Tuesday, February 28, 2017

UP Steam and Circus Train

Screenshot at -1:20, skip to about -1:33
Looks like our final UP hauled contract days for the once worldwide loved Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. The famed circus is closing the curtains for good this May 2017. Here is video from train in Colorado.
The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus removed elephants from their act a year or so ago. Now the circus itself is closing its curtains for good in May 2017. The UP got out their Challenger to make its last ride a memorable one. Note in the video that the train had two auxiliary water tankers because not every town has a water tower like they did in the age of steam. The diesel is probably for "protection." (It can move the train in case the steam locomotive breaks down. UP does not like its tracks tied up.) It might also provide the Head End Power (HEP) for the UP passenger cars. It looks like the steam team itself has four cars including a dome car. So some UP executives and/or PR people were probably along for this ride. It looks like this was the "Red" circus train. The circus ran two trains each year --- red and blue. They both are long, even without the elephants. The railcars are not compatible with Amtrak cars. The circus converted and maintained the cars themselves to their own standards. The size of a persons living quarters depended on his or her status. The manager had a suite for his family. It was essentially a house on wheels. The stars had more "real estate" than crew members. What will become of all of these specialized railroad cars is an open question among railfans.

I wonder if the PETA people, or whoever was responsible for effectively destroying the big circus, ever spent some time with the elephants. My experience is that some animals like working with people and like doing what they understand to be useful work. One of my daughter's horses liked going to horse shows so much that he could tell when he had been taken to a show and would get excited about it. (He could also tell when he had been taken to the university's vet clinic, and he would have a very different reaction.) Her horse would also escape from stalls, not because he wanted his freedom, but because he wanted to show how clever he was. He never took off very far. And, after spending a few minutes demonstrating that you couldn't catch him if he didn't want to be caught, he would walk back into to the stall.

So which industry lost more jobs in 2017 --- circus or coal?

Canyon Diablo RR Bridges

(no Bridge Hunter, Satellite, you can see the arch in the shadow)
Public Domain from wpclipart
Jeerry Jackson posted two photos with the comment: "Canyon Diablo, yesterday 2.23.17."


Arthur Robinson commented on a posting
Photo of 1882 bridge from U.S. Geological Survey

CSX/B&O Bridge over Susquehanna River at Perryville, MD

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges (Nathan contributed to Bridge Hunter), Satellite, Birds-Eye View)
Built 1907-09 by Baltimore & Ohio RR as double-track bridge and opened January 6, 1910, later single-tracked. [BridgeHunter]

Jack Stoner posted
MW [Maintenance of Way] season approaches as CSX moves rail east over the Susquehanna River Bridge at Perryville, MD February 18, 2017. Hot move also, (apparently), because the DS had an Intermodal "In the Hole" at Aiken waiting for this action and a CSX manifest to go east before cutting the westbound "Hotshot" loose. Hmmmmmm?
[It is interesting that a rail train would have priority over an intermodal train. The more I see of CSX, the lower my opinion of them becomes. Rail is something they should have been able to plan well in advance. If there was an emergency like a washout, they would probably be shipping "snaptrack" instead of continuous ribbon rail.]
Jack Stoner posted
Sometimes the train is far from the subject of the image; or, well it's just there. Not a Professional Engineer by trade, still I have always been awed by the massive loading and long spans of railway bridges. Star of the show here is the B&O Susquehanna River Bridge, Perryville, MD, (completed 1910); in my opinion, a huge work of art in steel & stone. Coming east off of Garrett Island in the transition from Deck Girder to Pratt Deck Truss, CSX 6157/6236 ply the now single track 107 year old structure. Minutes later I photographed two GEVO's at the same location, sorry GE fans, seeing as engineering works of art are on display here; the Geeps win out.

Jack Stonere posted
I always liked this unglamorous, gritty, workaday, waterfront image at the east end of the B&O Susquehanna River Bridge at Perryville, MD; so I did it again today - sorry to bore everyone......
Jack Stoner posted
A heavy eastbound CSX manifest treads the 107 year old B&O Susquehanna River Bridge Perryville, MD 2/18/17.
Jack seems to be inconsistent about the use of Havre de Grace vs. Perryville for this bridge that goes between the two towns.

Jack Stoner posted
CSX train Q219 rumbles east across the 6109 foot, (longest on the B&O system), Susquehanna River Bridge at Havre de Grace, MD. and is about to cross over Garrett Island named for B&O President John W. Garrett who was instrumental in the B&O crossing of the Susquehanna River. After previously using trackage rights on the parallel PW&B bridge, (Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore), a (PRR) affiliate; the B&O originally bridged the river on this same site in 1886, the present structure opened in 1910, is double tracked and capable of a much heavier loading. Photo 3/5/17

Jack Stoner posted
CSX train Q219 rumbles east across the B&O Susquehanna River Bridge at Havre de Grace, MD on a cold and blustery March 5, 2017. At 6109 feet, this structure was the longest continuous bridge span on the B&O system. Opened in 1910, this bridge replaced the original (1886) viaduct at the same site.
Jack Stoner posted
At 6109 feet, the Susquehanna River Bridge was the longest on the B&O system; completed in 1910 on the same alignment as the original 1886 structure, it originally carried 2 tracks. With the B&O's single tracking of the Philadelphia Sub Division after discontinuance of passenger service here; the viaduct now bares 1 track. Eastbound CSX Intermodal rumbles across a frigid Susquehanna River at Perryville, MD January 31, 2015.
River Rail Photo posted the last circus train crossing this bridge. It must be a drone shot because there are no skyscrapers on Garret Island.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Chickamauga Dam in Tennessee River in Chattanooga, TN

(3D Satellite)
While studying "Tenbridge," I discovered this dam.
The 60-by-360-foot lock at Chickamauga lifts and lowers river craft about 50 feet between Nickajack and Chickamauga reservoirs. [TVAdam]

GeoCaching, construction started in 1936 and it began operations in 1940
Deep Zoom has some more construction pictures.

The dam was designed in a way that allowed a larger 110 feet (34 m) x 600 feet (180 m) lock to be installed if increases in river traffic ever required it. [GeoCaching] I noticed when I looked at the satellite image that the lock seemed rather small. I confirmed that it can pass only one barge at a time instead of the 9 that a 600x110 lock can pass or the 15-barge tow that a 1200x110 lock can handle. I also noticed the cofferdam big enough for a new lock, but no other signs of construction. In fact, construction stopped in 2012 and the batch concrete plant was removed because of a lack of funding. [TimesFreePress2016] But in this case a new lock is also needed because the old one is falling apart faster than normal. It suffers from "concrete growth:"
Chickamauga Lock has growing concrete in it's structure, which is a reaction between the alkali in the cement and the minerals in the stone. This growing concrete has brought many problems – in some places large chunks of concrete have broken loose from the lock walls – and because the massive blocks that make up the lock have expanded at different rates, the top of the structure is uneven. Lengthwise, the lock has actually grown five inches inside the lock chamber. The approach walls have grown even more. Corps of Engineers and TVA working together continues making temporary repairs to the project spending large maintenance dollars. Corps and TVA have determined that Chickamauga Lock does have a finite life. [usace]
This has caused problems that have shutdown the lock completely such as "a crack in a steel support beam on the upper gate" in 2014. The government is having to waste a lot of money doing serious maintenance work on this like every year the new lock is delayed. [TimesFreePress2014] Fortunately for the eastern Tennessee economy, congress has chosen to fund the Olmsted Dam cost overruns out of the general fund so that money from the Waterways Trust Fund can be used to replace other locks in the nation such as this one and the Kentucky Dam Lock. This PDF file describes both the Kentucky and Chickamauga Lock projects. Of note is the "cofferdam stabilization." Does it need to be stabilized because it has set for four years or because that would have been the next phase of construction anyhow? The USACE also has a page concerning the new lock construction.

Note above that GeoCaching indicated the dam was designed to allow a bigger lock to be built. I have to wonder if the current design was the one that was envisioned in 1936. It seems dangerous to remove about a third of the spillway capacity. Or maybe they don't need as big a spillway now that more dams with flood control reservoirs have been built upstream.

I'm reminded that this is a TVA dam because, like the Kentucky Dam, I'm having a hard time figuring out how the spillway gates work. This is my current best guess.

Looking at Phil Thach's photo and the ones below, it appears there are two sluice gates in each bay, one on top of the other. They normally raise the upper gate and let water squirt out between the two gates.

Note that there are no gates in the side rail. This must be a construction photo taken before they installed the gates, and we are looking at the normal river flow passing through the spillway structure.
Alamy has 102 pictures of the dam including several with the gates at flood stage. When shut, they do completely stop the flow.

Early Electric Motors and Alternators

John Abbott posted
Westinghouse factory workers
Randall Thompson commented on the above posting
This is a Westinghouse generator from about 1910, in the Ames Power Station near Telluride Colorado. Over to the right side in the picture, there appears to be similar units under construction.

John Abbott posted
James Miller Direct-driven compressor (Dynamo) 128 pole or as few as 16 poles. (1880)

John Abbott posted
[This looks like a line-shaft driven machine that was converted to electric power by having the motor turn the belt pulley.]
John Abbott posted
Matt A Kutz shared
Paul Maciulaitis image title is Woman at BASF gas engine power house in 1917
[The comments point out that it looks like the alternator is turning fast because of a slow shutter speed. The woman is holding a pose while the picture is being taken. The wheel of that size is probably turning at 60-80 rpm. An example of a large, slingle-crank gas engine.]

Jeff Mullier posted four pictures with the comment:
Some pages that may be of interest from a 1928 Metropolitan Vickers book "The Trafford Park Works of the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company Ltd, Manchester".




Fairbanks-Morse also made alternators as well as engines.

Western Electric made alternators as well as phones.

1907 alternators were installed when the MWRD Powerhouse was built.

PRR's 55th Street Yard

(Satellite, Pennsy's engine servicing facilities used to be on the southeast part of what is now a Norfolk Southern yard )
Bob Lalich commented on Alexander Gerdow's posting
PRR passenger steam locomotives were serviced at 55th St Yard. The roundhouse was on the north side of "The Boulevard". Freight steam was serviced at 59th St Yard. This is a photo of 55th St roundhouse.
[I believe we see the top of the skip hoist for the coal tower in the foreground.]
1938 Aerial Photo form ILHAP
Pennsy's (originally Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway) yard would be on the east side of this complex. The C&WI ran along the western side. Below is a closeup of the engine servicing facilities.

1938 Aerial Photo form ILHAP
David Daruszka commented on Alexander Gerdow's posting
55th Street engine facilities.
Bob Lalich Flickr 1986 Photo, C&NW transfer at 47th (CPL and PLS signals) to this yard

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jefferson Connection and turning Amtrak trains

Mark Hinsdale posted
Taken from the "steps," @ MH, westbound Amtrak Train #3,
 the "Southwest Chief," begins its trek to Southern California,
 as UP #1938 patiently waits for a signal to cross over the 
BNSF Chicago Subdivision and return to Global One at Wood Street.
Seldom is a connector so important that it is named. Normally they are referred to as a quadrant of a junction. But Bob Dietz comments in Mark's posting taught me that the south leg of the wye that Amtrak uses to turn its trains is called the Jefferson Connection. It connects the BNSF/CB&Q route with the Metra+NS/Pennsy route. Another indication of its importance is that it is double tracked. It might be as heavily used today as it was back in the heyday of railroading.
Bob Dietz commented on the above posting
Here is an Amtrak using the Jefferson Connection to head south across the Canal Street RR Bridge.

20150513 1491
That train had previously backed out of Union Station onto the BNSF/CB&Q tracks. (Note the train washing building on the right side of this picture.)

Below is a closeup of the above picture so that you can also see the BNSF commuter train under the viaduct for the St. Charles Air Line Bridge. You can also see the two tracks of the Jefferson Connection in the foreground.

The Amtrak train stopped on the bridge while the turnout behind it was thrown.

Closeup of the picture on the right

Then it backed up north to Amtrak's service facility (below). And then I discovered the camera would not take any more pictures because the battery was low. (I'm learning that it goes from "two bars" to "won't work" rather quickly.) I think it was heading to the train washing building, but, since I couldn't take any more pictures, I did not wait around to confirm its destinations because these trains movements are slow.

Another Amtrak turning movement from Ping Tom Memorial Park on May 13, 2015
As Mark's photo illustrates, the Jefferson Connection is also used by UP to transfer intermodal cars between its Global One and Canalport yards.

The Jefferson Connection is also used for runthroughs between BNSF and NS. This was an eastbound oil train crossing the bridge with three BNSF engines. It also taught me that you need to go to Ping Tom Park during the morning. May 13 was a special trip to retake pictures of this bridge with a morning sun and blue sky.

20150502 0685rcb +50+50
A later picture showing it was an oil train. (Actually, it could have been an ethanol train. There is no way I'm going to read the placard from this distance.)
Update: This is the west end of the connection taken from Canal Street.
20170421 8717
Steven J. Brown posted
Metra F40PH 112 heads for Aurora at 16th and Canal in Chicago - August 12, 2017.
[The track in the foreground is part of the Jefferson Connection. The train is going under the viaduct for the St. Charles Air Line Birdge]

20161021 6536
The green tinge is because this photo was taken from an upper seat in a commuter car as it went around the north leg of this wye. We can see the two tracks of the Jefferson Connection on the right. Obviously, the middle of the why is used for storage of ballast and ties.

Previous notes show pictures of the turning movement with timestamps so that you can get a feel for how long it takes. (And because I forgot I wrote them.)

Arthur Gross Flickr Photo showing Conrail and BN engines pulling a train onto the BN. (source)

cmraseye Flickr 2010 Photo caught a UP special on the connection. It is probably headed south on the CN+UP/GM&O because he caught it again on the Kankakee bridge in Wilmington.

UP trackage rights on BNSF

John Poshepny posted
Westbound SPCSL train in the mid-90's (I THINK 94) rolling thru Downers Grove. Taken by my Dad and shared with permission.
Lawrence Owen That's an interesting lash up even for the BN era on the triple track.
A Cotton Belt, Rio Grande, Conrail, and maybe a Southern Pacific.

Dennis DeBruler I assume UP has trackage rights on the Racetrack because SP had them. In what city did the SP run-throughs enter CB&Q territory?
John Poshepny KC. It was a KC-Brookfield-West Quincy-Galesburg-Aurora-Cicero.
This was the CB&Q route that used the southern branch out of Galesburg to Quincy. Later, UP used these trackage rights on the Racetrack to haul container trains to its Canalport Yard. But they could run those trains only at night so that they would not interfere with BNSF's commuter, Amtrak, and freight traffic. Thus you will not see any railfan pictures of that action. Since UP has now bought C&NW, I doubt if they use these rights anymore.

Mark Hinsdale posted
Mark Hinsdale  I do not know about the one time SP rights over the Racetrack (Chicago SD) but UP still exercises its former SP rights over the Transcon (Chillicothe SD) [Santa Fe] from Kansas City to Chicago. I'm not aware that they operate east of Global Four at Joliet anymore, because of some strict on-off language in what SP was afforded, but they likely retain those rights. The rights were originally constructed to afford SP access via the Santa Fe into the IMX Facility west of Bridgeport, that had long been abandoned and redeveloped. BNSF is resolute about the interpretation of those rights allowing access to IMX only, making UP movements over the Chillicothe SD east of Joliet useless, for the most part.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

River Rouge Steel Plant

Henry Ford believed in "vertical integration." That means, he not only made cars, he made the things that made cars like steel. He even had his own railroad. I believe it was Detroid, Toledo & Ironton. Elvin Howland posted five pictures of the steel operation, each with their own comment.

1:  To All: Newly poured slabs ready for the rolling mill in the Ford Rouge Steel Plant. Taken in the 1970's. Photo by Elvin Howland.
2:  To All: A bottle car being filled with molten steel in the Rord Rouge Steel Plant. It was raining that day. Photo by Elvin Howland.
3:  To All: The quench tower being used to cool down a hopper load of coke in the Ford Rouge Steel Plant. Taken in the 1970's. Photo by Elvin Howland.
4:  Ditto. Photo by Elvin Howland.

5:  To All: A Ford Switcher pulling a mill gondola in the Ford Rouge Steel Plant. Taken in the 1970's. Photo by Elvin Howland. I worked under contract for Ford Motor Co. to clean their directional signs and the Ford oval sign on the coke tower. This sign was 200 feet off the ground and was 90 feet long by 35 feet high. While up there I saw a nine locomotive Conrail freight go by. Outsiders were not allowed to have a camera in the plant, but I sneaked one in and took these photos. This plant was one of the largest in the word, being self contained, with an electric plant, blast furnaces, and an auto plant and other facilities. In WW II the plant built Liberty Ships.
Aaron Angle They actually did not build liberty ships at the Rouge plant during WWII. They did however build Eagle Boats, which were submarine chasers, there in WWI. These are great photos. Thanks for posting them.
John Abbott posted
River Rouge Ford Plant 1927
Robert Hagar I use to work there.
Straight ahead would be where the BOF (Basic Oxygen Furnace) and mold room will be built.
To the very hard right is Gate 1. 
This is where the big water tower would stand. 
This was torn down after the Russian steel co. took over the steel operations.
The highline was to the right bank of the channel where they unloaded the ships. (The highline was an elevated railroad where they unloaded the coalcars from the bottom.) 
The coke batteries were to the lower right of the picture.
The road to the right which would lead to Gate 1 leads to the building I first worked in.
The EE bldg. It is hard to tell but may be in the picture.
I also worked in the BOF mold room.
Robert Hagar The buldings to the left were assembly buildings and when I worked at the mold room I would walk through them.
Some were abandoned but others were in use.
The metal shop was over there and they would do all kinds of sheetmetal work.
John Abbott posted
River Rouge Ford Plant 1930's
3D Satellite
A time-lapse video of the Herbet C. Jackson being pulled out of the Ford slip and then going down the Rouge River until it gets into the Detroit River.

Kevin Pollock shared a SkyLit photo with the comment: "Patricia Hoey bunkering the Kaye E. Barker last night as she finishes offloading iron ore at AK Steel."
Ron Hawkins Bunkering is the act of fueling a vessel, perhaps from the days of coal when it was stored in a 'bunker'. The barge is what the fuel oil is carried in, the tug merely pushes it around. When the switch from coal to 'heavy' oil was done, this heavy fuel oi was called 'Bunker C', or sometimes '#6 fuel oil'
Nancy Schrader Keith It's a gorgeous night shot of the freighter, Kaye E Barker sitting by the dock at AK Steel (the River Rouge complex near Dearborn), finishing being refueled thanks to the fuel barge City of Detroit, which is being guided into correct positions by the tug, Patricia Hoey. Think I have it now...