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. Pictures of EJ&E's and MWRD's.

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.

For turnouts on heavily trafficked mainlines in cities, they used to set out several oil-filled 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. Now they put gas jets inside a hood along the rails and let the gas burn during a storm. (Please click, or touch, that link to Marshall Beecher's photo. It is well worth the effort.)

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."

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.)

History of Internal Combustion Engine

This 1952 education video, "History of Diesel Engines," also shows the engines that proceeded the Diesel engine starting with steam.

The Diesel design continues to be an engine of choice for 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.
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:

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.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Iowa, Chicago and Eastern Railroad


Slambo put the image in the Public Domain
IC is not the only railroad that sold a route and then later bought it back (Chicago, Central and Pacific), the Canadian Pacific sold some of the routes it got when it bought the Milwaukee Road in 1986 and then later bought those routes back. Specifically, CP sold it to I&M Rail Link (IMRL) in 1997. But IMRL could not make a profit with the line so they sold it to Iowa, Chicago and Eastern (ICE) in 2002. IC&E not only made a profit, it grew the business. It was part of a purchase made by Canadian Pacific in 2008. (Wikipedia1, Wikipedia2)

I learned of this railroad from a Flickr photo. More locomotive pictures and info is available on American-Rails.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

IH: Headquarters

Fred Bowman posted
600 South Michigan as viewed from Wabash. Originally Headquarters to International Harvester, its now home to Columbia College, who I might add, helped restore much of the detailing. 
By Christian Eckstorm in 1906 in a neoclassical style
According to Columbia College, this 15-story skyscrapper was "a modern skyscraper of its era, built with a steel skeleton, high-speed elevators, electric light, the most advanced mechanical systems available and a floor plan designed to maximize natural light for all of its interior office spaces." It was purchased by Fairbanks-Morse Company in 1937 and by Columbia College in 1975.

Update:
1909 Annual Report, last page
While standing in line in Springfield, IL in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, we started talking to the man ahead of us. He mentioned that the headquarters of IH used to be at 180, then 401, N. Michigan. (McCormick's first plants in the Chicago area was north of the Main Branch of the Chicago River on the east side of Michigan Avenue.)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ewing Avenue Bridge over Calumet River

20160504,21 3270
(Bridge HunterHistoric Bridges, 3D Satellite)
It is easy to find a place to park because Ewing is a four lane road that has to use a two lane bridge. But I didn't get my act together in time to take a video of it going down.

By the time I got out on the bridge, the three sailboats for which it was raised were north of CN/EJ&E Bridge.



View from 95th Street Bridge
A video of the bridge going down.


I didn't take many pictures of the bridge because I'm sure the two links at the top of this page have plenty of pictures. I took a picture north of Ewing Avenue on the east side of the river because it was obvious that Chicago has lost another industry. A Google satellite shot shows that it was in business rather recently as a Sims Metal Management site. Judging from the satellite image, it crushed and ground up cars.
Satellite

Wikimapia
Also note that the image has Von Zirngible Gravesite 1855.
Actually, the Battle of Waterloo took place in 1815. [ChicagoTribune] ByGoneChicago has some pictures not only of the grave, but of the scrapyard when it was more prosperous.




Update:
Tom Shepherd posted
Here is an excellent aerial shot of the Calumet River as it enters from Lake Michigan at roughly 92nd Street.
On the right side of the river (south side) is what is now the Illinois International Port District's Iroquois Landing facility.
On the left are the remains of where US Steel (USX) once was.
Notice the breakwater out in the lake. See the barges being towed by a tugboat, which just came through the opened-up 92nd & Ewing Ave. bridge?
This photo (date unknown, maybe around 2000?) was before the extension of South Shore Drive through the USX / Lakeside Development property.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kinzie Street Bridge

3D Satellite, looking south
(Bridge HunterHistoric Bridges)

I didn't realize until I looked at the satellite image that this bridge has just one leaf.

Chicago History Museum via DNAinfo
Kinzie Street Bridge rotated across Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois, November 13, 1899.
[This view must be looking north because the swing bridge in the background appears to be on an angle with respect to the river channel. So it would be the Milwaukee bridge.]
Chicago History Museum via DNAinfo
[I hope that road surface is mud and not squished road apples from horses. The bridge was built in 1909 while horses still ruled the road. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1999.]

World's Longest and Deepest Train Tunnel Opens

The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel has officially opened in Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work. The 57km (35-mile) twin-bore Gotthard base tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.
The tunnel has overtaken Japan's 53.9km Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and pushed the 50.5km Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France into third place. 
[msn.com]
[msn.com]
The project cost $12bn and was delivered on time and within budget. But nine workers died in accidents. Engineers had to go through 73 different kinds of rock, some as hot as 46C. All freight passing through Switzerland is to use the tunnel to reduce environmental pollution. The trip from Zurich to Milan should be two hours and 40 minutes, an hour less than the old route. It takes 17 minutes to traverse the straight and level tunnel. [msn.com] Removing an hour from the trip also removes the chances of being stuck on the road for many hours because of an accident.

When my wife and I visited Switzerland in the Fall of 2012, I remember reading brochures about this tunnel. One of the issues is whether or not it was close enough to big dams and the rock was porous enough that water would leak out of the dam's reservoir into the tunnel. There was also concern of lowering the water table under the dam and changing the strength of the rock around the dam enough to cause the dam to break. Evidently these problems did not happen.

At least 8% Wheel Slippage is Good

Kyle Sobania posted:
When plowing last weekend with my model R I was in 2nd gear pulling 4-16s I had zero slippage. Are you suppose to have some slippage? My front tires came off the ground a few times only a inch or so but no spin thanks.
Most  of the comments indicate you do want some slippage. I would have never guessed that. Actual numbers offered by the comments vary between 5-8%. One comment pointed out that if you are slipping, you know all of your horsepower is going to the ground. As long as it is moderate, you are productive.

extension.org
An article indicates it varies by soil type. Since a tractor is not going to be pulling a plow through concrete, the slippage should be at least 8%.