Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hulett Iron Ore Unloaders

(Dock mounted unloaders such as the Huletts were made obsolete by self-unloaders.)

Frederick & Pennsylvania Line Railroad Museum, Inc posted six photos with the comment:
George H. Hulett of Conneaut, OH patented his new machine, the Hulett Iron-Ore Unloader in 1898. His machine revolutionized ore ship unloading by reducing the time needed to unload an entire bulk ship by almost 75% and it only required a crew of two to operate. Between 1898 and 1960, a total of 75 Hulett's were built. The first Hulett's were built by Webster, Camp & Lane Machine Akron OH. After 1903, all others were built by Cleveland's Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co. The early Hulett's were steam powered with a bucket capacity of 10 tons and rated unloading capacity up to 275 tons per hour. Later models, after 1910, were electric powered (with several 75HP DC motors) with a bucket capacity up to 22 tons and rated at 475 tons per hour. Many of these machines operated for almost 90 years primarily in the Southern Great Lakes Region. All photos (except one) are from 1943 at the Cleveland and Pittsburgh (C&P) Ore Dock. This facility was designed and built by the Pennsylvania Railroad and put into service in 1912.New self unloading ships put the Hulett's out of work by 1992. In 2000 two of the C&P Hulett's were domolished while two were dismantled for future display and are currently stored at Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s C&P Ore Docks. All photos Library of Congress collection.






James Torgeson posted
The railroad tracks are long gone from the vicinity of the World's last standing Hulett unloaders at this former Republic Steel ore dock on the Calumet River. These 17-ton Huletts were built by the Defense Plant Corporation as part of the expansion of the plant during WW2. They spent their final years unloading coal from barges to supply the nearby former Republic Steel coke plant. The nearest Hulett has been converted to remote control operation from the blue enclosure. They were demolished in early 2010. May 31, 2008.
Clare Gilbert For anybody who never saw a Hulett in action the sound was amazing. These things had gears the size of a small house.
Les Buhite I remember them in Conneaut, Ohio. They were oddly creepy in action. I suspected they were the inspiration for the imperial walkers in Star Wars.
James Torgeson Yes, Conneaut had five, plus a Hulett "garage."
Les Buhite As I recall, one bucket broke loose and fell into a boat in the mid-70s. The operator was killed, sadly.
A neighbor, now also too-soon deceased, worked in the bowels of the boats during the final clean-up, pushing ore out of the corners with a bobcat to where the buckets could grab it. I can't say that I envied him.
I lived in Conneaut for a few years in the mid 80s. The Huletts were gone by then. (The Berkshire at the RR museum is worth a visit. But that's another story.)
James Torgeson Les Buhite The Huletts had their share of mishaps, usually minor compared to the incident you described. Another serious accident happened at the Rouge during the War, when one of their Huletts got knocked over by a laker!
Tony Caruso 2 dismantled remain in cleveland. One leg and shovel in Conneaut. One leg in ashtabula on display at maritime museum. Go to save the

Brad Butcher What replaced hueletts?
James Torgeson Self-unloading vessels which could handle ore pellets easily. Prior to pellets, the natural ore was often very difficult to self-unload.

Bryan Howell I remember seeing these off Ave. O heading south to Hegewisch. Wish I would have gotten to see them in action.
Michael Maitland Fascinating area to explore. Republic was on the east side of the Calumet river from about 109th to 122nd street. The famous strike was here, with the photos of the workers and policemen battling. Coke was across the river on the west side around 114th street and went over via conveyor. Further north, on the west side, around 110th street, Wisconsin steel also had a fully integrated mill. As the river empties into Lake Michigan, you had the massive US steel south works on the north and the YST 95th street complex, both bordering the river. - all gone now, including Acme, that tried to keep some stuff going.
James Torgeson The ArcelorMittal Riverdale facility is former Acme/Interlake. The coke suspension bridge was also former Acme. Republic had its own coke plant.
James Torgeson It’s very hard to keep things straight in that once densely packed area!

Marty Gatton shared to the LTV Steel Chicago group
James commented on his post

Ron Wood posted
Huletts coal unloaders at Whiskey Island,Cleveland Ohio. July,1992. These were used to unload coal and ore from lake boats . They became obsolete when the more modern lake boats arrived with self unloading features. I'm not sure if any of these remain but they were quite an impressive sight! I only wish I got to see them in action but alas when I visited there were no boats docked.
The group is public so please click the "posted" link because the comments are informative, including a video. The cab is mounted on top of the bucket and rides it down into the boat and then back over to the hopper car it is going to dump in. At 6:57 it picks up a front loader to lower into the boat to shove the ore into a pile the clam-shell bucket can pick up. Then men get in with brooms!
Carl Venzke posted
Hulett machine unloading ore at Buffalo, N.Y c1908
Carl Venzke posted
Maumee River waterfront -- Toledo, O. Railroads represented on the coal cars: Hocking Valley, Kanawha and Michigan, Zanesville & Western, Toledo & Ohio Central. c1910

C&O Railway Pere Marquette District Page posted
Big Fitz unloading at C&O docks in Toledo.
Mike Delaney The hullett unloaders in the pics unloaded the boat and they dumped the ore into RR cars that ran under the rigs. Both C&O and Lakefront dock had sets of Hulletts for unloading straight deckers as well as multiple coal loaders.Brian Cylkowski Are there any example s of Hullett unloaders still around?C&O Railway Pere Marquette District Page They are all goneErwin Rommell Now most freighters are self unloaders with a conveyor running under the cargo hold gates, and a conveyor boom that swings off the side of the ship. Most old turbine steamers such as the Fitzgerald have been converted.

[From the comments, Edmund Fitzgerald began service in 58-59. The station wagon on the left is a "1965 Rambler Classic Cross Country."]
Here you may see the marvellous Hulett automatic unloaders, which are nothing less than gigantic steel arms that thrust themselves into a vessel's depth and grasp a ten-ton handful of ore apiece. Each arm has not only a hand, but a wrist as well. The operator, standing on the wrist like an obstinate insect, goes up and down with the powerful arm, which he can guide in any necessary direction. The towering machine weighs more than an army of five thousand men, yet it obeys the slightest touch of its human master's hand as readily as if it were a bicycle. Six workmen and one machine can do the work that formerly required ninety shovellers. When the great hand of the machine is open, it covers eighteen feet of ore, and closes with a grip that is irresistible. Several times, in the holds of ore-vessels, the writer has seen steel girders that were bent and wrenched away by the grip of this mighty giant. [RodneyOhebsion]

Fred Bultman posted (source)
I'm still mixing reworks in with new restorations, this is a favorite: Douglass Houghton and consort John A Roebling unloading at Huron, about 1960.
(new window) At 2:02, note the man walking down the top of the upper arm of unit 3. At 2:32, you can see the operator leaning out an opening in the unloader's arm. The Colonell E.M.Young at 4:52 has an unloading boom mounted at the center of the boat. I wonder how that worked. Near the end is some footage from 1925.

(new window) "Hulett Ore unloaders at the C&P Dock in Cleveland, video from 1989 and 1992. These were the last of their breed to operate, replaced by self-unloading vessels with conveyor systems."

Dave DiGiorgio shared the above video.
Sean Kagi I believe that last two Hulett unloaders operated in South Chicago.

In the background, you can see the unloaders working on Wiskey Island in Cleveland, OH. On the right, you can see the stern of an ore boat. Conrail is old enough that the Lakers still had their bridge on the bow.
There are several more photos of Huletts in saving Cleveland's Huletts.

Dave Ayers describes several generations of Hulett unloaders.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The next generation of freight cars will be articulated?

Up until the 1960s, the boxcar was the dominant type of freight car. Over the next two decades, there was an explosion of new designs: covered hoppers, rotary and bathtub hoppers, centerbeam for lumber, autoracks, articulated deep well for containers, pneumatic hoppers, etc. But since then, the industry has been content to just make tank cars safer and to make all cars a little bigger to grow their weight from the 263,000 lb standard to the 286,000 lb standard.
Since I'm one of the people who did the research that moved the industry to 286,000 lb. cars, I can explain. We started a study of the costs and benefits of overloading 100 ton coal hoppers on BN in 1987. As it happened, given the size (4000 cubic feet) of the cars, and the size of the heap determined by coal's angle of repose, the cars could physically hold enough coal to bring total gross weight to 286,000 lbs. So that's what it became.
Another part of the study looked at new car designs for both 286K and 315K cars. The 315K cars were an economic "no go", since they cost more per cubic foot of capacity than the 286K cars (larger wheels and axles, mostly) and had a poorer net-to-tare ratio.
A standard coal hopper weights about 60,000 lbs. With a 286K weight limit, it can carry 226,000 lbs. of coal, or 113 tons. Aluminum coal gondolas in service today weigh as little as 42,000 lbs., meaning they can carry 244,000 lbs., or 122 tons of coal. A comparable 315K aluminum hopper weighs about 55,000 lbs., so can carry 260.000 lbs. of coal or 130 tons. But the 122-ton car weighs less relative to its capacity, and costs less too. That's why you don't see the industry moving to 315K cars. [TO20050114 (forgot to save the specific trainorders link), msg rresor]
Exceptions to "no new designs in decades" are trash cars and a couple of autorack designs and some niche markets.

Trash cars have two platforms that share an articulated truck in the middle. This is the only one I have seen while doing some railfanning for five years on the BNSF Racetrack in Downers Grove, IL.
20150112-15 0101c
I also saw one in a yard in Frankfort, IN.
20140829 0001c

Greenbrier introduced an articulated autorack car that they trademarked Auto-Max in 1999. In addition to being articulated, it has adjustable decks to switch between bi-level and tri-level.
I have seen some of them, but they have been rare. I caught this one at Dolton Junction.
20150510 1267
Trains magazine said that the two units of the articulated car are billed as one car. So there is a reduction of train rates with this design. As mentioned, other innovation of the Auto-Max is that it allowed a car to be converted between tri-level and bi-level. Since the lifetime of a freight car is 40 to 50 years, this flexibility is important because each decade or so the personal vehicle market has swung between sedans and trucks+SUVs. Sedans are low enough that they can be stacked three high in an autorack car. But trucks, SUVs and minivans are tall enough that only two levels can be loaded into an autorack.

But this design evidently didn't catch on because I sometimes see an autorack unit train with none of them. And now I seldom see more than a few of them in a unit train. But I did catch a train that started with one Auto-Max car and then had a cut of seven of them.
(new window)

Actually, just because I don't remember seeing them, doesn't mean I haven't seen them. I came across some more examples of Auto-Max cars while looking for deep-well cars in some 2014 photos of the Lemont Bridge.
20140514 0004
My notes indicate that the rest of this e/b train had Auto-Max cars.
20140505, cropped

In 2013, Greenbrier introduced the Multi-Max design. I assume the reason the Auto-Max did not take off is that they had to buy the whole car from Greenbrier. The Multi-Max rack supports the tradition of separate owners for the flatcar vs. the rack on top of the flatcar.
Another advantage of the Multi-Max is that it can be converted from tri-level to bi-level by the customer at a loading site and the extra deck is stored in the car.

A common example of an articulated car design is deep well flat cars for double-stack container traffic. I remember reading about 7-pack and 10-pack cars. But the industry seems to have settled down with 5-pack, 3-pack and singletons.

Greenbrier is proposing that all railcar designs become articulated. Specifically, they are working on reducing the length of a body without sacrificing its volume. In fact, they have increased the volume of some designs. A shorter body allows more bodies to be hauled without increasing the length train of the train. But shorter bodies would increase the slack in the train. Reducing slack, and further reductions of weight and length, is why they want to articulate their new designs. [FreightWaves] I look forward to these new designs because it should not only reduce transportation costs and greenhouse gas emissions, it should make train watching more interesting.

One issue is that shortening the bodies means more weight on the bridges. When a track is rated for 286,000 lbs., I wonder what length is assumed.

Update:  It's not articulated, but it is shorter at 50' 6". According to some Facebook comments I saw, other manufactures are advertising 5400 cubic feet cars whereas this car holds 5185 cubic feet. "Design features of the new railcar, include longer hatches for improved filling efficiency; rounded stiffeners for stronger sides; Tsunami Gate for customized unloading speed—as quickly as 30 seconds; automated unloading for improved worker safety; “align to close” tabs for clear indication that the Tsunami Gate is closed, locked and sealed for transport; and aerodynamic performance for up to 53% reduction in drag." [RailwayAge] Now that I think about it, I suckered for their hype about articulated cars. Bulk cargo freight cars are designed to utilize the 286,000 lb. capacity of trucks. That is why grain covered hopper cars are longer than sand or cement covered hoppers. Since articulation would double the weight on the middle truck, it can't be done.

The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. (GBRX) announced the addition of a newly designed covered grain hopper to its line of product offerings.

Screenshot from Greenbrier's press release

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BNSF Bridge Replacement over Wood River at Home Valley, WA

(1919 Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Satellite)

Street View

A video about swapping in a new span using barges.
Screenshot @ -3:04

Screenshot @ -2:43

BNSF 8-9-2019 Network Update
First BNSF train crossing new bridge in Home Valley, Wash. – August 5, 2019

BNSF engineering crews were also active on the Fallbridge Subdivision as a new bridge was placed into service on Monday over the Wind River in Home Valley, Washington. Rather than being constructed on site, the new bridge span was transported by barge more than 60 miles down the Columbia River from Portland. Disruptions due to the 36-hour work window required to install the new span were minimized by utilizing alternate routes for some traffic.

This completed project, which included another bridge replaced approximately 10 miles west on the subdivision back in June, is part of BNSF’s Bridge Maintenance Program. Under the program, bridges across the network are replaced based on their condition and as they near the end of their useful life. With 13,000 bridges on our network, BNSF conducts comprehensive inspections and significant maintenance work throughout the year to ensure that each bridge remains safe, secure and structurally sound.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Big4: Maps

Big Four was the nickname for the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway. It seems to me that it is made with the little railroads in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois that neither NYC or Pennsy bought. NYC bought it in 1906, but NYC allowed the Big Four to keep its own identity for a few more decades.

r2parks, has a brief history
I noticed that following includes the Kankakee & Seneca Railroad, but the above does not.
David Bradburn commented on a post
[The post is about the Fairland, Franklin & Martinsville RR. I searched for a higher resolution copy. I found several copies on the web, but none of them were higher resolution.]

The following is a higher resolution map, but you will have to compare it with the above maps to see which parts of the NYC were Big Four.
Image from NYC History

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Pennsy 22nd Street "tower"

As part of the complexity of the railroads in Chicago back before Interstate roads and airlines gutted the railroad business, Pennsy used (but not necessarily owned) three towers within one block: South Branch Bridge, 21st Street and this newly discovered 22nd Street Tower.

Bob Lalich commented on a post that shows the South Branch Bridge interlock tower.
The PRR block operator used to be in another structure near the WB home signal for 21st St. This photo dates from the mid-50s, courtesy of Jack Tomisek.
Bob Poortinga Bob, that is 22nd St which used to control a crossover, a turnout entrance to number 4 track, and a wye to the ATSF. I believe this was totally separate from South Branch Bridge and was a different block operator. There was no interlocking here, just a couple of hand throw turnouts, and trains had to get a highball from the operator to proceed.
Bob Lalich Bob Poortinga - thanks for the clarification. Those were two closely spaced block operators. And there were four PRR tracks east of the crossovers at the time.
Dennis DeBruler The three horizontal (yellow) lights in the top signal head caused me to look up when Pennsy converted to Red Snake Eyes: late-50s.

Monday, August 26, 2019

MoW: BNSF Track Lifter

Chris Rhoads posted three photos with the comment: "One of the 1st, if not the 1st, track lifters made by BNSF."
From what I gather from the comments, they use this for two functions.

One is to raise the track in flood prone areas.
JC Walker High lift. Lifts track out of mud at 1-2 mph over 6” or so. Another group dumps ballast then the tampers lift more.
Chris Rhoads JC Walker correct I have seen them cut 12”.. in one pass.
The other function is undercutting. They use a blade instead of a chain to shove the old ballast to the side.
Jeff Schurman That is the second one built by BNSF in Brainerd, MN by BNSF employees.
Chris Rhoads Jeff Schurman I heard that there is talk of making a 5th unit, but don’t know for sure.
Jeff Schurman Chris Rhoads not sure.
We built the first two while I was still at the shop and they have a third now after I retired.
1, cropped

2, cropped

3, cropped
(new window)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Milwaukee Roundhouse in Elgin, IL

(Satellite, it is gone)

Mark Llanuza posted
Its the year 1960 the Milwaukee Rd turntable at Elgin at the far south end of the coach yard near National street with passenger engine E-7 and GP-9 [Ted Schnepf collection]

Sj Nelson shared

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
The 1940 topo map is low resolution and doesn't show it.
1940 Elgin Quadrant, 1:62500
The 1962 map shows the turntable.
1962 Elgin Quadrant, 1:24000
The 1998 topo map showed the buildings were torn down, but the track arrangement was the same as 1962. That didn't seem right to me. Since 1998 is approaching the beginning of the images that Google Earth has, I checked it out. It in fact, it goes back to 1994 and confirms all of the tracks had been removed by then. They had part of today's parking lot built, and they had yet to start on the riverfront park.
1994 Google Earth

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Norfolk Southern in Illinois Map

I'm saving this info because it is the first time I have seen their trackage/haulage rights documented.



Friday, August 23, 2019

World's Largest Crane(s)

(Another claim to the world's largest crane was used to lift a 288' tall, 29' diameter, 2000 ton quench tower when building Shell's polyethylene plant in Monaca, PA.)

Ashley Daniels via TheConstructionIndex2019
"The SGC250, which Belgian lifting contractor Sarens designed and built in house, has a safe lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes at 40 metres radius....The 250-metre high crane was delivered to site in component parts. Heavy transport specialist Collett took four months to make the 400 deliveries required to get the crane from Avonmouth docks to site." [TheConstructionIndex2019]

The crane is the fourth generation of the SGC [ Sarens Giant Crane] series. With a maximum main boom length of 160m, the crane can be equipped with or without a fly-jib and it can operate on a ring or on straight rails. At Hinkley Point [C nuclear power project], the SGC 250 will travel along 6km of rail that is being laid in preparation for it. This means that it can travel between three different lift locations without the need for disassembly or reassembly.
At Hinkley Point C the crane will lift components ranging from 50 tonnes to 1,150 tonnes at radii of up to 165m. It will pick up and install prefabricated concrete elements, steel structures and reactor equipment directly from each prefabrication position. A second crane, a 600t-capacity Terex Demag CC 2800, will assist as a rigging crane.
There are many ways of defining the size of a crane; the basis of Sarens’ claim for world’s biggest appears to rely on the machine’s nominal load-moment – the load it can lift at a given outreach. And as CEO Carl Sarens explains, outreach isn’t necessarily the same as radius.
“Radius equals the distance from the centre of rotation to the lifting position; outreach equals the distance from the boom pin to the lifting position. For our clients, it’s the outreach which has most value,” he says.
Crucially, the geometry of the SGC 250 means that the boom hinge pin is located 19m from the centre of rotation. The absolute maximum lifting capacity of the machine can be achieved when it is rigged with 118m of main boom and 5,200 tonnes of counterweight sitting on the 48.5m-diameter slewing rails on the opposite side from the boom pin.
Working at 40m radius, the crane’s outreach is 21m – because the boom pin is situated 19m from the centre of rotation. At this outreach, and in this configuration, the SGC 250 can lift a load of 5,000 tonnes, says Carl Sarens.
 “On an outreach of 21m, the SGC-250 is the only crane that can reach 5,000 tonnes capacity with a main boom of 118m,” he concludes.
Other contenders for ‘world’s biggest’ include Mammoet’s PTC 200 DS and ALE’s AL.SK190, used by contractor Keltbray on the Earls Court demolition project in London last year.
Load tables for the PTC 200 DS – rated at 200,000 tonne-metres – show that, when rigged with 117m of main boom a maximum load of 3,200 tonnes can be lifted at a radius of 46m, or an outreach of 26m.
The AL.SK190 boasts a lifting capacity of 4,300 tonnes, a load moment of 196,000 tonne-metres and a maximum boom height of almost 200m – although it was rigged with only 120m of boom at Earls Court.
ALE also has the SK350, which rivals the SGC 250 with a maximum rated lifting capacity of 5,000. This machine has a nominal load moment of 354,000 tonne-metres. ALE says it has designs for doubling up the SK350 to make the SK700, with two winches and booms in parallel lifting 8,000 tonnes with a load moment of 708,000 tonne-metres.




The day after I discovered the above links, I came across information about an ALE SK350 crane.
The AL.SK350 is one of the largest land-based cranes in the world. (Twitter)
It can lift up to 5,000 tonnes. Its boom is 124 metres long — longer than two NHL-sized ice rinks placed end to end.It arrived in Newfoundland in 200 shipping containers, requiring 300-tonne cranes just to piece it together.
Impressive, but none of that is why it's so vital to Husky's operations, as workers piece together a platform that will eventually be floated out to sea and capture offshore oil.
"The real purpose of this crane is just its reach," said Sandy Nairn, vice-president of the West White Rose Project.
ALE designed and built the crane, part of a line of cranes it launched in 2013, and the company website describes the AL.SK350 as "the largest capacity land-based crane in the world by some distance."
That 163-metre reach means it can lift almost anything on the Argentia site, even though the crane itself is stationary.
The crane will be in Argentia until early 2020, when it will be then broken down again into its small parts and shipped off to its next international destination.
The massive ALE SK350 crane, one of the largest land-based cranes in the world, will safely and efficiently install fully assembled interior components at the West White Rose Project in Argentia. Learn more at: …



And in Toledo, OH, they are claiming a LR 13000 is the largest crane in the world. But it can lift "just" 3000 metric tons and needs "just" 218 truckloads to haul.

Brandon Storie commented on Aaron's post, cropped

Brandon Storie commented on Aaron's post

Brandon Storie commented on Aaron's post