Friday, September 30, 2016

Pope Lick Trestle east of Louisville, KY

(Bridge Hunter, Satellite)
Chris Nicholson Jr. posted
Louisville Kentucky's Famous Pope Lick Trestle - 9-22-2016
If this picture was taken by a drone, it seems to be from a rather high altitude. But judging from the four other pictures in the posting, I think it was taken with a drone.

This was owned by the Southern Railroad so it is now owned by Norfolk Southern.

Video of building a 4-cylinder, 4-6-4 British locomotive in the 1930s

Screenshot from Video
I like these old manufacturing videos because they consist of just manufacturing scenes. You don't have to watch "talking heads" talk about the usual platitudes such as "listening to our customers and fixing the problems," "process improvement," etc.

Some points of interest:
  • The frame is built up with thick plates rather than cast as one piece. "By 1930, the company was making one-piece locomotive beds with integral cylinders and cradle..." [Wikipedia]
  • I was surprised they were still using sledge hammers in the 1930s. I expected small forge hammers for small hammered forgings.
  • You do get to watch them build a big mold, pour the metal, and dismantle the mold and sand to free the casting for the inside cylinders.
  • The inside firebox is made of copper.
  • When were hardhats invented? When where they ubiquitously required?
  • Nobody is wearing glasses, let alone safety glasses. Did they have minimum vision requirements for their employees? Most of that work would not require 20/20 vision. But 20/200 might be a problem for at least some of the work.
  • They also show a drive wheel being cast. I assume there is some sort of marker for the hub and crank pin fillers. At first it struck me that they placed the plugs for the hub and crank pin rather causally. Then it struck me that the accuracy is provided by the machining, not the casting.
  • Judging by the crankshafts on the axle, this engine had four cylinders, two on the inside and two on the outside.
  • What is the guy who is playing chicken with the drop forge hammer doing every time he reaches in? He doesn't have enough time to do much.
  • 12:50   "Who will say now that the day of the craftsman is no more." If they thought the craftsman was dying in the 1930s, imagine what they would think about America today?
Looked around the net and it seems like it got derailed in 1951 due to a defective part, 15 people died and 35 are injured.

That is why ultrasound testing and other forms of non-evasive testing were invented so that each part can be tested for defects before it is used.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Santa Fe Coaling Tower and Steel Works north of Joliet, IL

March 1943. Between Lockport and Joliet, Illinois, along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.
One of the comments confirms the background is a steel plant:
The site is most likely the coke ovens of the Joliet Iron and Steel Works, which dates to the early 1870s. All operations at the plant ended in the early 1980s. It seems likely the ATSF would have supplied coal to the coke facility, and handled finished steel product in local interchange service and points west.
The bridge is the approach to the EJ&E lift bridge. The coaling tower is in the upper-right corner of this 1939 photo. You can see the bridge that frames the photo near the bottom.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Central Illinois Railroad

(Shortlines, Reporting Mark: CIRY/DRSX) In this blog, searching with the keywords "Central," "Illinois," and "Railroad" produces a lot of false hits. So I'm now including the reporting marks.

Birds-Eye View
Please follow the "Shortlines" link above for a description of this railroad. Central Illinois operated CB&Q's 1860s industrial park between 2000 and 2010.

Ed has a Flickr photo of their EMD switchers sitting in their yard. His comment taught me that their headquarters was at 918 W. Cermak Road. If you look at a recent satellite image, you will not see a yard. But once again we can use the birds-eye view as a time machine and see where the yard was.

As part of my trip to get pictures of the Fisk Generating Plant before it is torn down, I took quite a few pictures of the BNSF/CB&Q track that is still left in this area.
20150705 2566, the fork north of Canalport
The branch of the eastern "yard track" that sharply angled to the east with crossing signals and went along Cermak as the Lumber district is now gone.

Birds-Eye View
But the part of the eastern "yard track" that crossed Cermak into an industrial area still exists. However, the crossing signals have been removed and the flangeway has filled up in stretches. Satellite images show the area between the two forks and between Canalport and Cermak to be a storage area. But when I was there in the Summer of 2015, it was vacant land.

Update: Ed has another Flickr photo of a City of Chicago operation.

Tower A-20: UP/C&NW vs. UP/C&NW

Cruz Martinez posted
Where the C&M and the new line split, and further down the old CNW route near northbrook illinois... Taken with permission from a good metra employee.Glen Warmann Tower A20Stuart B. Slaymaker Site of Tower A-20, to us oldsters. Armstrong tower. Some of the longer levers required the tower man to leap on them, and ride them down, to lock. True story. Circa 1967.
I assume the C&M was the Chicago & Milwaukee. The "new line" would be the line that goes southwest across the northern suburbs, then south along the west side of O'Hare, then back east to Proviso Yard to take freight trains more directly to UP/C&NW's freight yard.

In the background, you can see the lattice truss bridge that takes the new line over the old line.

I put a red rectangle around the building that I believe was the tower based mainly on the shadow of a chimney and the proximity to the turnout and signals.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Steven J. Brown posted
Six Milwaukee Road SD40-2's southbound at A20 - Techny Road in Northbrook, Illinois - September 1980.

Carl Venzke caught a Milwaukee commuter in March 1959 with a signal in the foreground and the tower in the background.

Metra posted a video of "Metra and Union Pacific crews replacing the final switch at Tower A2 in August 2016." What I find amazing is that UP used two rail-mounted cranes. Since they used their own cranes, I assume they used their own crews. When BNSF replaced crossover switches in Downers Grove, they hired multiple contractors. Cranemasters provided the crane service with three crawler cranes. (Their pre-assembled crossover was a lot longer than this one.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tractor implement to grind, mix, and deliver feed

A farmer has a spectrum of options concerning preparing grain-based feed for his livestock. At one end of the spectrum is that he buys the feed from a feed mill. Note that commercial feed mills have a lot of little bins to hold supplements and a building to hold the grinder and mixer. Most of them also function as a local grain elevator.

20150725 3622c
The other end of the spectrum is that the farmer stores all of his corn and makes the feed himself with a tractor implement designed to grind, mix, and deliver the feed. (Much more below on this option.) While I was at a family reunion I took pictures of the pig raising facilities. On the left are the buildings that house the pigs and on the right is the grain storage and feed mill.

A point on the spectrum closer to the 100% commercial solution is that the farmer grows the grain but hauls it during harvest to the feed mill for them to store and use when he needs more feed to save the cost of buying grain. (This is the solution my Grandfather used for dairy cows and chickens (20,000 at a time).)

A point closer to the self-contained solution is that the farmer stores the grain himself and takes loads to the commercial feed mill when he needs another shipment of feed. This saves paying the mill a storage fee.

There are several aspects of a farmer's feed mill I want to discuss, but for this posting I'm concentrating on the farm implement designed to make feed because I have come across a few pictures recently.

The "backyard" of the Paquette's Farmall Museum had some of the more interesting equipment in the museum. One of which was an IH feed mill.

20140801 0158

Unfortunately, the weeds are obscuring the front of the mill. But in the closeup below, you can see that all of the rotating motions are delivered via belts, pulleys, and/or shafts. Compact, powerful hydraulic motors had yet to be developed. And older equipment tends not to have safety shields so it is easier to see the "guts." Note in the lower-right that several belts are used to drive a little pulley by a big pulley that is driven directly by the PTO shaft from the tractor. The little pulley would be on the axle of the hammer mill which grinds the grain and that axle turns significantly faster than the standard 540 RPM of the PTO shaft.

Below are the pictures I took of my relative's Gehl 170. An overview showing he uses a John Deere 4240 to run it and that he has a special building as part of his elevator complex to house the mill. The long unloading auger sticking out of the door can be lifted and swung to the side when the farmer drives the mill past the hog houses to fill the feeder bins. If you look at the top picture, we can easily see six feeder bins. Looking at a satellite image, which I'm not sharing for privacy reasons, I see 17 bins. Although some may be obsolete because I don't see tractor access to them. (Some of the buildings are farrowing houses, but they no longer maintain sows and handle pig births. They now buy the babies and specialize in stuffing corn into them to grow them large enough to take to market.)

20150725 3631

Operator's Manual, p 53
As we see in the picture below, you now have to pay for extra sheet metal to cover up the interesting belts and pulleys for safety reasons. But the picture for the instructions of disengaging the Mill/Blower drive in the Operator's Manual shows us it is the same basic design of using 5 V-belts to drive a small pulley with a large one.

Note that on the left of the above picture and on the right of this side picture, there are piles of sacks. These sacks would be supplements that are used in low volume such as vitamins and minerals and would be added in the concentrate hopper on the back of the mill. The four augers that use big PVC pipes so that they all feed into that concentrate hopper load higher volume supplements that are stored in bins outside of the mill shed. Three of the augers come from the bins pictured below that can be loaded directly from the CO-OP bulk delivery truck.

The fourth is a relay auger from the relatively small bin that is tall enough that it has to be loaded from the elevator's leg.

Below is the cover page from the operator's manual. It shows the side I was not able to get a picture of because it was too close to a wall. Note that the loading auger has been removed by my relative because the augers from the two corn bins feed directly into the hammer mill's hopper. Shown in the closeup on the left.
Operator's Manual, cover page
The farmer can add the various supplements as the corn is being added to the hammer mill hopper to reduce the total time needed to make the feed.

The cover page picture also shows the sight glass along the side of the bin that shows how full the bin is and how will mixed the feed is.

They have modified the hydraulics that control the unloading auger to be controlled by the tractor instead of a self-contained PTO driven pump as described on pages 32, 56 and 57 of the owner's manual. To the right is a closeup of the hydraulic motor that drives the unloading auger.

Operator's Manual, p 60
Page 60 has pictures of the hammer mill, which is what grinds the grain into powder so that it mixes well with the supplements. There is an auger in the center of the bin that moves the feed from the bottom of the bin to the top. That is what mixes the ingredients. Page 61 has a view of that auger looking down from the top of the bin with the cover removed.

As I have mentioned before, my Dad worked for Central Soya. That company got its start as Master Mix. Their product was bagged supplements that a farmer could add to his own grain to make a complete livestock diet. In this video we learn the most expensive additive is 10 50-pound bags of soy meal to raise the protein content. A bag contains 50% protein and they raise the protein content of the feed to the desired 14-16%.

This video shows the entire process of preparing and delivering feed. Near the end of this video of a John Deere 700 unloading he goes to the top and opens the cover so that you can see the vertical auger turning.

Notice in the middle of this screenshot that there is a tractor driven grinder/mixer mill in their shed. Do they use the feeder to distribute corn and then the grinder/mixer distributes just supplements?

The following screenshot shows that this auger is also driven by a hydraulic motor.

Manternach 4L Farms posted 11 photos of a restored JD 700 with the comment:
The "Real Deal" grinder mixer is now operational and running great. I call it that because, even though I bought it at a fair price, I have 4x invested in getting it running again. I bought it with a broken shaft, full of old feed, and in need of some fabrication and parts to get it running like new again. All in all, it's a very nice machine and will serve us well!
Paul Althouse Have the sane grinder. Ours was in good shape when bought it though. Paid for it in 30 days vs what coop was charging for grinding and delivery charges.

Manternach 4L Farms This is our third 700 mill. They are a great machine, but are getting pretty hard to find in good working condition. Tens of thousands of tons of feed have gone through them on this farm. Deere doesn't have a lot of parts left for them, and the ones they have are big $$$$. Luckily, there isn't a whole lot on the machine you can't build or fix with a little skill.


Tim Rowlett posted
Farmers grinding their own feed on their farm is not a new development. This 1913 cover [Wisconsin Historical Society] for an International Harvester Feed Grinders catalog shows a hit-miss engine driving a grinder.

A video of a restored John Deere 720 grinding then delivering feed. Once you start watching feed grinding videos on You Tube, you will find quite a few more videos.

Screenshot from a barn design video that also shows
the Jaylor mixer that they use.
While watching a video about a barn design, I learned about the TMR Jaylor mixer. It looks like their model is the self-propelled A50. Video demo. A dairy farm using a Jaylor mixer.
Aaron Cummings posted
Anyone want to go back to 1959 and grind calf feed? For the record, that hammer mill gave my boys C one heck of a workout. Usually have the D17 on it, but he insisted on using his.
[They must then have added sacked feed from the store to supplement the ground grain. Or they are adding ground grain to the end of their bottle feeding to help wean them.]
Jason Mathre posted
3288 doing Friday activities.
[The red is rather faded. It was posted in the "IH 88 series group."]
Tim Butcher posted two photos.


A 7:11 video of feeding the hogs. Unfortunately, he doesn't actually show the grinding of the corn so you can't hear the old Allis-Chalmers tractor with a heavy load. I'm still trying to figure out why he switches tractors. I assume he uses the A-C for grinding because it is small enough to fit in the corn unloading shed. Both tractors seem to use just two hydraulic circuits. If the A-C has enough PTO horsepower to grind corn, it has enough for the unloading augers. You don't need the Ford's four-wheel drive because the pig buildings are not in a muddy field. Does he switch to the Ford because it has a faster road speed?

A 3:56 video that uses alfalfa and grass hay, ground corn, and "organic kelp," a 17% protein mix. I can't believe that just one 5-gallon bucket is enough feed for the pigs in the field. How often each day does he carry a bucket?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Chicago Route for the City of New Orleans

In addition to the City of New Orleans, Amtrak uses the CN/IC "mainline" to run two trains a day to Carbondale, IL: the Saluki and the Illini. [Amtrak]  IC used to terminate their passenger trains at Central Station. When Amtrak took over in 1971, they reduced the number of trains run so that they would all fit in Union Station. To see how the IC trains can get from the IC tracks along the lakefront to Union Station, I include this annotated railroad map so that the text makes more sense.

The inbound trains turn west on the east/west line near the bottom labeled "IC - AMTRAK," which is the St. Charles Railroad. Where I added the blue text "16th" text is where IC crossed the former Rock Island and NYC lines. [Tower, Tracks in the Area] This north/south line to La Salle Street Station is now owned by Metra and services just commuter trains.

Steven J. Brown posted

Amtrak City of New Orleans descends the St Charles

Airline into Chicago - January 23, 1988.
[Inbound train]
Option 1 to run trains from the IC mainline to Union Station is to continue west across the St. Charles Bridge; a viaduct over Amtrak's Yard, BNSF/CB&Q's Commuter Yard, and Canal Street; and down the ramp in the photo on which Steven caught the City of New Orleans until the train is completely on BNSF/CB&Q tracks. The few times I went to New Orleans, the train then backed up and turned north into the Union Station. But a comment by Tad Dunville, "Passengers be like: "please back in please back in please back in". Nobody ever likes to take the long way around that wye." indicates sometimes it backups up to the south across the Canal Street RR Bridge then goes north in Union Station. I can understand why the passengers don't like this route. Note only would it take longer, you then have to also walk pass the head-end cars and the engines to get into the station. An outbound train would back south out of the station, around the curve to the west on BNSF/CB&Q and then go forward over the St. Charles viaduct and bridge to the IC mainline on the east side of town.

I and Aaron Sims commented that the B&OCT Bridge was down in 1988. Steven explained: "The B&OCT bridge could be occasionally found in the down position into the early 1990s. A few cars would be infrequently shuttled into and out of the last track left on the big parcel of land where Grand Central Station stood. This was done as a legal exercise to prove that the trackage and area were technically still in use."

Steven J. Brown posted

Amtrak City of New Orleans takes a right

onto the connection to the Illinois Central
at 21st Street in Chicago - July 4, 1989.
[Outbound train]
Steven J. Brown In the late 80's and early 90's
it would regularly take either way.
Option 2 is to turn south just after it crossed the 16th Street Interlocking and head southwest on what I think of as the ICwest. More accurately, it was the Chicago, Madison & Northern branch of the IC. (Between 1984 and 1996, it was the Chicago Central and Pacific. But IC bought it back.) It is on the ICwest route for just a short distance because it will turn south onto the (green) Amtrak/Metra route. Once the train is completely on the Metra track, it will backup north across the Canal Street RR Bridge to the Union Station. Steven's photo catches an outbound train using the connector from the Metra route to the ICwest route. You can see some of the remaining diamonds of the 21st Street Crossing.

The CREATE P4 Project will eliminate these convoluted paths to the Union Station for Amtrak trains using the CN/IC mainline tracks.