Saturday, June 24, 2017

CSX/L&N Banklick Trestle near Independence, KY

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, 3D Satellite, Street View)

Mark Hinsdale posted
The "Family Lines" System...
In August, 1980, some good friends and I managed to pick what had to have been the hottest, stickiest weekend in the history of the Ohio River Valley to spend railfanning in Cincinnati. While scouting out the north end of Decoursey Yard, we spotted a five unit Family Lines merchandise train that appeared to be about to depart. It was a good catch for us, and destined for the L&N "Short Line," so we headed out to the famous trestle at Independence KY to wait. And wait. And wait. After climbing all the way up there in heat and humidity one could cut with a kinife, we were not about to throw in the towel. We were finally rewarded, well over two hours later, with this view, in the hazy late afternoon sun. Photo by Mark Hinsdale

KO Tower: (Acutally Tower KO) C&NW vs. C&NW

(Satellite, Flickr)
Zachary C. Gillihan posted
All, I am looking for more information on this board, thinking Chicago area and possibly Lake Forest? Anyone have any photos of it in service?
Jon Roma As best as I can tell, the tower was built by the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee interurban when they built their Skokie Valley bypass route circa 1925.This explains the peculiar appearance compared to the typical C&NW interlocking tower. I believe it was built by CNS&M but that C&NW exercised their prerogative as senior railroad to man the tower.

The interurban abandoned in 1963, and the plant was simplified accordingly.

Incidentally, C&NW parlance was Tower "KO", not "KO" Tower. 

I do not have a closing date for "KO", but I believe its end came around 1986 after C&NW had dropped timetable and train order operation, replacing it with Direct Traffic Control.

Zachary commented on his posting
Looks like a hell of place at one time!!
Obviously the CSN&M is now the Skokie Valley Bike Path in this area.

Russ Fierce commented on the posting
Here's a picture I found. Looks like much more recent.
You can see the tower near the bottom of this aerial.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

NS/Erie Portage Bridge over Genesee River near Portageville, NY

(Bridge Hunter, Historic BridgesStreet View, Rail Pictures, Facebook Album of 13 Photos)

Sherman Cahal has written a history of the bridge at the Bridge Hunter link above.

Construction activity for its replacement has already started appearing in satellite images.
Test Train, photo taken on July 31, 1875, from Bridge Hunter
The original wrought-iron bridge looks so spindly. Obviously the rebuilds with steel in 1903 and more steel in 1944 were extensive.

HAER NY,61-PORT,1--2 from Photos from HAER NY,61-PORT,1-

Norfolk Southern Corp. (source link is broken)
Construction continues on the 900-foot replacement of the Portageville Bridge in Letchworth State Park. The new $70 million steel arch railroad bridge will be the cornerstone of a vibrant Norfolk Southern rail line that helps businesses in Buffalo and the Southern Tier regions connect with markets east and west. NS’ partnership with New York to replace the Portageville Bridge provides the foundation to better serve and support the region’s economy. 

Modjeski and Masters photo from ConstructionEquipmentGuide from posting

Friday, June 23, 2017

B&O Bridge over Wills Creek in

(3D Satellite)
This is the first of three photos posted by Mark Hinsdale with the comment:
"Cumberland's SD50's"
During my time on the CSX Cumberland Coal Business Unit, (1993-1996) which presided over the former B&O and WM coal routes in northern West Virginia, the SD50 was the mainstay of our assigned locomotive fleet. Deemed troublesome throughout their careers on Chessie and Seaboard, they finally found an application that they were suited for, as long as the mechanical pros at the CSX Cumberland Locomotive Shop could keep them close and look after them. SD50's were extensively used on both the daily coal and empty hopper trains across the torturous Mountain Subdivision between Cumberland and Grafton, as well as regular use on merchandise trains Q316 and Q317 between Cumberland MD and Russell KY. Here are a few images of the EMD's at work.
1) Westbound, crossing Wills Creek on the viaduct for which Viaduct Junction was named, Cumberland MD... 10-93
I assume this was B&O's route because it appears the Western Maryland route is now a scenic railroad. A Street View indicates that there are several more arches that from a viaduct over the valley. Another Street View shows that there are arches all the way to Centre Street.

All of that concrete to channelize Wills Creek emphasizes how dramatically mountain rivers can swell if there is a thunderstorm in its watershed. And the big base for each pier indicates that the river not only gets a lot bigger, it has a strong current.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aban/Conrail/Big Four/P&E Wooden Trestle over Prairie Creek east of Tremont

(Roger's Street View)
P&E was the Peoria & Western.

Roger Holmes posted
I really was never a fan of the Penn Central although I do have a few photos in the archives. When I heard that the PC would become a part of Conrail I decided to add a few more photos to my collection before they were gone. I had seen a photo in a book taken by the late Paul Stringham of a Peoria & Eastern freight pulled by, I believe, a pair of steam locomotives, going across a nice wooden trestle just east of Tremont, Illinois. It was easy to find and one day soon after I caught a Pekin bound freight crossing it in the late afternoon sunlight. As I was cleaning up the half century old transparency a thought entered my mind concerning the fact that the locomotives are running long hood forward. Could this be a foretelling that some day another railroad in the area that ran with long hood forward would become a part of it? I didn't think so either. © Roger A. Holmes.
Ned Carlson Didn't P&E normally run long hood forward? That's what I remember as a kid, and what I've seen in photos of the P&E, too.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dam on Hickory Creek in Joliet, IL

Red Mill (sawing and grain grinding) was "located on Hickory Creek just east of the present-day railroad overpass near the entrance to Pitcher Park." [JOLIET Transportation & Industry A PICTORIAL HISTORY by Robert E. Sterling, p11] I don't think the present day dam was for that mill because it looks too modern. Nonetheless this is probably a rather old dam because it does not have an ogee (nicely curved) spillway. Fortunately, it does have a footer.

There was a set of steps down to an observation deck that made it easy to get the first two pictures after I found a place to park in the area.
20170621 9297
[Once again, I have trouble taking a "level" photo when leaning over a railing.]

I was able to catch a glimpse of the dam through the treeline along Highland Park Drive.

When I was taking a picture of the former Rock Island bridge over Hickory Creek, I noticed that if I moved a little to my left I could see part of the spillway under the bridge.

Digitally zooming in on the spillway.

Camera resolution
BTW (By The Way) I saw and animal walking along the side of Highland Park Drive downstream of the dam. I think it was a beaver.

Metra+CSX+IAIS/Rock Island Bridge over Hickory Creek in Joliet, IL

(no Bridge Hunter?, Satellite)

This blog posting was motivated by a photo by Dillon Harrison of the NKP 765 on the bridge. He also caught the NYC Hickory Creek observation car on the bridge. One thing that struck me was how high the water was in his photo compared to the satellite image. He took his photo on June 17. My photo on June 21 is just a few days later, but the water has already receded well below the boundary in the pier between the cut-stone and the concrete.

I could see just part of the bridge by walking out onto the US-30 bridge.
20170621 9299
Digitally zooming in on the pier in the center of the photo, it appears to be concrete on top of cut stone. That typically means that a deck truss bridge was replaced by a deck steel girder bridge.

On my way back to the van, an inbound Metra commuter crossed US-30 so I grabbed a couple of shots because you need to establish if you see the engine first or last to record the direction of a commuter because they operate push-pull.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Unloading Barges, Revisited

I have described an unloading facility on the Ohio River. Since then, I have seen enough other unloading facilities, including a vacuum unloader, that it is worth revisiting the topic.

First of all, I've learned that all of the bulk transport boats on the Great Lakes are now self-unloaders. If they were not built that way, they were converted. The grain elevators of Buffalo, NY show examples of self-unloading boats including a photo essay by Brian R. Wroblewski. Note that some of the pictures of the grain elevators show the old-fashioned unloaders that are still on the side of the elevators. Bill Kloss has a photo of an iron-ore boat unloading. Again, self-unloading made the scoop-by-scoop Hulett unloaders obsolete.

20170608 9117
But waterway barges are too small and flat to justify the installation of self-unloading equipment. Many companies, such as A Block Marketing, use an excavator. (This company supplies various kinds of dirt to landscapers that is receives via barges.)
Closeup of photo 9117
Here we see that the excavator can do double duty because it can also remove and replace the covers.
The cement plant that is on the next site downstream along the canal has acquired an old crane that uses a clamshell. Note the cab is built on top of the crane's house rather than being part of it so that it is easier to look down inside the barge.

But the cement company also has an excavator. I see it also has a raised cab.

The Will County Generating Plant had two gantries along the canal to unload coal from barges. This link has photos of the north gantry.

While I was taking pictures of the BRC RR Bridge from the Pulaski Road Bridge, I noticed there was a lot of material handling piles on the south side of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

20160416 2096
When I went further south on the bridge to get photos of the BNSF/Santa Fe Nerska Yard, I also grabbed a view of the material yards.

Later I had switched to my telephoto lens (55-200) and took several shots of a northbound freight on the BRC Bridge. Fortunately for this post, some of them included the unloading operation for one of those material yards. Once again, we can see that the cab is mounted high on the excavator's house. It must be setting on a flat barge that lets it unload four material barges without any assistance from a towboat.
20160416 2127

But excavators, clamshells, and coal unloading gantries suffer the inefficiency of removing the material scoop-by-scoop. And no matter how big the scoop is, you have the problem of how do you get the last little bit out? Do you lower a skid steer into the barge? A power broom? Or, if the next load is the same material, do you just leave the bottom stuff and reduce the capacity of the barge a little bit? Scoop-by-scoop is slow and cleanup is labor intensive.

Material handling train cars have also been developed so that the contents of the train can be dumped using a boom at the end to avoid scoop-by-scoop unloading.

The Des Plaines River widens on the south end of Joliet because the river bluff curves west. While I was on the McDonough Street Bridge, I took three photos to capture the scene from east to west.

20170615 9215

Note there are 11 loaded barges parked on the east side of the river. I noticed there was movement and dust at the unloader, but the movement was subtle. It was not scoop-by-scoop unloading. So I zoomed in optically on Ozinga Material & Logistics.

Now I zoom in digitally.

I took a couple of more photos to catch that the arm was going back and forth across the width of the barge. I include just the digitally zoomed versions here.

I could see that big hose along the top of the boom with my naked eye. So I had already concluded that they were using vacuum to suck out the material. The boom goes back and forth and lower while the little dedicated towboat shoves the barge past the unloader.

Now that I can read the brand Docksider, my theory of vacuum unloading is confirmed. Evidently they are unloading cement into that large spherical tank. Ozinga has several concrete mixing plants upstream that this facility probably supplies. I have already posted a picture of the plant along Lumber Street.

Ozinga's entry gate is across from the dockside equipment so this street view allows us to see more of the unloading machinery.

Street View
Google found a video that lets us see scenes of the pipe being moved in the material to suck it out.

20170608 9077
I went back and looked at the pictures I took from this bridge the week before. An overview shows there is a set of barges parked on the east side of the river to be unloaded and a barge at the unloader. Here is a closer look from the west side of the bridge.

And a digital zoom in on the unloading. You can see the far end of the barge go up as they remove the load at that end.

And here is what it looked like when I first took pictures of McDonough Street Bridge. The yellow thing with wheels on the end is probably used to load barges. I assume it has a conveyor belt that telescopes out of that housing. It looks like they are going to unload aggregate instead of cement and that would be why an excavator is dockside. The video confirms that the vacuum unloader can be used only for fine materials like cement, pebble lime, limestone, gypsum, fly ash, soda ash, alumina, pet coke, and slag.

20150418 0304

I zoomed in on the unloader we saw above near the BRC RR Bridge to see if it had a vacuum hose. It doesn't. But it does have a lot of hydraulic circuits on the stick going down to the attachment. The attachment at the end must be more sophisticated than a standard excavator bucket. Even though it looks like there is someone in the cab, I took about a dozen pictures of the train that included this unloader, and it never moved. So it remains a mystery as to what the attachment looks like.

Safe Harbor Hydro Plant on Susquehanna River

(Satellite (26 photos), 3D Satellite)

Jack Stoner posted
On a humid and steamy June day in 1986 Conrail train MTPI - Metutchen, NJ - Pittsburgh,PA crosses the iconic PRR Low Grade trestle, (local parlance) at Safe Harbor, PA. The actual Conrail nomenclature for this line was the Enola Branch. Taken out of service in favor of the Reading RR route to northern NJ and NY and Phila. this well engineered line was downgraded, then abandoned in 1989 and finally the last iron was removed in 1990 - 91.
Birds-Eye View

In 1930 construction would commence to build the northern most of three Depression Era hydroelectric dams along the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor. Erected just above the confluence of the Conestoga River the first turbine went online in December of 1931 and by 1940 a total of seven were in operation. Two of these turbines were dedicated to generating the 25 Hz single-phase power required to feed the Pennsylvania Railroad’s newly electrified railroad. By 1938, the final phases of the electrification were complete and included the A&S, Port Road, Columbia branch and mainline west to Harrisburg. With the eastern mainline and freight network complete, power from Safe Harbor began supplying the PRR grid, with tethers of high voltage transmission lines mounted above the tracks, feeding various substations along the PRR’s electrified territory. The railroad understood the value of the Public Works project and the advantage of a renewable energy source. Today Safe Harbor operates 12 turbine generator units and continues to supply the Northeast passenger rail network today. [MichaelFroio]
A couple of years ago I remember reading an Abandoned Railroads posting about a route that had the tracks removed but the route was still intact because it carried power lines to help supply Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service. I now understand what that posting was talking about.

Trail/Conrail/Pennsy 1906 Pratt Truss and Trestle

(Bridge Hunter, Historic BridgesBirds-Eye View)

Jack Stoner posted
On a humid and steamy June day in 1986 Conrail train MTPI - Metutchen, NJ - Pittsburgh,PA crosses the iconic PRR Low Grade trestle, (local parlance) at Safe Harbor, PA. The actual Conrail nomenclature for this line was the Enola Branch. Taken out of service in favor of the Reading RR route to northern NJ and NY and Phila. this well engineered line was downgraded, then abandoned in 1989 and finally the last iron was removed in 1990 - 91.
Collection of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society, Columbia, PA. from Conestogo River Bridge
[I didn't notice that all of the piers were cut stone until I saw this photo.]
HAER PA,36-SAHAR,1--9 from HAER PA,36-SAHAR,1-
Even though Conrail abandoned it, Norfolk Southern got it when Conrail was split up between NS and CSX.