Wednesday, January 25, 2023

1934-1992 Ogden Avenue Viaduct over Goose Island


Since I've researched the Ogden Bridge over the CB&Q tracks in Cicero, it is only fair that I note this viaduct over Goose Island. I've seen several photos of the bridge in Cicero because of railfans. In contrast, this is the first glimpse I have seen of the viaduct over Goose Island.
Jim Shortz posted
This one I can’t place. I don’t know of an Edward Hines Lumberyard in the area.
Bob Lalich: This is Halsted and Division on the near NW Side.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Jim's post
This is the first photo that I remember seeing that gives a glimpse of the Ogden Avenue viaduct. I see Ogden used to go all the way to Lincoln Park.
1953 Chicago Loop Quad @ 24,000

As we see on the above topo map, Ogden also had drawbridges on both sides of the island.
Chicago River Bridges Book by Patrick T. McBriarty via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

One of a few photos of the viaduct by David Wilson in his Nov 1990 Album
19901117 13 Halsted St. @ Division St.

I found several photos taken from the viaduct rather than of the viaduct. See Forgotten Chicago for more information about the extension and removal of Ogden.

One source said you could not access the island from the viaduct. But this photo and the historical aerial photo below show that there was a ramp that went down to Hickory Avenue. I think the gasometer in the photo at the top of these notes is the one that is about a block south of Division Street between Crosby and Kingsbury Streets.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

A nice aerial view of the viaduct behind a lot of copyright issues.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

8 Locomotives on NS/N&W/Virginian Lefthand Fork Paint Creek Bridge over Sweeneysburg Rd. north of Harper, WV

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Satellite)

Street View, Sep 2021

I Love Trains posted
photo courtesy of Shane Alexander · 8 locomotives from Kanawha River Railroad pulling coal cars across the Sweeneysburg Trestle along the former Deepwater Railway near Harper, WV.
[I was struck that 8 locomotives on the headend would pull a lot of couplers. Some others also thought that. I've seen BNSF intermodal trains with 5 locomotives on the head end. But someone explained that one of them is a spare because parts of the route are on the tracks of another company. This Winter (2023), BNSF has been running 4 on the front and 2 on the rear. They use more locomotives in the Winter than they do in the Summer.]
Brandon Donell: I live 2 tenths of a mile from this train trestle. This is a steep incline with all 100 to 110 cars full of coal. Most of the time they run 4 engines pulling and 3 pushing. The it's a awesome sight to see!
Richard Cramer: As a federal licensed locomotive engineer, there’s no way EIGHT locomotives are “PULLING” that train. Even at 2,000 a piece they would be way over powered for knuckle strength on the head end of that train.
At one time the railroads didn’t have a maximum power limit. They all do now ! That’s why when they require more power not allowed ON THE HEAD END. They use remotes in the middle and or pushers on the rear. Some manned, some remote.  Usually 3 six axle 3,000 horsepower units on the head end is the maximum. They even have restrictions on how many axles can be using dynamic brake.
Andy Babin: Richard Cramer "3 six axle 3000hp units max on head end"
Whose railroad, what part of the country? Please post regulations. We regularly see 3-5 4000+hp jacks on the head end of mixed freight and stack trains on the KCS in south Texas. Same often seen in central and west Texas. All pulling or braking. No cold potatoes or isolated units.
Richard Cramer: Andy Babin . Time tables are very specific for the divisions they are applicable on. I can only relate what the rules and special instructions were in force on our specific division and sub-districts. Funny you wouldn’t know that. If you are an engineer you should. If you run with that much head end power, good for you. Get a knuckle on one of our trains with more than 3 six axle unites on line, you’re having a train handling violation formal investigation. I can only speak for my railroad and it’s Lake Division. Same way with unit’s with extended range dynamic brake. You may have to cut out dynamic brake or cut out some traction motors to comply with our train handling rules.
Every broken knuckle on any of our trains are inspected by a supervisor and you better hope it was an old brake. Or they will down load the event recorder and go from there. The NS loves to give out street time and then wonder why they don’t have people to operate their trains.
Andy Babin: Richard Cramer Interesting that now it applies to specific divisions and sub districts.

Ken Lewis Flickr, 2016 via BridgeHunter
UP on NS @ Sweeneysburg, WV.
S/B NS U79 at Sweeneysburg, WV.

Street View, Jun 2021

I wonder what percentage of the trestles in the US are curved.
1965 Eccles Quad @ 24,000

Brightline+Fec over Turkey Creek in Palm Bay, FL

(no Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

These notes show the construction of the second bridge for a second track.

Street View, Sep 2022

The blue yellow and blue girders above are for the temporary work trestle. The crane is reaching over the current right-of-way. This is what the bridge normally looks like.
Street View, May 2021

I was going to simply add this as a bonus to the Sebastian river notes. But then I noticed that this one was the last girder for the whole Brightline project. But more significantly, I noticed the mix of using steel and concrete girders.
safe_image for Brightline Construction: Final Girder Installation at Turkey Creek - January 20, 2023
This GoBrightline construction update looks at the installation of the final girder at the Turkey Creek bridge in Palm Bay, FL. In addition to being the final girder at this bridge, it is also the last of 108 total girders required as part of Brightline's Orlando expansion. 

The Roaming Railfan confirmed that a steel beam is used to span the navigation channel while concrete beams are used for the other spans. This taught me that steel beams are stronger than concrete beams. Not only is the steel beam longer, it is not as deep. But I'm sure steel is more expensive or we would never see the use of concrete beams.
8:08 video @ 0:00

This was the satellite image I accessed. I was confused because it looks like there already is a second bridge.

So I fired up Google Earth. The above image was taken Jan 2021. This later image shows that they evidently removed a steel bridge to replace it with this new bridge.
Google Earth, Jan 2022

Monday, January 23, 2023

Johnstown Inclined Plane (Funicular) in Westmont, PA at Johnstown, PA

(Satellite, 2080 photos!)

Johnstown was hemmed in by the mountains, which restricted the growth of the steel industry. To provide more room for homes for employees, Cambria Iron Company, a predecessor of Bethlehem, opened this incline on Jun 1, 1891. "For over 40 years it served as a safe and sure link to the community situated on the rim of the hill overlooking Johnstown. Because of the convenience and access to the heart of the business district, it was directly responsible for Westmont becoming one of the nation's earliest residential suburbs." [JohnstownPA]

1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
Close-up view of the Inclined Plane, looking from Downtown Johnstown towards Westmont Borough in 1950. This historic transit facility travels upward on a 71% grade to 1693. At 5 feet above sea levelm, 38-ton cars are pulled by a 2" cable, 1175 feet long, and tested to 396,000 pounds, wound on a 16 foot diameter drum driven by 400 HP electric motor. 85-pound steel rails are supported by 720 wolmanized ties-12" x 12" x 14'. There are 45 Steel girders on 16 cement pilasters. The Inclined Plane contains 50.4 tons of U.S. made steel and is lit by 114 sodium lights. The Inclined Plane was built in 1890 and was historically restored in 1984. The owner is the Cambria County Transit Authority. 

1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
The Johnstown Inclined Plane was built after the Johnstown flood of 1889. The Inclined Plane's original purpose was to connect Downtown with the higher grounds of Westmont Borough in order to develop that area residentially. During Johnstown's two other floods in 1936 and 1977, the Incline became a lifesaver, helping people to escape downtown as well as to ship supplies into the valley. In its heyday, the Incline carried approximately 1,000,000 passengers a year to and from the downtown area. This was largely due to the Steel Mills that were in operation. The Johnstown Inclined Plane is the steepest vehicular incline in the world, meaning its 30' cars, which are large enough to hold 60 people, 6 motorcycles, or a vehicle, travel at the steepest grade for cars their size.
(Text from

At one vehicle per trip, it is going to take a while to work through this queue.
1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
Cars waiting to travel up the Incline Plane from Downtown Johnstown to Westmont on December 21, 1960.
(Photo from Marlin Miller via

1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
Engineering drawings of cars used on the Johnstown Inclined Plane. The Johnstown Inclined Plane was built after the Johnstown flood of 1889. The Inclined Plane's original purpose was to connect Downtown with the higher grounds of Westmont Borough in order to develop that area residentially. 
(Photo from

1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
Facts about the Inclined Plane in Johnstown. This historic transit facility travels upward on a 71% grade to 1693.5 feet above sea level. 38-ton cars are pulled by 2" cable, 1175 feet long, tested to 396,000 pounds, wound on 16 foot diameter drum driven by 400 HP electric motor. 85-pound steel rails supported by 720 wolmanized ties-12" x 12" x 14'. 45 Steel girders on 16 cement pilasters. Contains 50.4 tons of U.S. made steel. 114 sodium lights. Built in 1890. Historically restored in 1984. Owner: Cambria County Transit Authority.

1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
Johnstown Incline Plane in 1926. The Incline Plane is 985 feet high according to this vintage postcard. 

1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
Interior view of the building housing the drive wheel and cables for the Inclined Plane in Johnstown.

Originally, it was steam powered.
1 of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation
The inside of the Engine Room at the Johnstown Incline Plane around 1910.
(Photo from

Shyanne Templeton (Shyshy), Nov 2020

It was closed in Feb 2022 for rehabilitation. It is expected (as of Jan 2023) to open in late Spring, 2023. [It had been rebuilt in 1983. [pabook]]

More of the 48 images shared by James Smith in an album by Jackson-Township historical preservation.
Cambria Incline Plane from Downtown Johnstown in 1908.

Old postcard showing the Incline Plane from Downtown Johnstown looking towards Westmont in 1912.

Scene from the top of the Inclined Plane in Johnstown.

James Lehman: A good view of the lower level of a car. It must have been small.
Don Wirick: James Lehman it held 12 passengers.

The lower room was removed rather soon because 12 extra passengers was not significant.
Beautiful fall colors surround the world famous Johnstown Incline Plane looking up from Downtown Johnstown towards Westmont in Cambria County in the 1960's.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

1927 Lake Chelan Dam and 62mw Powerhouse in and near Chelan, WA

Dam: (3D Satellite, in Chelan, WA)
Powerhouse: (Satellite, at Chelan Falls)

Two photos from chelanpud:
"The dam is a steel-reinforced concrete gravity structure. It is approximately 40 feet high and 490 feet long. It contains eight spillway bays. When the spillway gates are open, water is discharged down the normally dry Chelan River channel."

"The powerhouse is located at Chelan Falls. It is 140 feet long, 100 feet wide and 124 feet high. Besides the two generating units, the powerhouse contains a control room, shop facilities, switching equipment, crane and communications equipment.
"Water traveling down the power tunnel is directed against two turbines rated at 42,662 horsepower each. The turbines, which are connected to the generators by steel shafts, rotate at 300 revolutions per minute. The original turbines were replaced in 1985 and 1986, and those were replaced in 2009 and 2010.
"The generators are rated at 29,600 kilowatts each. Together, they provide a normal operating output of 62 megawatts. The original generators were rewound in 1951 and 1952. New generators and other equipment were installed in 2009 and 2010, increasing output by nearly 15 percent. After passing around and through the turbine blades, water is discharged into the tailrace located on the east side of the powerhouse where it flows into the Columbia River."

"Our team was successful in increasing the service life of the facility by 40 years, increasing peak turbine efficiency, shifting output to 5 MW higher, reducing the number of repairs needed, and reducing the environmental impact of the plant. Our team also helped reduce costs and the increased revenue because of turbine performance gains essentially financed the entire modernization program." [stantec] I would have been more comfortable with the claim of paying for the modernization if they had included a time period for that payback.

You can see the turbulence in the tailrace from the water coming out of the turbines. The tank on top of the hill is the surge tank.
Logan Cleek, Aug 2021

This topo map shows the 2.2 mile "power tunnel" that provides a 350' drop. The surge tank on top of the river bluff by the power plant is 125' high. [chelanpud]
1968 Chelan and Chelan Falls Quads @ 24,000

"Lake Chelan is a freshwater fjord, a lake carved by ancient glaciers. At 1,500 feet deep and 55 miles long, it is the third deepest lake in the United States, and the longest and deepest lake in the state of Washington. The Chelan River, the lake’s outlet, flows four miles into the Columbia River. Over a century ago, the Chelan River’s flows varied by a factor of ten: from 640 cfs in the winter to 6,400 cfs in late spring freshets." The first dams were built to increase the water supply. The 1892 dam collapsed during its first spring season. The 1893 dam survived its first spring, but collapsed the next year. The dam built 1899-1903 was built to provide hydropower to Chelan. Today's project was built 1926-27. [hydroreform]

Timothy O, Oct 2016

I was surprised by this photo because it shows that two of the gates are all the way open and the other six are completely closed.
Photo via WayMarking

This photo shows that they sometimes do open several gates just a little bit.
M, Ben. "Lake Chelan Dam." Clio: Your Guide to History. April 15, 2020. Accessed January 21, 2023.

The earlier photo with just two gates open also shows that the dam has a stilling basin. That would be the green that is just downstream of the dam in this image. There is a wall between that pool and the spillway apron.

Also note the outlet in the lower-right corner of the satellite image. My reaction when I saw that was that it was added to help keep fish alive. Sure enough, their operating license expired in 2004. To get their new license in 2006 they had to support "minimum flows of at least 80 cfs must be released into the Chelan River. Up to 320 cfs may be released, depending on the season and whether the year is a dry, wet, or normal one.... and are intended to maximize habitat in the river for westslope cutthroat trout." Before that low level outlet was added, the riverbed would be bone dry most of the months of each year. "Low level" means that the inlet is near the bottom of the dam so that they pull the coolest water from the lake. [hydroreform

The power tunnel is 14' in diameter. The powerhouse consumes 2,300cfs and "operates at full or near full capacity almost year-round." The reservoir elevation varies between 1,100' and 1,079 msl. As expected, it is high in the Summer for recreation and lowered during the Winter in anticipation of Spring snowmelt. Recreation support includes "two scheduled whitewater releases each year (400 cfs and 375 cfs). The project owner provides funding to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to raise and stock fish in Chelan Hatchery and to the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service to maintain recreation facilities. Public access is provided free of charge." [LowImpactHydro]

Chelan PUD posted four photos with the comment: "FLASHBACK FRIDAY // Construction of the current Chelan Hydro project began in 1926. It was completed Aug. 1, 1928. There were four previous dams, but most were washed out over the years (1892, 1893, 1896 & 1899)."
Andy Michel shared



[In this case they are using just one gate and it more dramatically illustrates the stilling basin.]

"Under state-issued 1925 water rights and a 1992 agreement with our agency, Chelan PUD holds the reservoir right to store water behind the Chelan dam. The 1992 agreement allows them to use the entire flow of the Chelan River for hydropower generation, except for 65,000 acre-feet per year (afy), which is reserved for existing and future domestic and irrigation uses in the Lake Chelan water basin....As of 2019, there are more than 150 applications on file for new surface or groundwater permits in the Lake Chelan water basin." [ecology]

When I looked at this image, I could not figure out what those pipes in the lower-right corner were supposed to do.

It turns out, it is part of the work promised for the 2006 license renewal. This dam does not have the usual west-coast problem of fish ladders because Reach 3 is a gorge that includes waterfalls that salmonid can't conquer. The power company has turned a river that naturally could not support fish into one that can spawn and rear salmonid.
ecology, p21

The river naturally could not support spawning and rearing because it was too warm and the spring freshets scoured the river of all gravel and vegetation. It was too warm because the Wapato Basin near the outlet of the Lake Chelan was shallow. The dam raising the depth of that basin by 21' at the maximum storage capacity [ecology, p18] helps keep the lower levels cooler. Not only does the extra depth dim the sunlight, it introduces thermal stratification. The license negotiations came up with a plan to support the spawning and rearing of salmonid in Reach 4.
ecology, p17

Now back to those mystery pipes. They are a pumping station. It feeds a canal that they built to take the water to the headwaters of Reach 4. This supplies extra water to the "habitat channel" that they dug into Reach 4. That channel supports vegetation along its banks. They also hauled in gravel, small rocks, etc. to make a riverbed conducive to fish hatching and growing. The high flow channel is dry in this image. That is where much of the water from spring freshets goes to avoid scouring the habitat channel.

Why pump water extra water from the tailrace rather than build a bigger low-level outlet? They were hoping that they could grow trout in Reaches 1-3. So higher flows were eliminated "because it reduced the amount of useable habitat area in the Chelan River, produced greater scour under high flows, and limited the already minimal primary productivity that is essential to support aquatic life. Furthermore, higher flows would lead to more heat input into the Columbia River due to the increase volume of water (Chelan PUD, 2003). The increased flows would also increase nighttime temperatures and reduce cold-water refuges. The flow increases examined would not reduce water temperatures to levels that are optimal for salmonids and would reduce useable habitat." [ecology, p28]

Also, water from the tailrace was cooler than water from the outlet because it flowed through the power tunnel and thus it was protected from solar heating. The temperature of the outlet water can go up 3 degrees C as it flows through Reaches 1-3. Furthermore, the tailrace is a good source of zooplankton and provides additional food for the fish.

The power company was required to monitor the river for 10 years and report on the results. Ecology is the state's interpretation of their results. The effort to establish a population of cutthroat and rainbow trout in Reaches 1-3 failed. The river is just too warm and rough. But Reach 4 did produce juveniles because they head downstream in the Columbia River before the temperatures get too high in the Chelan River.

Here is what Reach 4 looked like before the project. It does look rather desolate.
Google Earth, Aug 2006

1881/1931 Trail over Abandoned Philadelphia & Reading Railroad

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; HAER; Satellite)

"Built in 1881 in the Pottsville shops of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, it was used as an overhead crossing on a branch just west of Reading. Sometime between 1907 and 1935 it was moved to its present location. The trail is maintained by The Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy. Best access is via Sparrow Lane. Follow yellow blazed trail." [BridgeHunter]

HAER PA,6-SCAMI,1--15 (CT)
VIEW OF SOUTH TRUSS AND DECK FROM EAST END LOOKING SOUTHWEST - Scarlets Mill Bridge, Spanning former Reading Railroad, Scarlets Mill, Berks County, PA

"The use of a rolled beam for the top chord gives the bridge an almost modern look to it, and is quite a contrast to the shaped cast iron vertical members which make the bridge look decades older than an 1881 bridge." [HistoricBridges]

HAER PA,6-SCAMI,1--16 (CT)

"Significance: The Scarlets Mill Bridge is a cast and wrought-iron Pratt-type truss with a rolled upper chord arched in the form of an ellipse, one of many built in the 1870s and 1880s for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. It is unusual in its use of the elliptical form and in its late use of cast iron for principal structural members. It is one of only two of these 'overhead bowstring bridges' known to survive." [HAER-data, p2]
1 of many Jun 2021 photos by Chester Gehman posted on BridgeHunter

This map shows that today's Lloyd Lane is on the right-of-way of the now abandoned Reading Railroad. 
1956 Elverson Quad @ 24,000

I included "Long Mtn" in the topo extract above to confirm that the trail has been moved since 1956. The trail now follows the western slope of Long Mountain.

The pin on BridgeHunter maps is too far south. I dropped a pin where I think the bridge is. It is hidden by the tree canopy. 

This 1951 aerial confirms I'm right.
EarthExplorer: Apr 23, 1952 @ 24,000; AR1OY0000030191

The top guard rail still existed in 2015. It is missing in the 2019 Bridge Hunter photos.
Gregory D. Pawelski posted
Scarlets Mill Pony Truss Bridge on the Horseshoe Trail at Scarlets Mill, Pa. along the abandon part of the Reading Company W&N Branch. It is a cast- and wrought-iron Pratt-type truss with a rolled upper chord arched in the form of an ellipse, one of many built in the 1870s and 1880s for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, relocated in 1931 from the Reading Company Lebanon Valley Branch in West Lawn, Pa. It is one of only two of these "overhead bowstring bridges" known to survive, shown here on March 17, 2015. (Gregory D. Pawelski Photo)

Dennis DeBruler commented on Gregory's post
The tree canopy hides the bridge from satellite view.!3m1!1e3!4m6!3m5!1s0x0...
But this 1951 aerial confirms the location.