Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hesston Steam Museum's Stationary Steam Engine Exhibit


Every Labor Day Weekend a visit to the Hesston Steam Museum is special because they have all of their equipment running. I went the first year I got a digital camera, 2014, and took so many pictures and videos that I haven't been able to figure out how to present them. A partial solution is to start with their display of three stationary steam engines that are run from a single boiler because I need a picture of the 10-foot flywheel for another posting.

I started with taking a video that walks around the exhibit.
(new window)

Then I took some stills of each of the engines.

20140831 0060

This was another genset on the grounds, but it no longer operates

 I took a couple of pictures to catch the movement of the crank and the dot on the flywheel.
 A closeup of the Corliss valve gear so that it would be brighter with less back lighting and because that is the main feature of a Corliss steam engine.

Mississippi Dams and Locks #26, Alton, IL

(John Weeks III New; see below for the Satellite; Birds-Eye View, note that they have the main lock bulk headed because they are having to already do repairs to the lift gate. Since the repairs are being done during the shipping season, they are probably emergency repairs. That is, something broke already. It is a good thing they built the second lock!)

1941 Aerail Photo from ILHAP
The old dam has been replaced by a new dam about two miles downstream. So I have to use an old aerial photo to show the original dam. It was opened in 1938, but the longest lock was 600 feet, and it was creating a traffic jam of tows waiting to lock through. So construction began on the replacement Melvin Price Locks and Dam began in 1979 and the main 1200x110 lock was opened in 1989 and the old dam was demolished the next year. The auxiliary 600x110 lock was completed in 1994. The new dam has an enhanced visitor center called the National Great Rivers Museum.

HAER IL-31 has a pictures of the old dam and the two old truss bridges just downstream from it. HAER also has documented the construction of the new dam as IL-32. The railroad bridge has been abandoned and removed while the US-67 bridge has been replaced with a cable stay bridge.

[WikipediaOld, WikipediaNewJohn Weeks III]

You can still see where the west end of the dam terminated. John Weeks III explains that the old dam suffered from holes being scoured in the bedrock. "The structure was also prone of large movements during high water." If water could move the dam, I'm surprised they waited over a half-century before replacing it!
Mike O'Neal posted
Park downtown Alton the train bridge is gone and a new Alton bridge is in place today the train bridge would open and close on the lock and Dan 26 to let the boats go through. The dam 26 is move down the river about a haft mile.
[This is just one of the construction photos from HAER IL-31]

James Vaughn commented on Michael's post
Melvin Price Lock and Dam 1980

Dave's comment:
To all the folks in Jersey and Madison counties,,check out this photo of Chautauqua from the bluffs facing east,,notice the river level before the lock and dam in Alton,Illinois

Birds-Eye View
The bluffs don't look as big, and then I realized that was his point. They must have piled a lot of dirt on top of those old railroad tracks to make an embankment for IL-100. I wonder how frequently that road gets flooded.

I include a satellite image of the main structures of the new dam because it caught a 15-barge tow entering the main lock.
J Clear caught the 110x42 feet Tainter gates in a raised position so that the river can run freely. It looks like the bottom of the gates have been badly damaged even though this is a relatively new dam. These gates look like a new covered truss design, and it appears the new design has failed. (The "link" in the caption gives you access to higher-resolution copies of this picture.)
By J Clear (talk) - I created this work entirely by myself., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
HAER reports:
Lock and Dam No. 26R represent the present state of the art in river navigation control works. The basic components of the installation are comparable to those utilized in the 1930s. The most striking difference between the older installations and Lock and Dam No. 26R is the immense size of the new structures. The significance of the new installation is not limited to its size. Throughout the design and construction process, the Corps of Engineers and the various contractors have engaged in an extensive program of computer-assisted design, testing, and evaluation. These sophisticated studies represent perhaps the most significant difference between the older structures and Lock and Dam No. 26(R). 
The condition of those gates indicates designing with "engineer's gut feeling" is better than design by computer.

Clark's photo shows seven of the nine gates. The other two are between the two locks. I've never seen that before. This design strikes me as bad. There is the issue of increased construction costs because more guide walls need to be built because the locks don't share a wall. But there is also the operational issue that when those two gates are open, it creates an outdraft for the main lock. You can tell they are worried about an outdraft causing problems because of the two big, round buffers they built upstream of the gates. The HAER report implies that the lock was built on H-piles driven down to bedrock. Maybe the bedrock was significantly higher further from the shore to warrant the cost of extra guide walls. Also, they probably open these two gates only if the river flow is so high that the other 7 gates can't pass it. Maybe by that time the flow level on the river is so high that most shipping is shut down anyhow.

The upstream gate of the 1200' lock is a lift-gate instead of a miter gate. So this joins the list of the the Keokuk (#19) Lock and Lockport Lock as the three dams I know of that use a lift gate instead of a miter gate for the upstream side. I still have not found out why a lift gate would be used.

Update: During the 2017 flood, water covered the fixed part of the dam and was on part of the road on the levee on the MO side. On the Illinois side, the Great River Road and railroad by the bluffs were under water. And water was up to the mill.
Screenshot from 5/4/2017 video posted by KMOV
Robert G. Gunn Jr. posted
Railroad bridge into Alton, Il.

Monday, January 30, 2017

UP/C&EI Trestle over Kaskaskia River in Shelbyville, IL

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, Satellite, the shadows show the height of the towers.)

(Update: I have taken my own photos and a video of a train crossing the bridge.)

Edward Wayne Bridges posted
Steven Johnston commented on the above posting
Big 4 bridge with the C&EI in the background. I remember in the late 80's kids used to go on it to drink and hang out. They said there was big gaps in it you could fall through. I went to the edge of it one time but looked too scary for me to try it. Wish I'd taken pics.
Jacob Hortenstine posted with better resolutionz/td>

Dan Tracy posted
Southbound Mopac at Shelbyville IL 11-28-84.
Gary Dill Some serious weight here with 6 units!
[I contributed some photos in the comments.]
Dave Durham posted
C&EI Kaskaskia River Bridge at Shelbyville, Illinois, 1914.
Dennis DeBruler https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../upc-trestle...

Amber Lynne posted three photos with the comment: "Kaskaskia river just south of Shelbyville."
Robert Smith Not abandoned used about every 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes all day everyday.



C&NW 1869 Tiffany Stone Arch Bridge over Turtle Creek near Darien, WI

(Bridge Hunter, J.R. Manning has a nice description of the bridge; Historic BridgesHAER; Satellite, 61+ photos)

Photo from HAER WIS,53-TIF,1--1 from wi0190
1. VIEW OF NORTH FACE, LOOKING SOUTH - Chicago & North Western Railway Bridge No. 128, Spanning Turtle Creek, Tiffany, Rock County, WI

C&NWHS posted
We, at the C&NW archives, really like this photo of the Turtle Creek bridge just south of the little community of Tiffany, Wisconsin on the line from Janesville to Harvard, Illinois. We are on the downstream side of the bridge (anti ice flow buttresses on the other side) so we are looking to the northeast and the locomotive is pulling its consist inbound toward Harvard. Writing on the back dates the C&NW company publicity photo to "about 1931." The bridge and the track are still in use.
Flickr user OldOnliner from Bridge Hunter, CC BY-NC-ND
Ted Gregory posted

Jim Kobrinetz took this photo 30 years ago

An aerial photo of it.

C&NW Wells Street Yard and Freight House

When the Galena and Chicago Union first built from Chicago, they had to start west of the North Branch because river men and warehouse owners influenced the Chicago governing body to pass a law that kept the G&CU west of the river. But when they realized that farmers were going to the railroad anyhow, they quickly changed their mind and allowed what became the C&NW to cross the river. In addition to building a railroad along the north side of the river, they built a passenger terminal and freight facilities between Wells Street and the bridge across the North Branch.

Excerpt form 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 328
Another map indicates they had dock facilities on Wolf Point. I included the State Street Yard as well since it easily fits on this page even though this excerpt is at full resolution.

Excerpt from Engineering Diagram
Back then, the Kinzie bridge over the North Branch would have been very busy because most trains, passenger and freight, terminating in Chicago crossed that bridge. By 1938 there was not enough land to handle the traffic, so they built a new passenger depot west of the river. The Wells Street Depot was torn down to make room for the Merchandise Mart. But the freight house still stood. And tracks went through the Mart to serve the State Street Yard, Sun Times Building, Ogden Slip, and Navy Pier.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

C&NWHS posted
How did all those Christmas present orders get to those small C&NW communities across the road's service area? Part of the answer is here at the C&NW's Wells Street transfer shed. Boxes, barrels and crates either came or went through here (see posting below). This is how things got done before FedEx and UPS. The building in the background is, of course, the newly opened Merchandise Mart.
[Looking East. The bridge and the mainline to Navy Pier are to the right of this photo.]

C&NWHS posted
This is an interior photo of the C&NW freight transfer station at Wells Street where it connects to the Merchandise Mart. This photo dates from the mid 1930s. These guys were the FedEx and UPS of their day. The photo is held at the archives of the C&NW Historical Society.

C&NWHS posted
This is a photo of the Wells Street Chicago freight transfer shed. This is how Christmas orders got shipped in the mid 1930s. Note the box car which will be either loaded or unloaded at the right of the photo. If it is being loaded, it will be sent out to the community were all the orders came from. This was the modern product shipping facility of it's day.
ChicagoSwitching (source)

David Daruszka commented on a post
The North Western maintained a freight yard at the Mart, which was originally designed as a warehouse.

Jeff Bransky posted two images with the comment:
There once was a freight yard under the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. You can see the outline and support columns of the Mart and loading docks in the first photo. The second image shows the yard before the Mart existed.The Wells Street Station and the old RR swing bridge are also shown. The second photo shows that, at that time, the Kinzie Street Bridge was also a swing bridge, as was, the Wells Street Bridge.


Jon Roma posted
This is something I had the great fortune to stumble onto at a swap meet some 20+ years ago – a track plan diagram of the interlocking for Chicago & North Western's Wells Street station.

This station sat on the site now occupied by the Merchandise Mart, and served as C&NW's headquarters and downtown passenger and freight terminal until the new Chicago Passenger Terminal at Madison and Canal was opened in June 1911. That terminal is now known to the public as Ogilvie Transportation Center.

There are PDFs of this map on my website at https://www.jonroma.net/signaling/plans/na/#chicago-north-western.  The old passenger terminal must have been a challenge to operate, with only a two-track lead, the movable bridge, and the Milwaukee Road crossing at grade immediately west of the river. That crossing appears not to have been part of the interlocking depicted here, so it would have involved every train making a statutory stop.

David Daruszka commented on Jon's post
Here's a signal diagram for the station and tracks leading out. It appears that crossing was signaled.
[I think David is referring to the Milwaukee Road crossing that Jon mentioned in his comment.]
Jon Roma I have not been to the library yet to find the original, but I did grab across the Google scanned articles – there are two, one covering each of the two divisions!

Apropos of the Milwaukee Road crossing on the west bank of the Chicago River, I found the following:

"This tower controls all possible movements into and out of the yard from all approaches. The drawing shows the crossing on Canal street, which is that of the Evanston division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Road provided with signals and derailing switches. While this is incorporated in the plan of the signaling, it is not the intention to at the present, put this into service."

I've extracted and put the PDFs onto my website:
Part 1: https://www.jonroma.net/.../Interlocking%20and%20Block...
Part 2: https://www.jonroma.net/.../Interlocking%20and%20Block...

Patrick McNamra commented on Jon's post

Xavier Quintana posted a February, 1977 photo of Wolf Point. You can see the Holiday Inn that replaced the freight house.