Monday, July 31, 2017

NS/NKP and Aban/Erie+C&O Bridge over Grand Calumet River

(no Bridge Hunter?, Satellite)

Josh Lemier posted
Here in this epic photo Tom Golden got this shot on top of the Grand Calumet River Bridge with an Erie Lackawanna Westbound passing underneath in 1976.
Collection Of Sam Beck.
Mark Bilecki Sr. The Erie, Nickel Plate bridge was replaced with a culvert bridge by NW around 1983.
Mark Bilecki Sr. There was a control shack up there that was considered a tower.
Bob Lalich The operator on the bridge controlled the interlocking that allowed the railroads to jointly use the bridge and swap positions. West of the bridge, the EL was north of the NKP. East of the bridge, the NKP was north of the EL. Going way back, the operator also controlled the opening of the bridge. This portion of the Grand Calumet was navigable in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
Joseph Tuch Santucci This bridge continues to be used regularly as NS schedules numerous trains on the former NKP daily.

Ira Silverman posted
Can anyone identify this location? "I believe" it is in Hammond IN and that's the Amtrak Floridian coming at you.
William Vandervoort Couldn't have been the Floridian, at the time the only semaphore on the Monon in Hammond was the northbound home signal at State Line. Maybe this is the James Whitcomb Riley or Cardinal, which used the Erie through Hammond connecting with the C&O.William Vandervoort Erie/EL called it CA Tower. The bridge was shared with Nickel Plate, those railroads traded places there. On April Fools Day 1976, Conrail was formed and they basically abandoned the EL line. C&O didn't want responsibility, having had trackage rights, and started rerouting the freight trains via B&O to Wellsboro, then the former Pere Marquette La Crosse Subdivision to join the C&O at La Crosse. For about a month the James Whitcomb Riley was bussed between Chicago and Peru IN, until arrangements were made to use the former Erie. In 1977, the train began using the Wellsboro routing and was also renamed the Cardinal.William Vandervoort Wellsboro to La Crosse was not signaled. Though as I recall it had welded rail in decent shape. Here is a train order from one of my trips on the Cardinal, authorizing Amtrak to run "extra". What seemed strange was the angle at which we crossed the PRR main line at Hanna, and the fact that the crossing over paralleling US 30 had no gates, just flashers and bells. The westbound Cardinal was actually traveling slightly northeast at that point. Theoretically a straight line north from La Crosse to the B&O to would have been the Monon Michigan City Branch, which crossed the B&O at Alida. Wellsboro is 7 miles east of Alida, a 7 mile displacement which needed to be compensated over the La Crosse Subdivision.Jon Roma I've read that, in the rush of getting Conrail underway, someone had forgotten about the joint Erie-C&O trackage, and the shutdown of that route had to be corrected after the fact.Jon Roma Since many people are having a hard time visualizing the location of Ira Silverman's picture, I've taken a scanned page from the 1915 Sanborn fire insurance atlas and overlaid it with blue bullets that show the three pertinent interlocking towers. (Erie's "HY" Tower is out of frame and hence is not shown.)

The approximate angle the photographer was facing is depicted with a red arrow.

Josh Lemier posted
Here in this new cover photo we see two Erie Lackawanna Manifest Freights passing at Hammond, Indiana crossing the Calumet River Bridge. Date Unknown.
Photo Credit To Mike Raia.
Michael Mireles HD tower sits above....
Bob Lalich The EB likely originated at either 51st St Yard or Clearing on the BRC.
[A swing bridge that hadn't swung for years.]

B&LE 1918 Silicon Steel Bridge over Allegheny River at Acmetonia, PA

HAER PA,2-OAK.V,1--10 from pa3714

Oblique view of cantilever truss over main channel, looking NNE from south abutment. - Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Allegheny River Bridge, Spanning Allegheny River, East of Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), Oakmont, Allegheny County, PA

The bridge was designed by two U.S. Steel subsidiaries - the railroad and the American Bridge Company - as a showpiece for their parent company. This structure not only introduced new silicon steel to American bridge construction, but also helped revive continuous truss design. [pa3714]
 I included the label "metalIron" because this was evidently the first bridge built with silicon steel, which was stronger than existing steel. It is also a pioneering bridge because it used continuous spans rather than simple spans that were cantilevered and generated an upward force on some of the piers, especially during construction. This double track bridge replaced a single track bridge. The old bridge had a steel trestle for the north approach. That trestle was buried in an embankment when this bridge was built. Furthermore a "felling trestle" was built parallel to the existing trestle so that dump trains would not interfere with the normal ore trains. "Engineering News remarked, 'It is not often in any part ofthe country that a perfectly serviceable steel viaduct is treated in this way;... [Here] two such viaducts, side by side, are being buried.' The embankment, however, allowed U.S. Steel to dispose of 1.2 million cubic yards of slag from its mills, which may have outweighed the scrap value of the steel trestles." "With the trusses continuous across two piers, train loads are distributed among the three spans, requiring less material than an equivalent series of simple spans....The bridge was clearly intended as a showpiece for U.S. Steel" [pa3714data]

Note that the piers of the old bridge were extended using cut-stone even though reinforced concrete was becoming a more common construction material by 1918.

3D Satellite
Both a Flickr photo and a Facebook photo show iron ore trains on the bridge in the 21st Century. It is nice to know that there is at least one blast furnace still working somewhere in the Pittsburgh area. It looks like the old Homestead Works may be gone, but there are two blast furnaces still standing near Braddock, PA

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Crossing of EJ&E Industrial Spur and CNS&M


The Chicago, North Shore & Milwauky is an interurban that was abandoned along time ago. Its right-of-way appears to now be Commonwealth Avenue. Part of the industrial spur appears to now be Morrow Avenue. The main crossing of the EJ&E and CNS&M is a block north and was grade separated.

Kevin Piper posted two photos with the comment:
The EJ&E crossed the North Shore's Milwaukee line at North Chicago. Here SW1200 306 is running across the diamonds in December 1961. Note the gates protecting the junction. The second photo shows the exact location in recent years. Top, LOUIS CERNY PHOTO Bottom, JOE STUPAR PHOTO

[You can see the EJ&E overpass in the background.]

Luminant Liberty Mine

(Satellite)  A church was willing to be bought and move.

If you Google this mine, you learn about a neighbor who thinks he was not offered enough for his property. I'm going to ignore that issue and concentrate on the fact that this mine has two active dragline cranes.

Screenshot from a video from a Bill Drotar Jr. posting
Have to enjoy D33 while it's so close to the road.
William Oldani Now that's a Different style Bucket! I'm not familiar with that one I'm assuming it's some type of Easy Loading or High Efficiency!
Jay Wilson Almost looks like someone tried to gain a few extra yards by changing the back wall.
Bob Haare No spreader bar on the hoist chains!
Luminant PR video of moving D32 8 miles to their new lignite coal mine 

UP/WP Bridge over North Fork Feather River near Pulga, CA

(Bridge Hunter, Satellite)

Western Pacific built this route up the Feather River Canyon.

Greg Mross posted
UP 3392 brings a train thru Pulga, CA in the Feather River Canyon in May of 1994.
A Flickr photo capturing a high river flow.

I traced the river. This is part of the watershed for the Oroville Dam.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

EIR/NRG/N&W/NKP(Cloverleaf) Bridge over Embarras River near Oakland, IL

(Bridge Hunter, Satellite)

Dave Honan
\The Eastern Illinois Railroad crosses the Embarras River southwest of Oakland on this impressive bridge, viewed here from the south side of the east abutment. The bridge is located at MP 307.0 of the old Clover Leaf (later Nickel Plate) line between Toledo and St. Louis. Two more spans are hidden beyond the tall tree at left. (July 11, 2004)

Aban/Pennsy/Vandalia/Terre Haute & Peoria Bridge over Embarras River near Oakland, IL

(Bridge Hunter, no Bridge Hunter, Satellite, Street View)

Dave Honan posted two photos with the comment:
These two photos depict the main spans of the old Pennsy bridge spanning the Embarras River just west of Oakland. The Pennsy line [Terre Haute & Peoria] connected Paris and Decatur with the "Vandalia" mainline at Farrington. Today, the bridge is rusting away alongside IL-133. (July 11, 2004)



Parking Cranes in Weather Vane Mode

One of the local construction sites set up this self erecting tower when they had easy access to the center of the building.

10170640(0623) 9537
It is electrically powered and controlled by remote control. So you are renting just a trailer, not a truck, diesel engines, and a cab.
The above photo after it was cropped
Each day the boom would be facing a different direction, so that allows me to get several different angles of the base from the one area where they have not yet built a wall so that construction equipment can drive into the building area.
20170640(0628) 9550

20170708-10 0005
This video records the rotation speed. It was getting close to quitting time and they just rotated it over 360 degrees with no load.
(full window)

20170708-10 9978
The next day was the first time I saw them actually use the crane. Here they are adding posts to the edge of the east wall. Earlier, when they were working on the north wall and I first took pictures of them, they came over and talked to me because I had a camera. I find this common and to my benefit because it gives me a chance to ask questions. The crane was installed mainly to lift the wood panel walls when they get that far into construction. It can lift four tons by the tower and one ton at the tip of the boom. Those posts were certainly less than a ton! I'm glad you can't recognize the faces because inside the fence is supposed to be a hard-hat zone. When I mentioned that every time my wife or I go to the library, we noticed the boom was pointed in a different direction. We thought that was because they had done some work that day and we missed it. He explained it could be because they park it in "weather vane" mode. That is, the boom turns rather than create a lateral force on the tower if there is a crosswind. He said the wires going up the tower will tolerate three revolutions. I confirmed that the reason the turned it at the end of the previous day with no load was to remove the twist from the wires so that it could do a full three revolutions in either direction while it was unattended.

Shawnetta Compton posted
The old girl has been turned. Boom is now facing west.
Steve Postin I thought it was parked facing west.
Shawnetta Compton A wicked storm turned her facing north several years ago. Before my time at wild boar.
Zachary Postin It was but they say tornado or high winds moved it north and apparently they moved it back where its facing west again. I'm going to check it out here in a bit I was just out there 2 weeks ago and it was facing north

[Quite a few comments concern if and who will rebuild it using modern AC equipment.]
In a satellite image, the boom is facing north. You can see the shadow of the cables from the tip of the boom back to were the bucket is still west of the house.

While it was facing north, people could get good side views of it from the road: 1, 2, 3. Casey's Flickr photo has some informative comments.

Murph Dogg made a Lego model of it and provided the comments near the end of his web page:
This is the Squaw Creek 1360w, currently parked at the newly opened Wild Boar Mine near Lynnville, Indiana. The machine has been parked for about 10 years and was completely stripped and gutted by vandals and copper thieves. The machine made news in the mining machine enthusiast circuit this past year when it's idled boom swung about 30-40 degrees in high winds. The machine may see future work again at Wild Boar if the economy improves.

A Facebook photo when it was still working at Squaw Creek Mine. (Choose "Not Now" if you are not a member of Facebook.) I found the source of the Facebook photo.

Carl King posted four photos after it was facing West again with the comment: "Driving around on Sunday and thought these were pretty good pictures of the old Squaw Creek 1360."





They don't seem to be moving the dirt very far in this video. (new window) This must be the other 1360W that was built and shipped to Alberta.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA)

The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) owned the St. Louis Union Station and the two bridges that could carry railroad traffic across the Mississippi River. Like Chicago, many of the eastern and western railroads terminated at this city. Unlike Chicago, the only terminal railroad connecting the trunk railroads was TRRA. (Chicago had the Indiana Harbor Belt, B&OCT, EJ&E and other terminal railroads. It also had six train stations instead of just the one Union Station in St. Louis.) The TRRA History emphases the ownership of the bridges whereas American-Rails emphases the ownership of the Union Station.

Madison Yard is their main yard.

Mark Hinsdale posted four photos with the comment:
TRRA... By Rail!
It is a rare treat to be able to traverse and observe the trackage of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) on a special passenger train. However, this opportunity presented itself this past Sunday, when a trip was sponsored by several of St Louis' serving railroads on behalf of the American Association of Railroad Superintendents for its annual meeting, held in the Gateway to the West. Although Amtrak trains to and from Chicago or Kansas City do utilize TRRA routes to access the new St. Louis Amtrak Station, much of the Terminal Railroad is rarely visited by passenger trains. I took many photographs, but here are some representative views of the always fascinating bridgework around St. Louis, as well as its iconic Arch.

[MacArthur (Municipal) Bridge]

Dave Hopson I've seen movies of trains on the lower level of the second bridge in front of you.Mark Hinsdale Yes, PRR used the lower level of the Eads Bridge to get across the Mississippi. Today those two tracks carry Metrorail (light rail) trains between Belleville & St. Louis.



Splinter Free Toilet Paper Became Available in 1935

It is amazing what we take for granted now days. Electricity and indoor plumbing are rather obvious advances in civilization. I never gave much thought to toilet paper. I do remember people talking about using corn cobs to "clean themselves." And I had a teacher in middle school that went to South America to teach one year. One of the few things he said about that trip was that the TP was noticeably rougher. That was one of the products that he had sent to him from America.
Northern Issue, in 1935, began to advertise toilet paper that was ‘splinter free’. Up until this point, it was common to have splinters in toilet roll, due to the production techniques used. St. Andrew’s Paper Mill, in the UK, launched 2-ply paper in 1942. [VintageNews]
When I first went to work at Bell Labs in 1973, we did not have rolls of toilet paper. We had skinny versions of folded paper towel dispensers. Fortunately, the paper was not as rough as paper towels, but it was not as soft as the paper on rolls. It was a common complaint concerning the building's facilities. After a few years, they did replace the folded sheets of toilet paper with rolls of toilet paper. Now I see some fast food restaurants have dispensers that hold rolls that are about a foot in diameter. That reduces the number of "almost empty" rolls that the janitorial staff has to deal with.

Evansville, Indianapolis & Terre Haute Railroad

I learned about this railroad while researching which railroad a coal mine near Somerville, IN, is connected to (currently Indiana Southern Railroad, ISRR). The EI&TH is the original name indicated on the 2005 SPV Map. My original goal for this blog was to find the original railroad name that built a route. I've learned that is not realistic because the same route would go through many corporate names in the 1800s. And the name that got the charter was many times not the name that actually graded the route. And there may be a third name for the railroad that completed the grade and laid the track. So now I'm using the SPV Map's original name. If you want to know the history before the EI&TH, you can buy a book by Kenneth Reed or you can study an Evansville & Indianapolis summary.

Of note, is that much of the right-of-way reused the Wabash and Erie Canal. The extension of the canal from LaFayette to Evansville was finished in 1853, but the stretch from Terre Haute was abandoned less than 10 years later --- 1861. The Evansville & Indianpolis was formed on Novemeber 7, 1885 by C&EI from three railroads that created a route that paralleled their Terre Haute to Evansville mainline. This was the era of rail barons where railroads would buy competing routes to eleminate the competition. The NYC buying the Nickle Plate is the classic example. The C&EI sold the route to the Big Four in 1920 as the EI&TH. This was the era of anti-trust. So my 1928 RR Atlas labels this route as Big Four.

As with many railroad names, the name reflects the desire of the owners instead of the reality. The route actually goes between Evansville and Terre Haute. You had to use another railroad to get to Indianapolis. By 2005, the part south of Elnora, IN was part of the Indiana Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of RailAmerica. Genesee & Wyoming acquired it in 2012. The towns and/or junctions listed for the route on the 1928 RR Atlas are Evansville, Oakland City (Southern), Washington (B&O), Elmora (Milwaukee), Ellison (IC), Worthington (Pennsy), Clay City, Spring Hill, Terre Haute.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Grove GMK3055 Crane

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This is what I found at one of our neighborhood construction sites on July 24. The operator was obviously waiting for something to arrive.
I got a side view of the boom when I walked around the site to the above entrance off Gilbert Avenue. (The bank building in the satellite view has been torn down.) Since nothing but waiting was happening at this site, I went to the other site in town where they were doing form work. That is rather boring work, so I took a couple of "status" shots and came back to this site.
When I arrived, it was obvious that he was waiting for this truck.
I was able to catch them unpinning the outrigger pads so...
....that they could shove them in and repin them so that the pads do not stick out beyond the side of the truck.
Then as the operator uses the control levers to pull in the outrigger, the driver puts one of the mats away. (I don't think they had mats on the other side because they were swinging the loads only to my right.)

The operator also does some of the heavy lifting. After this, they came over to ask me if I was taking pictures of them. I said "No. I'm taking pictures of the crane." (I have verified that, even at high resolution, you can't identify the faces very well because of the angles and/or shadows.) I confirmed that what I had missed earlier in the day were trucks arriving with precast concrete slabs that the crane swung into position between the steel girders. I believe he called the slabs "spancrete."

What he had on the hook when he was waiting for the truck was his counterweight ready to load onto the truck when it arrived. I had noticed that Nichols did not paint over the GROVE trademark, but they did paint over the model number. So I asked him what model it was. The reply was a 3055. I noticed that being able to repin the outrigger pads for road transport is important enough that it is one of the six bullet items of features listed for this model: "Outrigger pads stow within width of crane."

So the truck with the counterweight leaves. The three skinny ones are 1t and the one thicker one is 2t.

This is a big contrast with the 6 trailers of 9t and 9.5t counterweights used by the GMK6300L at Downers North.

They store the mats for the outrigger pads on the back of the crane.
Note that when he is doing tight maneuvers around the construction site, he has the steering in a mode where the middle wheels stay straight and the rear wheels turn the opposite direction of the front wheels.

He then spent some time with the wheels straight working with a control panel to his side. I think he lowered and raised the chassis during this time, but it was hard to be sure.
When he left, it soon became obvious that he changed the steering mode so that it worked more like a regular truck. It is hard to see in this still photo, but I believe I saw the middle axle wheels turn a little as the front wheels turned considerably more.
This turn at the end of the block more clearly shows that the middle wheels are also turning.
He went back to "tight steering mode" when he had to recover from turning down a one-way street in the wrong direction.

So I was able to get a nice (except for the sun being on the wrong side) profile shot of the other side as he left town (below). Unlike the GMK6300L, this model is not "oversize." Yet it does have a 6-section boom.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Houghton-Hancock Double-Lift Bridge over Portage Canal

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, Satellite, Street View)

Wikipedia, put in the Public Domain by Justin Murawski
The double-deck span can support road traffic on both levels. The lower deck also used to have tracks to support the railroads that originally built it --- Copper Range (1906 and 1920 maps) and Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway. In 1961 it became part of  Soo Line, which became Wisconsin Central in 1987. But railroad traffic stopped in 1982. Below shows the span raised high enough to pass a boat.

Wikipedia, Chris857 Photo, CC BY-SA
Below is an older photo when the tracks were still intact showing the span lowered to allow a train to cross.

By railfan 44 -, Public Domain, Link
Because the railroads ran close to the shore, they were low. You can see in the first photo that the level of that deck won't even pass speedboats. This is why it is important that the bridge is normally at the intermediate level during navigation season. But there is no canal traffic during the winter so the bridge is lowered so that snowmobiles and skiers using the old railroad right-of-ways as trails can also use this bridge.

The original bridge was a wooden swing bridge completed in 1875. This was replaced by a steel swing bridge in 1901. In 1959 the swing bridge was replaced by this bridge. It has a 100' clearance when fully raised. [Wikipedia] When built, it was the heaviest lift bridge constructed. [Posting]

A video of it being raised for a ferry. "It's hard to catch the bridge in action anymore but I caught it last fall when the twice a week ferry to Isle Royale left." (source)