline for train locomotives, but Progress Rail/EMD wasn't. They have now sold some Tier 4 locomotives. But I've seen reports that the railroads put them in storage because they kept breaking down.

The EPA ignored the smoke coming out of diesel engines for years because rain washed the particles out of the atmosphere. But then they decided the particles and the NOx emissions were bad and defined the Tiers of reduction so that they would be really low by 2014. Particulate emissions were gone by Tier 3. It was the NOx reductions that threatened to bankrupt companies. I still wonder if Tier 3 would be good enough. Going back to Tier 3 still makes sense because all Tier 4 engines are complicated (expensive and a maintenance headache).



They use a regular sized engine to compress air in a tank. Then they use the compressed air to start  Big Bertha, which runs on propane. (I wonder how many big engines have the name "Big Bertha?") It is too bad Big Bertha is not hooked up to a wheel with a brake so that they can provide a load on the engine so the cylinders continue to fire. Or maybe they could drive a pump that feeds a pipe that goes straight up 100' or so.
(new window)


Diesel engines are especially dominate in high horsepower applications.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Chicago Brick

Old Chicago brick is wanted all over the world. There are companies that are basically brick brokers. They salvage the bricks from a Chicago building that is being torn down and then sell them.

There were so many brick buildings in Chicago because, after the 1871 fire, a new city ordinance required that new buildings in the downtown area use fire resistant materials. Fortunately, Chicago was the lake bottom of the glacial lake that was 60 feet higher than our current Lake Michigan during the last ice age. So there are significant deposits of clay that were suitable for making bricks. Several brick companies formed along what is now the North Branch Canal and dug clay pits along what became that canal. (Ogden finished digging the canal so that he would have more lake front properties that he could sell to industries that wanted ship access such as lumber yards.) The land between the North Branch of the Chicago River and Clybourne and between Diversey and Fullerton was also pocked with clay pits. William Deering filled in those pits creating an 85-acre plot in the city on which he built his Deering Harvester Company Plant(The Chicago River An illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways, 2nd Edition, 2006, David M. Solzman, p.81)

As the little clay pits in the downtown area played out and the land was reused for other applications, bigger deposits of clay further from downtown were used. Two that I have found so far are the Cary and Blue Island brick works.

BrickColecting
Note that other river towns in Northeast Illinois also had brick works, for example Streator, IL. It had four shale and clay working factories making brick, tile, and sewer pipe. When I researched the railroads of Streator, I read that the Streator brick industry flourished after the 1871 fire. One of the companies must have survived until recently because it was still on the Brick Collection history page, but the link is now broke. The invention of steel-framed buildings that allowed a lot of glass to be used in the walls for sunlight was probably a significant blow to the brick making industry.

Cary Brick Works


1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Chicago History explains that Cary Brick Works had created a big pit digging out clay for bricks. It had also built a big tailings hill next to that pit. (In this case the tailings would be dirt, gravel, etc.) The combination of the hill and the pit provided a 285-foot vertical drop --- the highest within hundreds of miles. This steep incline was turned into a ski resort called Thunder Mountain. (I could not find the drop of Four Lakes which was made from the tailings and pit of a surface coal mine.)

I'll let you read Chicago History about Thunder Mountain, I'm more interested in the brick works. This 1938 aerial photo shows the works was between Diversey and Fullerton and between Normandy and Narragansett.

Satellite
It is now big-box and strip mall retail stores including The Brickyard and plenty of suburban style parking. What amazes me is that the track for the Milwaukee branch that went through the yard to Diversey still exists including the crossing at Grand Ave. I don't see an exempt sign on the crossing so that means school buses and trucks carrying flammable liquids still must stop traffic to look for a train that will never exist. Certainly Target and Home Depot will never have rail service. And judging from the size of the trees growing in the tracks, this building will never see rail service again.

From ChicagoTonight
The Carey brickyard actually continued in operation during the ski resort era and beyond. They made Chicago common bricks. Carey was the last place that made these bricks. The kilns needed to produce these didn’t meet modern environmental standards and Carey closed in 1980.   Today whenever a brick building is torn down, companies are brought in to salvage the bricks and re-use them. [ChicagoTonight]

Blue Island Illinois Brick company's Yard 22

Steve OConnor shared
The clay pit of the Illinois Brick Company in Blue Island which eventually the city would turn into a park. Note the small industrial steam locomotive working the pit.
Fullton Grace I believe this is the area immediately south of 123rd street between Kedzie and California. Between the Grand Trunk and B&O tracks. This clay pit at one time also connected, via train tunnel to another quarry that ran between 123rd and 119th street. It was filled in with garbage and later made into a golf course.

Mike Summa posted a photo that is overexposed.
Mike Summa posted
Very old pictures of the Illinois Brick Yard in Blue Island, Illinois. Huge facility had its own railroad. I do not know what kind of engines they are, but feel free to describe. Pictures courtesy Blue Island Historical Society. Thank you.

Steve OConnor commented on above posting

Steve OConnor commented on above posting
Steve OConnor commented on above posting
The fears of the residents concerning garbage being put in the old pit were well founded because pipes were added to catch the methane before a golf course was built on top of the landfill. So either the rules were changed, the commissioner of streets and electricity was bribed, or the commissioner was incompetent and the contractor got away with illegal dumping.

Satellite
The original part was the bottom part of the satellite image. The tunnel accessed clay in the upper-right part. The CN/GTW and CSX/B&OCT tracks makes it easy to locate the facility on a 1938 photo.

1938 Aerial photo from ILHAP

Update:

David Daruszka commented on a posting:
Purington was located just south of 119th Street between the two Rock Island lines in Blue Island. The clay pit was eventually filled in.
From a history of Blue Island:
BrickyardsAfter it was discovered in the early 1850s that rich deposits of clay surrounded the ridge, Blue Island became the center of a significant brick-making industry that lasted for over a century. In the early years, these efforts were small, with the bricks being made by hand and the turnout created mostly for local use, but by 1886 the Illinois Pressed Brick Company (organized in 1884) was employing about 80 men and using “steam power and the most approved machinery”, which allowed them to produce 50,000 bricks per day.] By 1900, the Clifton Brickyard alone—which had opened in 1883 under the name of Purington at the far northeast corner of the village was producing 150,000,000 bricks a year. In 1886, the Chicago architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan designed a large complex for the Wahl Brothers brickyard (the main building of which was 250 by 350 feet on the west side of the Grand Trunk tracks between 119th and 123rd streets. These buildings had been demolished by 1935, and all of Blue Island’s brickyards were re-purposed by the latter part of the mid-20th century. The larger ones for a while become landfills, and the Wahl Brothers location is now the site of the Meadows Golf Club
The Nov. 24, 2016, issue of the Chicago Tribune had big article on brick collecting in its A&E Section. Part of an introductory paragraph is of particular interest:
Chicago --- rich in clay deposits used for brick-making, having burned down in 1871 --- was a ripe canvas, rebuilt as a brick metropolis. By the 1890s the area boasted more than 60 brickyards, clustered near Blue Island; manufacturers pumped out 600 million bricks a year. Before the industry peaked in the 1920s, before steel and concrete competed for attention, Chicago had become an international hub for brick production.
In addition to the brick collecting link near the top of this posting, the International Brick Collectors Association has an official and a member's sites.

Some farming firsts

This list of five firsts is from the perspective of CNH (Case, International Harvester, Ford and New Holland) so you won't see items like the first self-scouring steel plow (John Deere) or the first live (independent) PTO in 1946. (Cockshutt hired two engineers from Oliver so that they could scoop Oliver by 6 months.) I normally provide a link for my source, but it looks like the URL is not permanent. (Update, the link is working again.)

Sperry New Holland launches the first self-propelled forage harvester in 1961
International Harvester introduces the revolutionary Axial-Flow combine in 1977. ​This greatly improves harvesting efficiency through its revolutionary rotor design
​​​​New Holland invents the first self-tying pick-up baler in 1940.
​A part of New H​olland Agriculture history​: the first mass produced tractor, the Fordson Model F, is built in 1917.
​​Case produces the first steam-powered tractor in 1869. ​​
Because the pictures might be temporary, I'm saving the other three they posted.

8

7

6
Update:
Horsepower posted
Some of the video links they posted about the announcement: 8:00 min, 2:26 min, 2:27 min, 2:24 min. A web page about driverless technology. They do expect farmers to build private paths on their farm so that it can get from the barn to the fields.
CaseIH "high-efficiency farming" topics other than autonomous tractors.


And a Massey-Ferguson "rebuttle," 3:15 min.

Massey-Ferguson's review of their history: 4:07 min

Another CNH video: 8:00. Starting at 6:10, it presents some history. At 6:12 is "grampa's" baler.

A Facebook posting where the comments discuss which year the other manufactures introduced their axial rotor design, including:
Justin Hiner Jared, Case never built a rotary, International did. Sam, international wasn't behind everyone else as tractor house will show you. New Holland had rotaries on the market in 1975, Gleaner in 1976, International in 1977, White in 1978, John Deere in 1998.
Linda Chamberlain White was in 1979, but marketed in 1980.

10 Significant John Deere Milestones, note that John Lane is the inventor of the self-scouring steel plow.

175 Anniversary CaseIH video of its history

John Deere video with tractor timeline and PR (I wonder if JD saw the CaseIH video and decided they had better get something on Facebook also.)