Saturday, January 27, 2018

A derailment on a bridge

I normally don't do "just a picture" posts. But this one is worthy.

Joe Dockrill posted
from Richard Gauthier : must have been a fun one
You can't easily pull either boxcar away from the other because they are both stuck against a truss member. It does make me wonder how they "undid" this.


Lehigh Valley Connors Trestle

(Could not find satellite image of former location. It was dismantled in 1953. Schuylkill River is a drybed!)

Francis Otterbein posted three photos with the comment: "Schuylkill Haven, PA." Actually, the Lehigh Valley went to Pottsville, PA.

1
Francis posted again
This image captures the construction of the Lehigh Valley Railroad iron trestle at Connors Crossing, near Cressona, Pa., in 1890. Zoom in and note the men working on the iron pier in the foreground.
The trestle crossed the road from Pottsville to Schuylkill Haven, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Schuylkill Canal, the river, the flats and the Reading Railroad at Schuylkill Haven. The iron was unloaded from the Pennsylvania tracks by means of large derricks.

2

3

SchuylkillHavenHistory

SchuylkillHavenHistory

Dismantled 1953, note the arrows on the edges, this is a slideshow

Friday, January 26, 2018

Gasometers around Goose Island

In this aerial, we can see a couple of gasometers just east of Kingsbury Street north of North Street.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
A 1952 aerial photo (https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer) has the foundation for the big gas holder shown in this 1954 photo. It  was built west of Kingsbury Street and north of North Street.

David H. Nelson commented on his posting with this 1954 photo
A 1962 aerial photo (https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer) shows that the southern 1938 tower is hidden by the new one in the 1954 photo and that the northern one is gone. It also reinforces how massive the new one is compared to the old one because of the shadows in the 1962 photo.
There were three more gasometers south of Division and west of the North Branch. Judging by the rail spurs and the pile of coal as well as the big building with a conveyor, this is one of the places where they manufactured the gas. There was still a coal pile in 1952. The tanks and building existed in 1962, but the coal piles were gone.. It was all removed by 1963.
WBEZ posted
Fun fact: Until the 1980s, enormous gas holders storing natural gas stood tall in Chicago - one was more than 350 feet high. Go back and see what Chicago looked like more than 40 years ago, before these landmarks were taken down. http://bit.ly/TcoYVJ
Karen Operabuffa commented on a post
This photo shows two sets of gasometers - one on North Avenue, one on Division.
Darla Zailskas posted
Corner of Milwaukee & Chicago Avenues, picture came from a 1939 textbook titled Illinois, looks like a ghost in lower left corner, any info on the structures?
[I spent some time trying to find this tank before I learned that the caption is wrong. This is the corner of Milwaukee and Racine. [cushman] So we are looking north up Racine and this is the tall tank south of Division.]


CP/Milwaukee over Des Plaines River in Des Plaines

(no Bridge Hunter?, 3D Satellite)

Harvey Kahler commented on Sam Carlson's posting
I got this shot of Milwaukee Fs in orange and maroon crossing the Des Plaines River in Des Plaines in 1963,

IAIS/Rock Island over Rock River near Colona, IL

(Bridge Hunter, 3D Satellite, Street View)

One of 30 photos added by Mike Ironman

Thursday, January 25, 2018

PRR and EJ&E Joint Yard (Schererville)

(Satellite)
PRR is the Panhandle and NYC is the MC Joliet Cutoff. They cross a little further to the west at the Hartsdale Junction. The NYC track in the upper-right corner is the NS/NYC/Big4/Egyptian route.


Phil Vaclavik posted, rotated and cropped
Update:
The primary discussion of this photo is in the Beverly Junction notes
Bob Lalich An observation and question about the top [above] photo. PRR/PC regularly handled metallurgical coal trains destined for USS Gary Works, which were transfered to the EJ&E at Schererville. The locomotives and cabin car would run light to 59th St after dropping the cars at the yard in Schererville. I think the process would be reversed for the return of empties. The top photo does not show a cabin car, which would lead me to think that this was a power balancing move, maybe going to Colehour. Can anyone comment further?
In response to a question I made about Schereville Yard, Bob commented on David's posting
 I was referring to what is labeled "Joint Transfer Yard" in this PRR drawing. A few tracks are still in use.
I include this story post because it provides some insight as to how the yard was used.
David Dutro posted the comment:
A few of you have asked if I would share some additional memories of my friend Fred, so here goes. I will endeavor to relate these stories to you as accurately as I can remember and as they were told to me during my high school years from 1965 to 1969. Before I get into the storytelling portion of this tale, a little more about Fred Pahl.
Fred was about 60 years old when I met him in the summer of 1958, by all respects he was a big man, a little over six feet tall and shaped like an upside-down triangle, when he stood in a doorway, not much light got through. He had bright blue eyes, a booming bass voice, and almost constantly had a cigar in his mouth. I've included a picture of Fred during his early days on the J, he's the second one from the left. I have no idea when or where this picture was taken.
I've titled this one, If I were you, I wouldn’t turn in that time slip.
One of Fred’s favorite things to do was to talk about “the old days”, and the “way things used to be.” Although Fred enjoyed running the “new” diesels, and liked how clean they were as opposed to steam engines, but somehow his story telling always seemed to drift back in time when steam power dominated the EJ&E. Although Fred would never admit to it, I truly believe that’s when he was the happiest. During the course of our friendship I received many lectures about Walsheart, Baker and Stevenson valve gears, dry and superheated steam, the danger of letting the water level fall below the crown sheet, and the best and worst coal to use. (he didn’t have a lot of use for Illinois coal.) Fred’s face showed evidence of having fired and engineered steam locomotives; his face particularly around his eyes, looked like he had blackheads. Once, in a fit of naivety I asked him why he still had blackheads, he glared at me and said blackheads hell, those are cinders. “That’s what happens when you stick your head out the cab window of a steam engine you get cinders in your face, and they don’t come out.” Fred was also hard of hearing, in addition to being able to smell his cigar smoke out in the street, you always knew what was on television at the time. As an aside, he told me the FM Shark was the worst diesel he ever ran, you “had to stick half of your body out the cab window to see to switch” and I “was glad when the “son of a bitch” got returned. There you have it.
One summer evening, while we were sitting on his porch, a local was kicking cars around at close by Lasalle Steel. Fred began to talk about Hartsdale and how “damn” dark and dangerous it was out there at night. He often said how much he hated the place, working there at night was a lot like a blind man taking a walk in the dark. Switching operations had to be done with great care. For those of you who may not be familiar with the area, Hartsdale lies west of Griffith and east of Dyer. Until the early 1970’s it was a busy place. There was a fairly large sized interchange yard and sidings to east of the tower. The EJ&E had an eastbound and westbound wye that connected with the Pennsylvania Logansport line, and interchange tracks with the Michigan Central. Somewhere around an eighth of a mile or so east of Junction (Kennedy) Avenue there was a two-and a half or three story tall wooden platform. In the twenties and thirties, it was common practice for brakemen and switchmen to ride the tops of the cars, as signals were passed back and forth, the man stationed at the top of the platform would pass the signals to head end. If a signal was missed, it could mean a derailment, or someone getting crushed to death between cars. Fred said, there were three hard and fast rules, you had to have a light touch on the throttle, keep one hand on the brake valve and never take your eyes off the guy on the platform. You couldn’t afford make a rough coupling with guys on top of freight cars. Among other kinds of freight, the EJ&E received a considerable number of coal trains destined for US Steel from both railroads, the trains ranged anywhere from seventy-five to one-hundred-and-twenty cars long, and frequently had to be doubled and sometimes even tripled up before departing. The head end would be almost to Griffith while the rear end was all the way back at Hartsdale.
One snowy night they were getting ready to shove a cut of cars around the wye to the Pennsy, when they saw a Pennsylvania crewman running toward their engine. The crewman approached them, and asked for their help, one of their men had fallen between a cut of cars and was dying. They had to wait for the man’s family to be brought to the scene. As long as the train remained coupled together the man remained alive, when it was pulled apart, the man would die almost instantly from blood loss caused by internal bleeding. The Pennsy crew asked Fred and his crew to pull the cars apart once the family said their final farewell. They completed the task and went back to work, he said no one said much, everyone knew it could happen to them. Someone in Fred’s crew announced his intention to time slip for a days work for assisting the Pennsylvania. The rest of the crew, Fred included announced their intention to “beat the shit” out of the guy if he turned in a time slip for helping the Pennsy. I don’t know whether or not the guy ever turned in a time slip, but somehow, I doubt he did. Fred told me the railroad was a self-policing organization, one way or another they “took care of their own”




NYC/MC Hartsdale Yard

(Satellite)

PRR is the Panhandle and NYC is the MC Joliet Cutoff. They cross a little further to the west at the Hartsdale Junction. The NYC track in the upper-left corner is the NS/NYC/Big4/Egyptian route. It was called the "Danville Secondary" by the railroad crews. [post comments] MC and EJ&E ran parallel to each other through here with MC northish of EJ&E. The yard on the left of this diagram is a joint PRR+EJ&E Yard. The EJ&E Griffith Yard has actually expanded.
(Update: Pennsy also had a "Hartsdale Yard" in this area.)

Phil Vaclavik posted
Kevin PiperGroup Admin I remember going into the CR yard at Hartsdale. It was a really interesting place.
This yard was used to help interchange cars between NYC's Elkahart-Kankakee trains (k a e l and e l k a) and the Hartsdale Local. The local would serve the Ford Plant at Chicago Heights and "Kellogs at Munster on the Hartsdale siding. The Hartsdale local would come up the Wye Hill, pick them up. and deliver them then set out the empties." "These cars were on time delivery." [various Phil Boldman comments on a post]

Not only is the Hartsdale Yard gone, the main track has been torn up in places. Why not tear up all of the track since...
Satellite
...they have dumped basllast and ties at various places along the remnant track to make it unusable.
Satellite
Because the remnant to the left is accessible from a connection with the NS/NYC(Egyptian) route. Note that they have blocked the MC track to the west of this connection. I see no industry along the remaining remnant, so is it a storage track?
Satellite
Update:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

BNSF/NP Bridge over Columbia River at Pasco, WA

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, 3D Satellite)
HL Mencken posted
Northern Pacific Railway, Pasco, Washington, 1925, reinforcing Bridge 1, crossing of the Columbia River.



I-43 over Fox River in Green Bay, WI

(Bridge Hunter (explains who Leo Frigo was), 3D Satellite)
The official name is the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge (60+ photos).
Its initial name was Tower Drive Bridge.

(For my furture reference: swingbridge closed because a train is coming in the upper-right corner.)

This posting brought I-43 tied-steel arch bridge to my attention.
Jeff Rueckert posted
The last vessel in for the Season , Michigan Docked in Green Bay
[Judging from the power line towers, this tow is docked at the US Oil Fox River Terminal.]
"To comply with St. Lawrence Seaway standards, there is 120 feet of clearance under the bridge structure to the normal water level." [Bridge Hunter]

"Because of the bridge's height and slope, it is prone to being shut down during high wind warnings, heavy fog, blizzards, and icy conditions." [PayneAndDolan]

The approach spans to the steel-girder spans were concrete.
WebCam Snapshot
"Built 1981; closed Sept. 25, 2013, after the deck was found to be sagging; reopened January 5, 2014" [Bridge Hunter]

DailyMail
[Pier 22 sank two feet.]

KeyWordLister
[A dramatic demonstration of the flexibility of steel. But I'm surprised the decking didn't crack.]
There are three videos at the end if you want to listen instead of read. I found them before I finally found some reports on the problem and fix.
Industrial byproducts [e.g. fly ash because this area was old fill], highly corrosive black, powdery material in the soil, caused some underground steel supports to corrode and buckle under the weight of one bridge pier. A state investigation found that pilings under four other nearby piers had also corroded. Repairs to the bridge began in November 2013 and focused on hoisting up the sunken section of the bridge while neutralizing the corroded sup-ports. Crews installed deep, concrete shafts underground that, instead of the pilings, support the weight of the piers. Before this, a $1.6 million project built two steel support towers to prop up the bridge and prevent it from sinking further.
The bridge was closed for three and a half months for repairs, with a bill of $18-20 million. The Federal Highway Administration approved emergency funding for the repairs, which covered most of that cost. It was reopened in January 2014, but crews will perform additional preventive maintenance and other work in the spring and summer. The estimated impact of closing the Leo Frigo Bridge was $139,000 a day (approximately $14.5 million). 
[NACE]
"In winning the project, Payne & Dolan faced penalties of $50,000-a-day for a delayed reopening. The repair project solution involved erecting two temporary towers to prevent the bridge from sagging further and ensure worker safety while performing permanent repairs to the bridge. Payne & Dolan then placed new pilings at the bases of piers 21 to 25. Next the approximately 1,600 ton superstructure was moved back into place via hydraulic jacking.  The project was completed in time to allow the bridge to be opened to traffic two weeks ahead of schedule on January 5th, 2014; just in time to accommodate a sold-out crowd heading to Lambeau Field to watch the Green Bay Packers face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC wild-card playoff." [PayneAndDolan]


PayneAndDolan
PayneAndDolan

Within the report WisDOT explains their analysis and repairs. Determining old industrial soils used as fill, such as fly ash, corroded steel pilings causing pier 22 to buckle. Engineers determining five supports in all were surrounded by the soil requiring extensive repairs to them all.

"We put four concrete foundations down into rock - tied existing pier into those posts and solidified the foundations," said Buchholz.
Buchholz says the repairs provide corrosion protection for 75 years.  A near tragedy caused by corrosive fills that based on this document transportation engineers will now be more wary of.
"The soil showed fly ash fill,  but we never asked was it corrosive or not corrosive," said Buchholz. "What this shows is now we need to be asking those questions when you run into fly ash fill."
The report also tells how WisDOT installed corrosion monitoring equipment at eight sites on both sides of the Fox River that will be checked every two years.
Final cost of project $15 million.
[WeAreGreeenBay]
NACE has links to the 3000 page final report. Fortunately, the report starts with a 3 page executive summary.
Final Report, Part I, page 2 of the Executive Summary



(new window)



(new window)


(new window) (Includes diesel pile driver action.)





Monday, January 22, 2018

Edward L. Ryerson, a Great Lakes Steamer

I came across links for this boat twice within hours of each other. As is my policy, when I see a topic twice in a short period of time, I consider that an omen to write about the topic. It did set several milestones in shipping history: "The Ryerson was the last American-flagged new ship built on the Great Lakes until the launch of the Stewart J. Cort in 1972.  She was the last U.S. laker to be built as a steamer, the last to be built without a self-unloader, the last lake boat to be constructed at the Manitowoc, WI shipyards, and the last and only to be built with such aesthetically pleasing lines." [BoatNerd]

I found that BoatNerd page when I was researching the introduction of self-unloaders. About four hours later, I saw this posting. See Old Lakers for some other "bridge on the bow" boats that I have seen.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum posted six photos with the comment:
January 21, 1960: The EDWARD L. RYERSON was launched into the ice-filled river at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. She marked the end of a shipbuilding era as the last freighter built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The Ryerson was also the last U.S.-flagged laker built as a steamer and the last to be built as a straight-decker (without a self-unloading boom). Built for Inland Steel, she was constructed specifically to carry iron ore pellets.
The Ryerson is beloved by many for her unique streamlined design and distinctive steam whistles. She has been laid up periodically over the years due to downturns in the steel market, but she has amazingly managed to avoid the scrapper's torch. The Edward L. Ryerson has been in long-term layup in Superior, Wisconsin since 2009.

1
The bulk carrier EDWARD L. RYERSON, nicknamed "Fast Eddie," doing her sea trials on Lake Michigan in August 1960.

2
The hull of the bulk carrier EDWARD L. RYERSON ready to be launched at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company on January 21, 1960.

3
The EDWARD L. RYERSON splashing into the Manitowoc River at 12:00 pm on January 21, 1960. The local newspaper reported "“The hull of the ship rode majestically down the launching way as the ropes were cut. It hit the water with a resounding roar and the ice jammed river swelled into a mountainous wave, grinding ice cakes together with the sound of breaking glass.”

4
Cover of launching luncheon program for the EDWARD L. RYERSON.

5
Inside of launching program for the EDWARD L. RYERSON.

6
Launching schedule for EDWARD L. RYERSON at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company on January 21, 1960.
Notice the capacity of around 26,000 tons. If I'm remembering correctly, modern 1000-foot Lakers can carry 70,000. Maybe someone can convert the cargo hold into casino rooms.

Update:
Jeff Rueckert posted three photos with the comment: "Flash Back ! Edward L Ryerson in Manitowoc."

1

2

3
Chuck Bornemann Amazed she ever got out of Manty
Satellite
Skip Heckel posted the question: "Anybody know where the Ryerson is moored?"
Skip Heckel Ben Stalvey I was talking with a friend, Jim Derusha, whose Dad owned Marinette Marine back in the day, he said they had to cut some of the land back because the RYERSON was too long to make it around a bend.
Ben Stalvey Skip Heckel very true it is called the Ryerson bend.
Gen SterenbergGen and 2 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Great Lakes Ship Watchers. I found a cool website with great Ryerson info including 2 MP3 files with salutes at the end. http://dlund.20m.com/photo6.html
Ben Stalvey Been sitting in the same place for years

It was not only the last ship launched at Manitowoc, WI, at 730' it was the longest laker at that time. It was also fast, 19mph; thus its nickname of Fast Eddie. [DuluthHarborCam]
(new window) If you about to quit because of boredom, at least skip to 7:21 for a few seconds. And 8:05 is worth a look.


Lost/ComEd Ridgeland Generating Station

(Satellite image below)
I knew ComEd had the Fisk and Crawford Generating Stations along the South Branch and Canal. The comments on the following photo taught me that ComEd had a third generating station along the waterway --- Ridgeland.
Jerry Jackson posted
I'll bet the guy in the 76' AMC Hornet could care less about this train and wonders if his spare is any good. I, on the other hand, wore a glove. Driving up the Stevenson Expressway, just past Harlem Ave. I saw this cool lash-up just after it had crossed the DesPlaines River, rolled the winder down and took as many as I safely could. This one was the best of the grab shots. The train is headed towards Nerska/Corwith. January 1988.
Mark Bilecki Sr. No thats not Ridgeland station , thats the Metro Water Reclaimation plant in the background. Ridgeland was directly north of where the photo was taken.
The plant existed in 1938:
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Satellite
The canal has been removed and the cooling pond was moved. A 1951 aerial shows construction activity. A 1972 aerial shows the land looking similar to what we see today. The plant itself doesn't seem to change much until we get to a 1988 aerial and see that it is gone.

Three sources say it was built in the early 1950s:
  • JohnnyBigboy1425: "It was the most Modern Power plant in the world when it came on line in the 50's. People from all over the world would come and see it's operation."
  • IEEE: "Newest addition to the Commonwealth Edison Company is the Ridgeland Station with an ultimate capacity of 600,000 kw. The result of long-range planning, the station has many modern features including centralized control, cyclone-fired furnaces, and hydrogen-cooled generators."
  • Chicago Tribune: "The first completely new electric generating station built in the Chicago area since 1929"
So why do I see the same buildings with the same smokestacks exist in the 1938 aerial??? My current working assumption is that it was built as a coal plant and converted to an oil-burning plant in the early 1950s. JohnnyBigboy1425 also stated: "When I worked there, in the operating department it was an oil burning plant, it had been converted from coal some years before I started working there." Because OPEC very successfully increased the price of petroleum products in the 1970s, JohnnyBigboy1425 says it was dismantled piece by piece and reassembled in Florida. It must be the Florida plant that rmurwin is referring to with his 2014 comment: "This power plant is still in operation, albeit heavily modified. It now burns biofuel (wood). Ferndog confirms it was closed in 1982 due to high oil costs.

AE&FR: Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Interurban

Wikipedia
I normally don't pay attention to interurban because learning the regular railroads is challenging enough. But this route had an interesting freight remnant. And that remnant had an even more interesting remnant that supports the Fox River Trolley Museum. Plus the route has provided bridges across the Fox River for the Fox River Trail.

The freight remnant went from Coleman Junction with the CN/IC north along the Fox River until it curved west to run parallel along La Fox Street. Where La Fox Street becomes State Street, the tracks became part of the streetcar system in Elgin. That is, the AE&FR did street running. The remnant of the remnant runs south from the Fox River Trolley Museum to Blackhawk Station Fox River Trolley.

David Wilson Flickr 1966 Photo, License: CC BY

Mark Llanuza posted
One the second to the last coal empties going back to the IC Railroad interchange at Coleman Jct at South Elgin IL 1973 heads south coming back from the ILLinois State Hospital going past the Fox River Museum in South Elgin IL.
Dennis DeBruler I learned a lot while researching your photo and caption such as the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River. Thanks for the glimpse into our past. This photo is looking north where the AE&FR quit paralleling La Fox Street and headed towards the river. https://www.google.com/.../@41.9910099,-88.../data=!3m1!1e3

AJ Grigg posted 26 photos from his visit to the Fox River Trolley Museum. I corrected a statement that the museum uses a remnant of the CA&E by saying it used the AE&FR. Frank provided some more details.
Frank Smitty Schmidt The CA&E and the AE&FRE were originally both divisions of the AE&C. They separated when the AE&C came out of bankruptcy in the early 1920s.
Dennis DeBruler So it is a remnant of AE&C and AE&FR. And AE&C = CA&E+AE&FR.
Frank Smitty Schmidt Before the AE&C, the line originally started out as part of the Elgin Aurora & Southern Traction Co. in the late 1890s.

Jon Habermaas ROW was not CA&E but rather the Aurora Elgin and Fox River Electric which ran north-south along the Fox River which ran between Carpentersvile and Yorkville serving communities between. This portion of the line survived to provide coal delivery to the state hospital at Elgin.