Friday, March 31, 2017

McCool Junction: Aban/EJ&E vs. CSX/B&O

(Satellite, Track Diagram)      The EJ&E Porter branch is now the Prairie Duneland Trail.
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)

Scott Griffith posted
1945 diamond at McCool IN. with the B&O.

Ken Durkel commented on the above posting
Looking west with McCool Road in the foreground. M.D. McCarter photo.
Ken Durkel also posted
McCool, Indiana. Now part of Portage. B&O/EJ&E crossing. Train is eastbound, McCool Road is the grade crossing. M.D. McCarter photo.
Ken Durkel commented on the above posting
A summary of some comments by Wayne Hudak and Daniel Kopack on another Ken Durkel posting have some history of the junction and J line:
The B&O came through McCool in 1874. The J ended at McCool in 1888 and was finished to Porter in 1893. Originally, the Indiana portion of the J was to build from Valparaiso to the IL state line. They considered going to LaPorte.
Ken Durkel commented on the above posting
Another at McCool.
Ken Durkel also posted
McCool, Indiana. M.D. McCarter photo. Westbound B&O.

Ken Durkel commented on the above posting
And one more as a westbound moves across the EJ&E Porter Branch. Again an M.D. McCarter photo that I have.
Matt Lasayko Thanks for posting those pictures. When did that tower close?

Ken Durkel I think around 1964, at which time control of the interlocking was given over to the B&O dispatch in Akron.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chicago Ridge Junction: IHB/B&OCT vs. Metra+NS/Wabash

(CRJ, Satellite is below)
Nick Fry posted, cropped
This was one of five photos he had in another B&OCT posting
I saved the satellite image because it caught a replacement diamond ready for a maintenance window on a weekend. Also note that the track has been removed from the IHB side of the southern connector, but the NS side is still intact. Why not remove the turnouts from both sides if you are going to break the connection?

It appears the tower was on the north side (what CRJ calls the northeast quadrant) with the long part along the IHB. CRJ says the tower was in the northwest quadrant until at least 1994 when it was closed. But that quadrant looks empty. I extracted a big excerpt from the aerial photo to show how rural the area was.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
John LaRochelle posted
The touring Flying Scotsman northbound on the N&W Wabash heading for Dearborn Station, Chicago, IL, about to pound the B&CT/IHB diamonds at Chicago Ridge Electro-Mechanical Interlocking Tower, Chicago Ridge, IL, at track speed 60 MPH. 1970.
John LaRochelle posted
Extra Wabash 557 South a Second CD-1, rounding the curve between Oak Lawn and Chicago Ridge will pull up on the Chicago Ridge Interlocking, cut the Chicago Ridge IHB shorts off the rest of the train, shove back through the middle crossover, pull southward on the northbound main until the IHB shorts are clear of the IHB Receiving track switch, then shove the cut of cars into the IHB Receiving track, making the same reverse movement to get back on the train to head south.
Jeff Lewis FMs! Nice.
[To show up in a keyword search: Fairbanks-Morse]
John LaRochelle posted
Train Wabash DC-4 Extra 723 North about to cross the B&OCT/IHB diamonds at Chicago Ridge Electro-Mechanical Interlocking Tower Chicago Ridge, IL, on it's way to Landers Yard, Chicago.
John LaRochelle posted
Now for MILW fans. Extra C-Liner 25C West (Seymour Indiana, Terre-Haute, Faithorn MILW ( the old Chicago Terre Haute and Southeastern) Chicago Heights, North Harvey B&OCT, North Harvey to Bensenville IHB) About to pound the Wabash diamonds at 40 MPH track speed at Electro Mechanical Interlocking Tower Chicago Ridge, IL. These 'babies' were impressive. The portion of the house pictured in the lower left was in the southeast quadrant of B&CT Property and was rented for $1.00 a year by the B&OCT track foreman. 1963.
Evie N Bob Bruns Great photo, I worked on SE up to the end. Was in tower a number of times. Were you an operator your name sounds familiar? I recall a person with glasses and light wavy hair had a French last name like yours. That last unit is a 600 series switcher. It was used on the "Gary Line" job. This photo was probably taken on a Saturday as they picked up this engine at Delmar to take to Bensenville for servicing.
John LaRochelle Yes, I was the 2nd Trick Operator Nov. 1969 - Aug. 1980. A good friend and one of my mentors, Roderick (Rod) Irwin might also have been an operator you met there. Nice to see someone I met post on here.
Evie N Bob Bruns John, I remember going to the tower one night. We were always held at the Ridge as the B&OCT could not handle us so we were parked by IHB, no where to put us east of there. Tower door was always locked. I think it was you, you let me in and we talked. Told me of earlier in night a train stopped on crossing and had everything blocked. Police came to tower and tried to get in door was locked and they were yelling "let us in" which operator said no your trespassing. They went down on ground and started yelling up to window where they were going to arrest you if you didn't clear crossing. You just kept yelling out window that they needed to leave they were trespassing. Don't now why that stuck in my mind after all these years but I always thought it was humorous thinking of those cops down on ground yelling up to you and you yelling back. This was in mid 70's. Always something interesting happening back then. I have some train orders from Ridge I kept, need to locate them.
John LaRochelle Yes, the police often THREATENED me, and that's why I kept the door locked. Once they were warned they were trespassing, if they broke in, it would be an illegal arrest. I really wouldn't care one way or the other, because all the signals, especially the train order signals would be at STOP, and that would really create a 'NIGHTMARE'. Plus not even the management or special agents could run the place, just secure it until another qualified operator got there. They often THREATENED conductors with arrest, and the engineers would respond, 'Take the conductor, and I can't move the train without him." It's one of many reason why I quit and moved on.
John LaRochelle posted
Now for the IHB Fans, caboose hop 8814 shoving into the East Pass at the Electro-Mechanical Interlocking, Chicago Ridge Tower, IL., taken from a tower window. The 4 pipes on the ground are connected to levers 14/15/16/17, east pass switch, derail, and lock, west pass, switch. derail and lock. The pole and ladder visible in the left part of the photo is the Wabash train order signal. 1963.

Scott Malec The quadrant with the switch track from the southbound Wabash to the westbound IHB?
John LaRochelle Yes. That track was called the Wabash Receiving Track until the IHB closed the interchange. It may still be used for the N&W to connect with the Milwaukee Road as the old route through Union Staion's through track, Chicago, cannot handle certain freight equipment.
Chad Malinovsky Nice shot, I'll be throwing up signals there this afternoon.
John LaRochelle Fantastic!!! Do you work for METRA or N&W?
Chad Malinovsky IHB. We control the interlocking. We are in Cal City. We signal Metra based on their timetable, anything out of the ordinary then we coordinate with Landers.

Scott Malec Chad Malinovsky About how many trains a day are coming off the NS to the IHB and vice versa at Chicago Ridge these days?
Chad Malinovsky Barely 1 a day

Petcoke, KCBX Terminals, and Beemsterboer Slag

EPA, note the van for the scale of the petcoke pile
British Petroleum converted their huge Whiting, IN refinery to process the oil produced from the tar sands in Canada. (Update: operating costs of oil sand production is $16.06/b and being reduced as they expand. And they have some other operations that produce even cheaper oil. [platts]) Unlike regular crude oil, the results of distilling the useful fluids out of the tar-sand crude was not asphalt or paraffin, but "petcoke." As an environmental threat, Indiana outlawed petcoke being stored in the state of Indiana. So the Kock brothers piled it up in Chicago, uncovered, at their KCBX Terminals.

I remember reading articles in the Chicago Tribune about residents complaining about the dust and water pollution caused by these piles. (Indiana was right to keep the stuff out of their state.) Kock agreed to build an enclosure. But I see now that they have decided to remove the piles from the city because it was estimated that enclosing the mess would cost $120 million and the Chicago Department of Public Health did not give them a 14-month extension. I wonder where they now pile up the petcoke.

The current satellite images were taken when the piles still existed, so I have captured the pictures. When you click the Kock Carbon icon, the company claims it is a "Firewood Supplier." What a euphemism for dust polluter.

Note this following terminal is served by just ships and barges, there is no railroad.

Satellite, Beemsterboer Slag
The self-unloading laker in the river is being loaded. It looks like they are also loading barges that are docked in the slip.
Satellite, KCBX Terminals
I knew Kock was creating piles of nasty stuff in the city. But I did not know the name of the company was KCBX Terminals until I saw the following two photos and captions posted by Craig Cloud.

4   BRC 526 pulling empties out of KCBX Terminal summer 2002 or 03
[I recognized the Skyway in the background which further motivated me to dig into this BRC activity.]
6  BRC TR set sitting by KCBX Terminal South Deering taken sometime 1998 or 99 forget month
KCBX Terminals transloaded other materials between railroad, barge, and ships before they started handling petcoke. The other materials include "coal, salt, slag, cement, clinker, and ocean freight docking and loading services." [Bloomberg]

Big Four's Peoria and Eastern/Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western

The Danville, Urbana, Bloomington and Pekin Railroad was incorporated on August 28, 1866 and built a road between Pekin and the eastern boundary of Illinois. It merged with a line in Indiana to form the Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western Railway (IB&W or I Better Walk) and opened for traffic on October 1, 1869. The IB&W became the Peoria and Eastern Railway and then on February 22, 1890 the Big Four assumed control. In the 1920s, the official name changed back to the Peoria and Eastern but NYC retained ownership.

In Urbana, the P&E shared a depot with the Wabash. In Champaign their depot was located near Neil and Randolph. The last passenger train passed through Urbana in 1959.

[CUMTDBrehm, Kara, “Peoria & Eastern Railroad, 1866,” ExploreCU, accessed March 30, 2017,]

Map from OminousWeather. also ExploreCU
As with many railroads built in the 1800s, a bigger part of the story is what became of the route in the 1900s. Since the NYC retained ownership, this route became part of the Penn Central and Conrail issue. According to Abandoned Rails, the last train to run from Bloomington to Danville was a Conrail train in 1999 just before Conrail was split. NS immediately mothballed the line. The line between Bloomington and Mansfield is a light blue (below) because it is "embargoed and STB discontinued...playing keep-away with CN-IC with it." ["mudchicken" in Trains]  (Update: NS has formally filed for abandonment.) The segment between Mansfield and Champaign is dark blue because the track still exists. The rest is medium blue because the rail is gone, but NS has rail banked the RoW. A remnant exists in Farmer City to connect a grain elevator to CN/IC and in Mansfield to connect an elevator to the NS/Wabash.

Above map plus Paint

The green segment is the Vermillion Valley Railroad (VVRC). (The 2005 SPV Map labels this segment WRC. But WRC is not in the Appendix.) The remainder of the Indiana route is abandoned because some of the piers for the bridge across the Wabash were compromised. It looks like the VVRC exists not because of a grain elevator, but because of an auto-part manufacture --- Flex-N-Gate Covington.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gifts (Nickel and Copper) from the Heavens

The company says Frood is the only area where it will suspend operations.
However, Vale spokesperson Angie Robson said it will also look for other ways to cut costs, thanks to a sharp decline in metal prices. Prices have dropped 50 per cent since 2006, when Vale took over Inco.
"During the war, Frood supplied about 40 per cent of the nickel that went into artillary weapons." [cbc.ca1]

Satellite     Frood is in the upper-right corner of this mining area.

The company said the mine’s future has been under review for some time citing metal prices, “ongoing market challenges, and recent seismic activity that restricted production below the 3,000-foot level. [NorthernOntarioBusiness]

The articles indicate that the ore left in this century old mine has become low grade and the mine was nearing the end of its life cycle. Judging by all of the landscars on the satellite image, there is still a lot of mining in the area.

Dennis DeBruler So we are talking about nickel and copper. The restriction of below 3000 feet because of "seismic activity" is interesting. Unlike the oil producers in Oklahoma who can claim it is somebody else's wastewater well that is causing peoples dishes to rattle (and walls to crack), this company is probably the only source of earth shaking.
Tyler L Hoar There are still several other places around Sudbury basin to mine the meteor. And with this being solid Canadian shield and not soft earth, you take seismic activity seriously.
Dennis DeBruler A meteor? Fascinating.
Tyler L Hoar Comet, Meteor, Asteroid. Some massive object from outer space hit the area a loong looong time ago. 

Joe Petrus studied rock samples to try and determine what hit Sudbury 1.8 billion years ago. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)
[Joe concluded that it was a comet, not an asteroid, that blasted a hole 14 kilometres deep.]
It’s been long believed the Sudbury Basin was shaped by an asteroid that hit the region more than a billion years ago, but a Laurentian University researcher now says it was likely a comet.
The Sudbury Basin is the second largest known impact crater on Earth — 62 kilometres long, 30 kilometres wide and 15 kilometres deep. [cbc.ca2]
Actually, the object from space did not have the metals. But it created a hole deep enough that it allowed mantle to come up and fill the basin. "A subsequent shock wave shattered the surrounding rocks, riddling them with fissures and faults that filled up with precious minerals from the melted rock below." It was discovered in 1885 while building the Canadian Pacific Railway through the region. [cbc.ca2]

Update: When a Northern Ontario article about the closing of a crushing plant did not mention until the near the end that the metal being processed was nickel, I asked if that was the only metal in Northern Ontairio. The answer reminded me of this posting.
William Littrell Northern Ontario (North of Parry Sound)


Iron ore
Platinum Group Metals

Monday, March 27, 2017

Erecting Precast Buildings: Tilting and Setting

I've already discussed the use of precast concrete beams for building bridges. This posting captures what I learned from about erecting buildings with precast components. We start with what can go wrong, which is what precipitated all of the comments and pictures about tilting walls and setting floors.

Tilting and setting with cranes that have a luffer.

Devin Parsons posted
So this happened today my buddy JD had do do some demo clean up... This trip 9 was only on the job site a few days. Operator is alright suffered a broken ankle from when he bailed out and ran.
Tony Snoke commented on the above posting
Eric S Manners What happened
Devin Parsons Not 100% sure I asked JD if he had heard much. All he said was the operator heard the boom buckle and he bailed.
Scottie Thompson From what I've heard he was walking high sticked with a precast panel.

I gather that "high stick" means the boom was too vertical so that the panel was dangling too close to the boom.

Some comments speculated that the boom was not properly inspected. But someone said that, since it was an "All" crane, the boom segments would have been inspected as they arrived on the truck and then the whole boom would be inspected again after assembly before the boom is raised. This time they can skip the inspection at the end of the job for any damage.

Jerry Spearn Walking high boom there is a good chance the piece made contact with the boom. There is a video some place of a boom test being done . At 85% capacity they hit the main cord with a ball peen hammer and the boom exploded. I'll see if I can find the video.
Ben Stalvey So glad the operator is okay that 999 can be replaced they are a dime a dozen really.
Ben Stalvey Aaron Nelson I am sure can tell you all about hauling precast and how dangerous it can be. His company hauls alot precast and are around cranes that lift precast alot. It takes alot skill from the driver and crane operators really. On even just delivery and then the flip of them on a jobsite.
Aaron Nelson And is exactly why I won't allow my drivers to bring their kids with them, this stuff is way to unpredictable and I don't want that on my conscience. Job we're on now has 80k wall panel and 90k beams.
Ben Stalvey Very true several cranes have went down in time during tilt wall precast work.
Louie Dee See a lot of these companies using hydro crawlers for precast.
Ben Stalvey Around here locally I see that also. Less setup time less risk to then running a crawler crane

Louie Dee commented on the above posting
Dane Bortzfield commented on the above posting
They still get the job done
Jerry Spearn I've been doing lot of precast with a 999 lately. Never an issue. This looks like a TILT UP operation not a precast project. I've done many tilt ups using a Liebherr 1300. I've also done them with a 4100. You definitely need to be on your A game and paying attention when tilting with a full hydraulic lattice boom crane, be it a crawler or truck mount.

Jerry Spearn commented on the above posting
Tilt up
[Note the panels laying on the foundation ready for the tilt up.]
Jerry Spearn commented on the above posting
Brandon Schmitt Suicide walls eh?

Aaron Nelson commented on the above posting
 This is cool pic of an 80k wall we picked last week, the amount of flex in that piece is amazing.
Jerry Spearn commented on the above posting
216,000 pound tilt panel. 58' tall 40' wide 10" thick
Nick Beaman posted two photos with the comment: "First time ever doing tilt ups. Not a fan. Only 25k but still about 80% chart. Couldn’t imagine 150k+. Hats off to the big boys.."
Alex Zepp It’s a love hate relationship. Either you love doing them, or absolutely hate em.


Rex Linck commented on Nick's posting
Its the 260 and 280s I dont like

Rex Linck commented on Nick's posting
They tend to get all up in your face
Nick ReynoldsNick is an administrator in this group. Suicide

Alex Zepp commented on Nick's posting
Tell me about it Rex! Lol 

Alex Zepp commented on Nick's posting
Alex Zepp commented on Nick's posting
Set 48 panels from one spot this day!

Joe Hinson commented on the above posting
 It's was a tilt up job the trip 9 was out of the Raleigh office on bare rent he was trying to back up a hill with a 140 thousand pound panel and the hill was about 5 degrees off to the right too.
Jerry Spearn Did he take the time to read the manual? It explains very Clearly what amount of load can be picked and carry over what type of terrain. It even gives you a direction of travel and if cwts [counter weights] are up hill or down hill. Always refer to the manual when doing a pick and carry.

Joe Hinson commented on the above posting

Joe Hinson commented on the above posting
A video

Joe Nirmaier Anytime something like this happens, it's detrimental to the crane industry, and especially the operators. Its stuff like this, that will be the reason for totally cast in place walls. As an industry, we will be pricing ourselves out of the market pretty soon.

Charles Hall posted
[We have already seen this picture. But some of the comments provide some insight.]
Keith Gregory Who is in charge of securing these dam walls?Devin Parsons Wasn't the wall securement the crane was off by 5 degrees to the right and with that much stick it sent the boom over.Devin Parsons Crane off level 5 degrees sent the boom crashing down panel was 140k.
Joe Whiting Saw this last week it said he was traveling up hill off the side with the wall...I thought well that may do it.
Terry Blair commented on the above posting
Brian Edwards commented on the above posting
Tom White posted two pictures with the comment: "T M C gettin down with some precast in lagrange ga."

Chris Ludlow posted
Triple 8 setting rock, 50T Grove truck mount hanging iron on the stair tower, and an 860 JLG just because.
Chris Ludlow It was tight quarters for sure! They needed us to get the stair tower erected so they could set the precast stairs right after to finish the garage and tear down the 888 right after. I'd worked with the 888 operator before and he's pretty smooth, set that panel right in there with out a problem.
[Lots of comments about this being a safety rule violation because people are working inside the "fall radius." If they did not violate the rule, they would have had to pay rental for 4-5 days for an expensive crane to set idle. while the steel for the stairwell was erected.]
LR Willson & Sons Inc posted
Aerial perspective of LRW crews erecting a Data Center in Northern Virginia earlier this year. These 62' tall tilt up panels weighed up to 170,000#. We utilized a Manitowoc 16000 440 ton crawler crane.
Bay Crane posted
Bay Crane posted
Skylor Huffine Pre cast tilt up
Thomas Dearmond posted
The dangers of tiltwall, and for the record this wasn't one of my jobs.
Greg Vandeventer Tilts have been and will be the most dangerous thing to be done with a crane.
[The comments indicated this happened while the panel was being walked into place and the boom was "side loaded." I surmise the crane tilted. There is no discussion of what kind of ground preparation and/or matting was done. One comment implied a Manitowoc 999 was not big enough for the job.]
John Daniel commented on Thomas' posting
Thomas Dearmond commented on Thomas' posting

John Daniel commented on Thomas' posting
Thomas Dearmond posted as comments a couple of photos of lifts going well. I assume these are jobs that his crew has done.


Thomas Dearmond commented on a posting
Hobby lobby I did a few months back

Jamey Clark posted five photos with the comment:
NessCampbell Cranes 2250 and Sierra Construction Company INC erecting tilt walls in Tacoma, Wa. My first experience tilting with a crawler from the outside. I'm sold! 3.5 days 101 panels up 71 to go! Nice job by all!
Josiah Shirley Makes it so much easier!!!
Jamey Clark I agree. Moving a hydraulic or lattice boom on rubber around the outside is a lot of effort. Each move you have to drop bar, if hydraulic crane they suck the boom all the way in prior to rolling. Takes to much time. I would choose this crane every time if the mobe cost wasn't a 75% increase over a rubber tire rig.
Jamey Clark Very versatile rig, but expensive!
David Beard Have hung many precast panels. A good job with the right crew. Enjoy it myself.

1, cropped


James Hughy Eads posted two photos.

Broc Sherwood posted two photos with the comment: "Nice crane these boys are using...the owner takes good care off it...Slinging some Pre-Cast."
They must unload the trucks onto the slab with a smaller (e.g. cheaper) crane so that when they bring in the big crane to tilt them up they don't have to waste the crane's time waiting for trucks or the truck's time waiting for the crane.
Matteo Serra shared
A drone point of view
[Looks like most of the building is a high-ceiling warehouse with a two-story office in the corner.]
Ben Stalvey shared 18000 and 16000 luffers stacking one-story wall panels at Stanford University.







Wayne Mansfield posted
888 220foot boom.
Ben StalveyBen and 4 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Manitowoc Crane Enthusiasts. Wow a ot boom for tilt wall work.Wayne Mansfield They need it for the last few trusses and wall sections. They have a goofy setup at the end. We need the reach.Mike WeaverMike and 4 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Manitowoc Crane Enthusiasts. Great thing about that #22 boom. Length doesn’t change chart a lot...but you better be level...

A video of building a wall with precast segments between already constructed columns. This looks safer than tilting.

A video of standing wall panels. (source) I wish he had spent some of the dead time panning up to the top of the boom so that we could see how the different lines were spaced at the top. Note the bracing on the truck trailer so that they can be shipped diagonally to take advantage of the vertical clearance and avoid a horizontal oversize load. When the built parking garages where I worked, they shipped the floor spans on a diagonal until a union forced them to ship horizontally and pay extra.

Earl Ray shared KXAN News' video (better video quality, sourceJack Combs A lifting eye malfunction.) of an anchor on the slab popping out and the crane falling.
Marty Bingham He wasn't directly over the load. Looks like he dragged it 20' or so. It also looks like it was side loaded with the house lock on. All that probably put uneven distribution on the lifting connections which overloaded the ones that failed..
George Lamoro Exactly Marty, he tried swinging it to stand up, but still much to heavy, and ripped lug out. I've done Millions of these. You ha ve to weight till straight up, then lift. Guys a cowboy.
Kenny King Guess there are more people how have not set tile ups that i originally assumed. the slide is perfectly normal.
Marty Bingham It’s not normal for it to drift while it’s laying that flat. Plus it’s dragging sideways to some degree.
Kenny King no doubt he wasnt directly plumb, being off the corner like that, it twisted away from the crane like that from being over boomed a bit. also, he may have done that to keep the head out of his direction while standing up.

you can walk them damn near flat like that with a tiny bump of the swing and a dash of boom up or down. doesnt take much.

when standing up on double or triple stacked panels, its good practice to walk the panel in a foot or 2 in order to keep it from jumping off the stack backwards and shocking the crane, only real moronic move was the cowboys riding the panel before it dropped.