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?


Update:
Ken Jamin posted
Circus folk were at home wherever they went. Note the TV satellite dishes clamped to the coaches where they lived.
Marvin Curry The cars with the elephants would rock.
Tadeus Seremeth When I worked at the Providence and Worcester had the red and blue train come in back to back
One went to Providence the other stayed in Worcester.

Eddy Worsham RBB&B employ their own circus Trainmaster..?he supervises the spotting on first day and the loading on the last day ?
Vernon Clark Eddy Worsham 
And he was better than a Cs&x trainmaster.

Richard Woodruff the one I met knew the cars and the airbrake system on them (relay system), train carried its own parts, cold early morning changing valves on the car that carried the elephants, ......if I understood the train had its own zip code.
Ken Jamin And while we're on the subject of circus trains, an opr at CN (former EJ&E) West Chicago tower once told me about an incident that happened there many years earlier, shortly after a circus train had passed. It seems that elephant droppings fell into the switch points, causing it to jam and delaying a commuter train. When the operator reported the cause of the delay to the dispatcher, the DS initially refused to accept the explanation, saying, “I can’t show ‘elephant s**t’ as the cause of delay to a passenger train!”
Ken Jamin There was a story which appeared in the Milwaukee Road employees magazine about an elephant that grabbed the condrs copy of the orders out of the order crane at Davis Jct. IL while the circus train was slowly going around one leg of the wye. The quick-thinking opr ran back into the depot, got the ofc. copy and hung it in the crane in time for the condr to grab it.
Arnold R Thompson When they came to OKC the women performers had little wading pools they brought out and filled with water and laid in for the summer heat and for a tan too I guess.
Steve Maday They used to park the circus train at Galewood in Chicago when it was at the United Center.
Ken Jamin I think this was at Schiller Park.
Steve Maday Saw the people walking up and down the right of way going to the store or going to do laundry. I worked out of a trailer at Galewood.
Mike Heiligstedt Saw them at Galewood a few times.
Gregor Hartung Sr In Chicago when parked in Galewood yard you could see bikes and chairs about the side of the train. 
I had been called to put it together then move it across the Chicago area to hand off to another crew that was moving it south for the winter 2005/6 era.

Phillip Peterson Saw it in the early 1970’s in Raleigh, NC. Evidently, the elephants had rolled a car at some point. [As in turned it over onto its side?]

Brian Myers yes we all were looking . Ray and they were there Once while working the train coming for Glidden we stopped and while walking the Circus train and Elephant slapped me in the back of the head with his trunk, was not expecting this wow and now these train are gone. 
Joe Meyer I was walking the train at night checking handbrakes + a Loins stuck him paw out !! Scared the stuff out of Me !!
Ken Jamin Joe Meyer my boss said he had a panther almost claw him in the dark while he was yarding a circus train.
Rudy A Garcia i ran one from Austin to Hearne. elephant set off wide load detector with it’s trunk.
Ken Jamin Somebody (engr, condr) once told me that the elephants would "tease" the signal masts with their trunks, as though they were going to grab it, only to pull away at the last second.
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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."

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Update:
Arthur Robinson commented on a posting
Photo of 1882 bridge from U.S. Geological Survey
Steven J. Brown posted
BNSF SD70MAC 9650 (built 1995) provides relief from the parade of orange at Canyon Diablo, Arizona - January 18, 2019.
Steven J. Brown posted
BNSF ES44C4 8111 leads across the bridge at Canyon Diablo, Arizona - January 18, 2019.

Francis Otterbein posted three photos with the comment:
Canyon Diablo Bridge (Now and Then)
Canyon Diablo, also known as the “Devil’s Canyon”, is located on a Navajo Reservation in north central Arizona. The town of Diablo Canyon used to exist where the BNSF Railway now spans the deep canyon west of Winslow, Arizona
The town of Canyon Diablo was very short lived with a very dark and seedy history. The town sprang up as a railroad work camp on the west side of the canyon in 1882.

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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......
Update:
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.

It looks like the height is near the limit of a fireboat.
RAILROAD BRIDGES, TRESTLES, TUNNELS AND CUTS posted, Photo by Susquehanna Hose Co.
What happens when there's a fire on a railroad bridge crossing a river? The good news here is that it was put out and rail traffic has resumed. Hats off to all fire responders.
This was on the CSX bridge that crosses the Susquehanna River.
Walter Haner Good on the FD. Not everyone coulda put that out. That would have been a MAJOR loss for the NEC

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.
TVAdam
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
TVAprevent

Barry Thornberry posted
"Construction on Chickamauga Dam"

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.

TVAprevent
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.
TVAprevent
Nate Morello posted three photos. The one in the foreground is a MLC300 and the one in the background is a 999. The site also has an 888.
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Keldon Corbin Davis posted
Ben Stalvey Neat MLC 300 hard at it
Keldon Corbin Davis Ben StalveyAECOMS getting started on the lock project at Chickamaga lock and dam TN
Jim Paris This irritates me to no end! I am a firm believer in NOT overlifting. There is no reason ( from this picture) for that tug to be that high in the air!
Jim Browne Its a cool pic but that was my first reaction. "Why is it so high up?"
Gordon Veitch Every time i have seen these boom’s erected i feel they are going to snap such a sag but up to now none
Gordon
Keldon Corbin Davis Gordon Veitch carry a little belly don’t they lol



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
Can_factory_workers_crimping_on_can_ends,_published_1909
[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".
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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

(Satellite)
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.
Douglas Wood shared Thomas Hawk Flickr 2017 Photo, CC BY-NC 2.0
Chicago
Dennis DeBruler This is in Chicago looking north from 18th Street over the former Pennsy tracks, now Amtrak. Amtrak's locomotive service facilities are to the right. The two tracks curving to the left connect to BNSF/CB&Q. https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../jefferson...

Mike Breski posted
GTW/PC, Chicago, Illinois, 1971
Dick Jensen's ex-Grand Trunk Western 4-6-2 steam locomotive no. 5629 on Penn Central at 18th Street roundhouse in Chicago, Illinois, on July 5, 1971. Photograph by John F. Bjorklund, © 2016, Center for Railroad Photography and Art. Bjorklund-79-09-21
[The comments are about the steam engine being scrapped by Metra. But I was surprised that there was a roundhouse here. It turns out the "roundhouse" is a rectangular building. The building on the left is CB&Q Commissary and Crooks Terminal Warehouse at 15th and Canal.]
USGS 1972 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000


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.