Friday, May 31, 2019

Archer Avenue Bridge over South Fork of South Branch of Chicago River


Who would have guessed that Archer Avenue used to have interesting bridges. Obviously the remnants of Bubbly Creek used to be considered navigable because the CN/GM&O/Alton bridge was movable.

Lynn Henschel-Drayer posted
View of the streetcar crossing the Archer Avenue Bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois. The streetcar is approaching a curve in the tracks. The Archer Avenue Bridge, a trunnion bascule bridge, connected the McKinley Park and Bridgeport community areas.
[This comment about it being a cable car was wrong, but I include it because it provides the dates for cable car service in Chicago. I was wondering about those dates just a week ago. Other comments indicate they would not run a cable car route over a movable bridge.]
Michael Bose This picture must have been taken between 1893 and 1906. The "street car" is a Chicago cable car, and the line it is on was among the last to be converted from horse-drawn to cable car. There are no overhead wires, and no trolley poles on the car; also the iron lined slot between the tracks is a giveaway that's it's a cable car. Chicago's cable car system was the world's largest in 1900, bigger than San Francisco's, but it was all converted to electric trolley cars by 1906 (a decade after the El was converted from steam to electric).
Michael Bose There had been a lot of accidents with people being run over by the cable car when trying to board with the car moving. The guards were added to keep people out from under the car.
[Eugene Klichowski commented that the partial view of the bridge on the left is the predecessor of today's Alton Bridge. That must have been before the tracks were elevated. I wonder what the truss bridge on the right was for.]
Eugene Klichowski The fork close to Archer bubbles today because of the waste from the soap factories that were on the east bank. It was the east west portion that was called Bubbly Creek in the early 1900's and the reversal of the Chicago river in 1900 pushed 500 gallons of water into the stock yards every day, keeping the waste from entering the mouth of the south fork. In wet seasons Bubbly Creek would flow towards Mud Lake.

Lynn commented on her post
This is the original bridge at that site.. It was built in 1870 and replaced in 1906.

Gary Statkus commented on Lynn's post
The reason for the curve could be for a turn to get down to 31st Street. From and old streetcar route map.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Flood of 2019: A&M/Frisco Bridge over Arkansas River near Forth Smith, AR

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; 3D Satellite)

A&M = Arkansas & Missouri, a regular railroad with a tourist operation     (system map)

Screenshot  @ -0:59
3D Satellite
I looked through all of the images available on Global Earth to confirm that the river is always this wide. But it is not normally that high. And normally the current is slow enough that there is no turbulence downstream of the piers.
On the right side of this street view, I have captured a view of the swing pier. Given the clumps of trees on both sides of the swing span, it is hard to believe that there used to be a navigable channel over there. Especially since the lift span wasn't added until 1976. [Tom Duggan's comment on Bridge Hunter in 2006]
Street View, looking Northwest from US-71 Business

Rachel Rodemann, SWtimes1
[In 2014, both northern cables broke stopping both rail and river traffic.]
The first train crossed the rail bridge at the Arkansas River from Fort Smith to Van Buren late Thursday since the bridge got struck Tuesday.
A crew of about 30 worked all day Thursday after bridge inspectors from a firm in St. Louis examined on Wednesday the damage from two cables that had snapped, tilting the bridge and making it impassable, said railroad Police Chief Ron Sparks with Arkansas & Missouri Railroad.
Crews worked in 20-degree temperatures to get the bridge level for rail traffic. The first train crossed the bridge from Fort Smith to Van Buren about 8:20 p.m., Sparks said.
“We’ll be running trains all night to get the freight caught up,” Sparks said. “There are 12 barges in the river waiting to come through.”
Sparks said he expected river traffic to resume by daylight Friday. Coast Guard officials came up with plans to use towboats on either side of the bridge to push a barge across, or to use towboats with retractable wheelhouses to get under the bridge.
“From then, we’ll be working on that bridge from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day until we get it back up and operational where it will go up and down,” Sparks said. “Saturday, Sunday, whatever it takes we’ll be out there.”
Crews still are unsure what caused the cables to snap.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

1909 Manhattan Bridge over the East River in NYC, NY

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges, rates 10 and 10; HAERNYCroads3D Satellite)

Arthur Overdijk posted
New York
It's not the Brooklyn Bridge, but it does look like it was the second bridge I checked: Manhattan Bridge.
Photo from HAER NY,31-NEYO,164--1 from ny0980

1. VIEW LOOKING TOWARDS MANHATTAN WITH BROOKLYN BRIDGE ON RIGHT - Manhattan Bridge, Spanning East River at Flatbush Avenue, between New York City & Brooklyn, New York County, NY

[It looks like the World Trade Towers are still standing on the left.]
This single span suspension bridge contains one of the longest suspension spans in the U.S., and had the largest carrying capacity in the country when it was built. It is unusual in that it was designed as a dual-level bridge; carrying street-cars on the upper level and subway tracks on the lower, with roadways in the center of each level. The approaches to the bridge were designed by Carrere and Hastings, and incorporated allegorical figures of Manhattan and Brooklyn by Daniel Chester French, which have since been removed to the Brooklyn Museum. [HAER]

1910 Postcard via Bridge Hunter

One of the important design considerations concerning suspension bridges is anchoring the suspension cables.
Photo taken by Geoff Hubbs in March 2019, License: Released into public domain

Original cross-section of the roadway on the Manhattan Bridge. (Figure by Paul Phillipe Cret and Rudolphe Modjeski.)
[The lower rails were for subways and the upper rails were for streetcars.]
The subway traffic hastened the deterioration of the bridge because the concentrated load of a train twisted the deck. Over a half-billion dollars was spent during the 1990s and 2000s to reconstruct the deck. It had already been reconfigured from four streetcar and four vehicle lanes to seven vehicle lanes. Each streetcar level carries two lanes and the center part now carries three reversible lanes. And, of course, the vehicles are no longer horse&buggies. [NYCroads]

Monday, May 27, 2019

I-75 DRAWBRIDGE! over Saginaw River in Zilwaukee, MI

1960 Drawbridge: (Bridge Hunter)
1987 High Bridge: (Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

Chris Childes shared
Eric Simandl Some congressman had a cousin in the drawbridge business. They weren't supposed to be on Interstate Highways.

Up North Voice posted
Up North Voice You would think twice if you knew how had they botched the construction of the new one
Joe Newcomb Sr. Up North Voice I remember. They built from both end and when they met in the middle they were way off.
Joe Newcomb Sr. Justin Gates Google Zilwaukee Bridge accident. During holidays and deer season with the original draw bridge traffic would be backed up for 30-40 miles while ships went through.
Todd Kraemer They finished the new bridge just in time to not need to send ore up to Saginaw foundry....closed...
Shelley Letts Hart Todd Kraemer actually the foundry is still open and flourishing. What did change was the delivery of raw material from barge to truck. Still, I think most of us will agree the “new” bridge facilitates better traffic flow.
Christine Rousseau I worked at Farm Bureau with Michigan Elevator next door. The bridge opened for those huge ships to come to us! Grain and supplies. Ships from Russia and China I believe. Some of their sailors would come into our retail store for gloves and rope, etc. They were
[I presume this is the elevator.]

The bridge was only 150 feet wide and several ships actually hit the bridge, causing damage and additional tie-ups on the freeway as well. To top it off, shipping traffic actually quadrupled in the years after the bridge was completed and the back-ups on the freeway reached three to four hours in duration and often up to 30 miles in length. The worst back-ups, of course, occurred during major holiday weekends and during the fall hunting season.
As one can image, there were a lot of rear-end accidents. [MDOT via report2]

The new bridge has a vertical clearance of 125' to accommodate salties from the St. Lawrence Seaway. [MDOT via report2] That height would explain why I'm reading comments about people being scared to use the bridge. It did make a list of dangerous roads.
Photo taken by Richard Doody in November 1983 via Bridge Hunter

In April 2008, a scheduled $3.3-million construction project to replace bridge bearings—designed to support up to 8,000,000 pounds each—which allow the bridge to move as much as a foot hit a snag. Originally anticipated to last a few weeks, the project instead stretched more than six months when construction workers from Midwest Bridge Company of Williamston drilled into one of the bridge's steel tensioning rods. Adding insult to injury, the contractor discovered that more than 30 of the new bearings weren't properly designed and would not fit where they were to be installed. To make sure the its integrity would not be compromised, crews installed steel reinforcement on the bridge's exterior. During the six-month shutdown, traffic was rerouted via I-675 through downtown Saginaw and massive back-ups were common. Traffic began using the Zilwaukee Bridge again on October 1, 2008.
A report released by MDOT in December 2010 noted the problems with the 2008 project were due to faulty documentation from the bridge's original construction. "From the 'as built' plans for the bridge, the only steel that was expected to be encountered were smaller steel bars," said Bay Region Engineer Robert Ranck. "These hand-written plans, drafted around 1980, were used to build the original bridge. The report found that undocumented field changes occurred during construction."
[Another repair] project ran from April 2013 through 2015. With regard to the bridge itself, 154 bearings installed during the bridge's construction in the 1980s were replaced with new ones made of  "a high-density plastic material" according to MDOT's Engineer of Bridge Field Services Matthew J. Chynoweth. [The original bearings were made with "stainless steel, neoprene and teflon" [MDOT via report4]] The bearings—designed to support up to 8 million pounds each—require replacement because of normal wear and tear since the bridge's opening in 1987.  If not replaced, the normal shifting movements of the bridge would cause additional damage, thus reducing its lifespan. Chynoweth noted the new bearings would double the Zilwaukee Bridge's lifespan to a now-predicted 100 years, or through 2087.
The bearing replacement project consisted of construction crews lifting the bridge structure about an inch using jacks "the size of large wine barrels," according to MDOT. Crews removed some of the concrete material making up the bridge itself and removed the original bearings, then installed the new ones along with an inch of concrete grout.
To replace the worn out expansion bearings, they needed to lift the superstructure off the substructure at every pier and expansion joint location, which is 75 times. Some of the lifts are over 17,000,000 pounds. [TCtimes, paycount]

MDOT via report4
When the 940', 1700-ton launching girder is over a pier, the expansion joint is immobilized using a block of high-strength concrete. On Aug 28, 1982, while a concrete segment was being transported, the immobilization block for span 11 was crushed, fractured the pier's footing, and the span tilted. [MDOT via report4] They were able to build new pilings and a footing and salvage the pier columns and the span. [MDOT via report5]

MDOT via report7

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Highland|ND|HI Junction Tower: NS/NYC/Kankakee Belt vs. Aban/Erie+C&O

(no CRJ; see below for Satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:    Olson     Garon
no Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers

Pete Fileca posted
Mike Breski CNW lost? LOL Never knew of them in this area, south west and north yes, or borrowed power?Pete Fileca Good question. It’s from 1994

Yellow is the abandoned route used by Erie Lackawanna and C&O and Blue is the existing Norfolk Southern route.
Danville Branch  Segments now owned by NS and various short line operators, some segments abandoned.

Click for Google Map of Southwest Lake County 
ND/HIGHLAND Mechanical interlocking installed 1906  Closed 1982 Former crossing with Erie Railroad, abandoned 1980.

USGS, Highland, 1953, 1:24,000
According to a shadow in a 1951 historic aerial, the black rectangle in the northwest quadrant was the tower's location. So the train is southbound.
The map agrees with the aerial photo concerning the connection in the northeast quadrant.

In addition to the Highland name on the sign in the photo, this tower was also known by the telegraph codes HI and ND. NYC used ND so I assume HI was Erie's code.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Building the 1911-22 Cal Sag Channel

(Satellite, a comment suggested the Palos area with the moraine in the background. Unfortunately, I don't know where the moraine is. I do notice there is a Moraine Valley Community College.)

There many more photos of the construction in 1922 Blue Island Lock.

MWRD posted
Construction of the Cal Sag Channel on April 20, 1917. The Sanitary District of Chicago (now MWRD) built the 16-mile long channel between 1911 and 1922.
Kevin Coyote-Trust Does MWRD know roughly where the pic was taken?
Joseph Obrien Looks like the Palos area with the moraine in the background.
The Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal that opened in 1900 reversed the flow of the Chicago River. This channel reversed the flow of the Calumet Rivers. The equipment to get material up and out of the channel has changed significantly since the CS&SC construction. Note the block of dolostone that the right "crane" is removing.

MWRD posted
The Cal-Sag Channel under construction in Blue Island on April 19, 1921, viewed from the south channel wall showing the Stony Creek outfall and the Ann Street bridge with a concrete conveyor tower at the north end of the bridge.

Dennis DeBruler commented ond MWRD's post
You can clearly see the outflow in this 1938 aerial photo. The only bridge that hasn't changed location is the Metra/Rock Island Bridge.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Flood of 2019: BNSF/BN/Frisco Bridge and Keystone Dam at Tulsa, OK

(Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

Thomas Jenner posted
BNSF 7305 east, H-TPLTUL (Temple, TX - Tulsa, OK), crosses the Arkansas River in Tulsa, OK at milepost 424.6. The Arkansas River is currently flowing at 104,000 cubic feet per second and 22 feet stage feet in Tulsa.
5/23/2019 16:50
[To put that in perspective, I think 100 kcfps was the original design limit for the Oroville Dam's Spillway.]
The Holly Refinery shuts down due to Tulsa flood worries

Officials Encourage Flood Preparation as Keystone Dam Releases Go to 250,000 CFS "Water flowing into Keystone Lake should peak this afternoon around 320,000 cfs." The new Oroville Dam spillway design can do more than 200 kcfs, but I think the number is less than 250 kcfs.

A USACE spokesperson at around 27 seconds left in this video states that the channel's capacity is 105 kcfs and they are spilling just 86 kcfs, so no problem. I guess she hasn't got the memo about the 250 kcfs release!

I think a lot of the news articles I was looking at were using file footage for the video because the lower arm of the Tainter gates angled down. But here is a video where you can see that the first few gates on the left side have the lower arm at an almost horizontal angle.

I see they have gone even a little above 250 kcfs. It appears on the day they received 1.8" of rain they should have ramped up to at least 150 kcfs. Maybe then they could have kept the max flow at 200 kcfs instead of needing 250 kcsfs.

From  Note that the hydro plant has been shut down. Another thing I learned from the Oroville disaster was that when the downstream level gets too high, they have to shutdown the hydro plant so that it does not get flooded.

KEYO2 : Keystone Lake, OK

KEYS Status Image

Current Readings:

  • 32.31 ft ABOVE normal
  • Pool elevation is 755.31 feet on Friday 24May19 Time: 0400 hours.
  • At this elevation the total amount of water stored in Keystone Lake is 1631759 acre-feet.
  • Reservoir release is 253161 cubic feet per second on Friday 24May19 Time: 0400 hours.
  • Flood control pool is 106.30% full.
  • Flood control pool storage filled is 1199839 acre-feet which is equivalent to 1.01 inches of runoff over the entire drainage basin.
  • Flood control pool storage empty is -71159 acre-feet which is equivalent to -0.06 inches of runoff over the entire drainage basin.

Current Gate Settings:

  • Tainter Gate 1 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 10 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 11 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 12 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 13 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 14 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 15 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 16 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 17 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 18 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 2 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 3 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 4 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 5 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 6 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 7 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 8 = 12.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 9 = 12.25 ft

Evaporation Data:

Daily Computed
  • 0.480 inches - 24May2019 @ 0700

Reservoir Data:

ElevationIncremental StorageCumulative Storage
Surcharge Pool:757.000.141665221.461727123
Flood Control Pool:754.000.9511286801.321560600
Conservation Pool:723.000.22347560.37431920
Inactive Pool:706.000.171971640.17197164

Streambed Elevation: 650.00 feet.
Top of Dam Elevation: 771.00 feet.
All storages based on a contributing drainage area of 22350 square miles or 1192053 acre-feet
Longitude: -96° 15' 6" Latitude: 36° 9' 6"
Map of Keystone Lake Dam

Links for More Information:

Graphs of Measured and Calculated Lake Parameters:

View 24H and 1Day Graphs (Enlarged)
Lake Graph
 In Flow
 Out Flow

Keystone Lake near Sand Springs, OK

Go to Tulsa District Water Control Home Page. 
: The Lake Pages are subject to change.Last Page Update: Friday, 24 May 2019 04:04

This is the only photo I found with the lower arms close to horizontal. Then I noticed it was taken in May, 2019.
T.J. Burrows

HWY 75 bridge crosses a swollen Arkansas River on Friday, May 24, 2019. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
[Many of the photos before this one show that some zoning authority allowed a subdivision of houses to be built on a flood plain. But I could not find where "South 145th West Ave. near Oklahoma 51" is on the map. At the bottom of the gallery is a video that starts with the muddy waters pouring over the Keystone Dam.]

Update:  I just saw a view of Tulsa on the Weather Channel showing what looked like a downtown area under water. They were making a point that they are going to stay at the current flood stage for many days because even more rain is on the way.

KEYO2 : Keystone Lake, OK

KEYS Status Image

ATTENTION: The release values for the graphic above are inaccurate.
Please use the bolded red release value below. Which is based on several measurements by the USGS
of the flow at the 71st street bridge in Tulsa. NO gate changes were made at Keystone Lake last night.
The current data for the gage mentioned above can be found HERE and HERE.
Thank you for your patience we are working to correct the issue.

Current Readings:

  • 33.89 ft ABOVE normal
  • Pool elevation is 756.89 feet on Wednesday 29May19 Time: 06:00 hours.
  • At this elevation the total amount of water stored in Keystone Lake is 1720862 acre-feet.
  • Reservoir release is 272564 cubic feet per second on Wednesday 29May19 Time: 05:00 hours.
  • Flood control pool is 114.20% full.
  • Flood control pool storage filled is 1288942 acre-feet which is equivalent to 1.08 inches of runoff over the entire drainage basin.
  • Flood control pool storage empty is 0 acre-feet which is equivalent to 0.00 inches of runoff over the entire drainage basin.

Current Gate Settings:

  • Tainter Gate 1 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 2 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 3 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 4 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 5 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 6 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 7 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 8 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 9 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 10 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 11 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 12 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 13 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 14 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 15 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 16 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 17 = 13.25 ft
  • Tainter Gate 18 = 13.25 ft

Evaporation Data:

  • 0.147 inches - 29MAY2019 @ 07:00

Reservoir Data:

ElevationIncremental StorageCumulative Storage
Surcharge Pool:757.000.141665221.461727123
Flood Control Pool:754.000.9511286801.321560600
Conservation Pool:723.000.22347560.37431920
Inactive Pool:706.000.171971640.17197164

Streambed Elevation: 650.00 feet.
Top of Dam Elevation: 771.00 feet.
All storages based on a contributing drainage area of 22350 square miles or 1192053 acre-feet
Longitude: -96° 15' 6" Latitude: 36° 9' 6"
Map of Keystone Lake Dam

Links for More Information:

Graphs of Measured and Calculated Lake Parameters:

View 24H and 1Day Graphs (Enlarged)
Lake Graph
 In Flow
 Out Flow

Keystone Lake near Sand Springs, OK

Go to Tulsa District Water Control Home Page. 
: The lake pages are currently undergoing changesLast Page Update: Wednesday, 29 May 2019 06:04

Bill Neill shared
Joe DeCarlo Grex cars built by Ebenezer Railcar in West Seneca, Ny.
Mark Abercrombie Going to have plenty work by the looks of it.
Graeme Nitz posted
May 30 2019 Eastbound Ballast Train with BNSF 4505 C44-9W and DP BNSF Executive 9701 SD70MAC. Arkansas River Tulsa OK
It looks like the river flow peaked a couple of days before the GREX train photo at 280 kcfps.
Lake Graph

Friday, May 17, 2019

1940+1988 US-6 Bridge over Black River in Lorain, OH

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges3D Satellite)

The design appears to be a fixed trunnion bascule bridge, and its 330' span was the worlds longest when completed in 1940. It is now considered the second longest span in the world. When it was rehabilitated in 1988, it was renamed from the Erie Avenue Bridge to the Charles Berry Bridge "in honor of Lorain native Charles J. Berry, a Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a minor grenade battle on Iwo Jima." [Revolvy]

Linda S. Seabold via her comment in Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

C Hanchey in July 2012, via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)
• Approximately 1,500 lifts are made per year
• The average lift for a sailboat is 4-5 minutes
• The average lift for a ship is 12-15 minutes

Rona Proudfoot Flickr, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)

The Spar Garnet enters Lorain this afternoon a little before 4 p.m.

The Spar Garnet, from Bergen, Norway, is Lorain's second salty. The Yosemite left today a little after 1 p.m., and the tugs Iowa and California hung around to bring the Spar Garnet in as well.

A 2007 Flickr showing the bridge raised for a freighter with a superstructure on the bow.

Ohio DOT upgraded the electrical controls in 1998. ODOT also repaints the bridge about every 10 years. "With the additions that have been made, and proper maintenance to the bridge there is no reason why the bridge would not last well into the 21st Century." [LorainCounty]

I read that it is currently being rehabilitated and that a concrete deck is being added. Unfortunately, I can't find that tidbit of info again for reference. Normally bascule leaves that are four lanes wide with two sidewalks would have a metal mesh deck to reduce the air resistance. The following street view shows that it did have a metal deck.
Street View
I suspect the diagonal grid is an attempt to reduce the wiggling of tires as they roll across the deck. That wiggle can be especially unnerving for motorcycle riders. Bridge builders soon learned that the counterweights don't help much when the leaf is up and acting like a sale. The wind resistance of a solid deck could overwhelm the machinery. I guess in the 21st Century they have developed machinery that is strong enough to handle the wind pressure of a solid deck.

I did a quick check of I-290 in Chicago with street view (below). I see it now has a solid deck. It used to have a steel mesh deck. I remember driving my minivan over it, and I could feel the mesh wiggle the van from side to side. It was a subtle wiggle, but it was enough that my wife also felt it. If a mesh deck can impact a van, imagine what it can do to a motorcycle.
Street View

Thursday, May 16, 2019

CN/EJ&E Bridge over DuPage River in Plainfield, IL

(no Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

Why bother with yet another steel girder bridge? First of all, it shows that the DuPage River gets pretty big after the West and East Forks merge.

Secondly, when I first looked at the satellite image, I was surprised that the pier stuck out in the downstream direction. Ice breaking protrusions should be on the upstream side. Then I realized that the EJ&E might have had two tracks. This was confirmed by looking at the abutments of this bridge and of the bridge across Division Street. But looking at the satellite photo, the embankment supports just one track. So evidently the piers and abutments were built to make it easy to add a second track to the line.

Thomas Fabianski posted
Over the DuPage.
LHF BLE 902 makes an unusual pose as it crosses the DuPage river in Plainfield. The Swelled River from the recent rains has pushed alot of tree branches along the bridge embankment, making the waters look pretty rough under there, but otherwise the river was relitavely calm, and a few fish swam by as the train passed.
Another one off the bucket list: taken 5-14-19
A street view shows a lower level. Although it was raining. This is the first time I have seen street views being taken in the rain.
Street View
Although the river may have been pretty high in that street view as well. This is the trail bridge on the other side of Division Street.
Street View
And I took the photo below during a special trip to take photos of the Des Plaines and Fox Rivers after we had a lot of rain for several days in the area. The river doesn't look much higher than the above street view. So Thomas did seem to catch the river at a rather high level. I've done more than one field trip after heavy rains to catch high river levels. Now I need to go on a trip after a drought period to document how low the rivers get.
20170725 0569rc

A third reason this bridge was interesting is that when I looked at the boundaries of Plainfield to see if the preposition in the title should be "in" or "near," I learned that the boundary is complicated. There are boundary lines on both sides of the bridge. When you zoom in on the bridge, the boundary lines disappear. But I think the boundary lines jog around the bridge to keep the railroad out of the town. I also noticed that north of 135th Street, the railroad seems to be just outside of the boundary. I assume the railroad resisted annexation as much as possible to keep its property taxes lower.
Nick Hart posted
Approaching the River Sub in Plainfield, the Joliet-East Morris L509 crosses the Duper (better known as the DuPage River) with a pair of Illinois Central deathstars.
[CN engines that still have the IC "Death Start" livery are a favorite with railfans. And this is a reminder that CN bought both IC and EJ&E because these engines are on EJ&E tracks.]

Nick's caption will help me remember where the River Sub joins the mainline (Leithton Sub, I believe).

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Abandoned Lime Kiln and Santa Fe RR Branch

A lime kiln from a limestone quarry is preserved in the Keepataw County Forest Preserve. The official parking lot is on top of the river bluff. To see this kiln, you need to park in a picnic area off Bluff Road and walk to the Veterans Memorial Trail and go south under I-355.
20140820 0035 taken from Veterans Memorial Trail
The Keepataw site is significant both for its association with the giant Western Stone Company and its long-time president, Martin B. Madden, and for what it can reveal about large-scale turn-ofthe-century limestone quarrying and processing operations. Between 1889 and 1918, the Keepataw site was part of the vast holdings of Western Stone, "the largest company of its kind in America."1 This giant combine of six important Des Plaines Valley quarrying companies was formed in 1889, just as local limestone was being supplanted as a building material by Indiana Bedford limestone and various stone substitutes....By 1920, the company had long since ceased active operation.
The quarry was served by the Chicago Santa Fe & California Railway (an ATSF subsidiary).
1940 Aerial Photo from ILHAP plus Paint

Satellite plus Paint
The reference has much more information about the rise and fall of dimension stone production in the Des Plaines Valley. The superior weathering qualities of Bedford Limestone, labor problems, and new construction materials such as "terra cotta, artificial stone, and Portland cement" doomed the local industry by the early 1900s. Bedford Limestone was also better for dimension stones because it could be cut thinner because it was harder.

Quarrying companies also often maintained on-site facilities for the production of lime, a limestone by-product used in making mortar and portland cement, among other things. Lime is derived from limestone by heating the stone to between 900 and 1,000 degrees, and thereby freeing carbonic acid gas (carbon dioxide).
Commercial lime burning has long been done in permanent structures known as lime kilns. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, lime kilns were of two general types: intermittent kilns and continuous kilns. Intermittent kilns needed to be cooled and reloaded between each burning. Continuous kilns, as their name implies, could be fueled and loaded without interruption.
[, pp20-21]
Continuous kilns fell into three sub-categories: mixed feed, separate feed, and rotary kilns. Mixed feed kilns were so named because limestone and fuel were charged into the kiln in alternate layers. One type of mixed feed kiln, dubbed by Grimsley in 1906 as the "old type," were square stone "pot" kilns. Grimsley described these as 18 to 20 feet high and 10 to 12 feet square. These kilns were fired with coal, although a wood fire was built at the bottom to start the lowest layer of coal burning. As the fire gradually worked its way up the kiln, the burned lime was removed and new layers of coal and limestone were fed from the top. According to Grimsley, "the kilns [were] cheap in construction, the process of burning [was] simple, and the lime [was] usually of good degree of strength, but [was] apt to be dark in color."
[, p22]
The separate feed kiln type, which by 1905 was said to be "used at most of the larger lime-burning plants," comprised a wide variety of patent kilns.103 In general, these kilns, rising 25 to 35 feet, were taller than the mixed feed kilns. Most were sheathed in steel or iron and lined with fire brick, although some were constructed of stone. The limestone was charged from the top, as in mixed feed kilns. The fuel, however, was burned in separate furnaces located either inside or outside the wall of the kiln. Thus, the limestone was burned by the hot furnace gases, rather than by the fuel itself. As in the mixed feed kilns, the burned lime was removed from the bottom of the kiln. One typical separate feed kiln, the Keystone kiln, was raised above the ground so that the burned lime could be discharged from the bottom of the kiln directly into small rail cars running beneath it.
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