Monday, January 17, 2022

BNSF hits Mother Nature in Mountain Canyons (Wind and Kootenai Rivers)

The Jan 1, 2020, derailment into the Kootenai River is below.

May 12, 2010, into Wind River Canyon Because of a Boulder

John Murnan II
May 12, 2010 Wind River Canyon BNSF train wreck
[No one seriously injured.]
Rick Pierce: Hit a huge boulder.
Mike Riley: I was the first bnsf there, across the river. The crew climbed out the engineers window and slid into the water. A farmer on a 4wheeler drove them out. Highway patrol saw the rock fall, tried to get train stopped.

5:58 YouTube video driveby, fortunately, they finally zoomed out. Then parked on the side of the road for more footage. There is a decent shot at 2:47. According to the comment, BNSF had a second derailment here 6 days later!

Josh Melia uploaded 11 photos as comments on John's post:











The Jan 1, 2020, derailment into the Kootenai River Because of a Landslide

To understand the video below, I include some photos The crew survived. A track inspector knocked out the rear window with a sledge hammer before the cab filled up. Rescue was attempted from a boat, and then a helicopter, and then a boat using a rope system to deal with the fast flowing Kootenai River. The lead engine did leak diesel fuel into the river.
safe_image from Aaron Bryant's share of a KHQ link
[The KHQ article has a slideshow of 13 photos. Is that yellow thing next to the cab of the trailing unit an excavator that has already been deployed to the scene?]

Idaho State Police via KHQ
North Idaho News:  (source)
#update: A true Hero for the crew trapped in the train is coming to light.Track Inspector, Adam Reeves, climbed down the steep bank and made his way out to the lead engine. He then broke the glass with a sledgehammer for Bill and Brian to escape.

safe_image from Tim Hare's share of a link that is now broke
[The weather channel's headline was: "Idaho Train Derailment May Have Been Caused by Landslide." It looks like they brought in a crane that can go back and forth on some flatcars.]
Justin Goodwin Slide fence not working?
Stu Hart I worked this territory for 38yrs,,,,what slide fences
Stu Hart Kyle James Jarvis they came around the curve and hit the slide

Marcus Gillebaard They almost drowned guys!
Kyle James Jarvis Yep. The Kootenai is one hell of a river. Thank god it wasn't flood season.

Erik Sorbo “Engine and six cars in the river...”
Unbelievable!! We’re literally looking at two locomotives that got wet. Yet somehow only one engine and six cars are in the river???

The article says it was east of Bonners Ferry, ID. I can't determine exactly where it was, but the tracks are against a cliff so tightly that they had to dig a tunnel to go around a bend in the river. And they will have to bring in equipment using the tracks. It looks like they are going to start with a sideboom and a crane.
Fifth photo in slideshow in KHQ

(new window)  (source via share)

BNSF Railway posted
BNSF crews worked diligently over the weekend to remove the final locomotive from the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry, Idaho, as part of our remediation efforts after the Jan. 1 derailment. To accomplish this, a team of divers placed air bags below the locomotive so that it was able to float to a more accessible location on the other side of the river. More at
[I would like to see photos of the other locomotive on its "extraction ramp" for the Jan 14 recovery mentioned in their news release. Did they pour a lot of rock into the river? At least they should be able to remove the rock.]

Kootenai Valley Times posted on Jan 27
The BNSF lead engine that has been submerged on the south side of the Kootenai River in a steep canyon about three miles west of the Montana State line since it derailed at about 9 p.m. January 1 is again on shore and should be removed from the river bank without a trace by the end of this week. Read more at…/article_a4229724-4178….
Kirk DeHaan Was a wet winter which caused a big slide where there was no rock fence.
Josh Parrow commented on Kootenai Valley Times post
Terence Campbell commented on Kootenai Valley Times post
I scrolled through the Kootenai Valley Times (KVT) page and this is what I found.
KVT posted a Jan 2 a link
Derailment appears to have been caused by rock slideTim Lisa West Mike Weland, the North Idaho News is reporting that track inspector Adam Reeves went down the bank and smashed out the engines windows to free the two guys, can you confirm or deny that? If he did, he sure deserves the credit for helping to save their lives.


KVT posted a Jan 2 link
As ever, dire situation brings out community's best
Unassuming hero Adam Reeves, a BNSF track inspector, is credited with giving the rescue effort time to unfold by driving his highline truck to the scene. Climbing out to the lead engine, he smashed out the thick rear window with a sledgehammer, enabling the two men inside the cabin to scramble out before water filled the compartment."[He climbed down that embankment in fog that reduced the visibility to a few feet.]
Jan 3 postBNSF derailment update

Jan 4 post: BNSF line could reopen today  "A forward thinking first responder radioed in to have sheriff's dispatchers to notify workers at the Kootenai Tribe's Twin Rivers hatchery and have them shut off the Kootenai River intake and open their Moyie River intakes instead.
Kootenai River intakes at the Mission hatchery were closed as well, and sturgeon at the facility were transferred to the Twin Rivers hatchery."

KVT posted a Jan 7 link
Both tribal fish hatcheries safe after diesel spill

KVT posted a Jan 9 link
EPA update on Kootenai River cleanup

EPA Photo

KVT posted a Jan 14 a link
One locomotive recovered, work underway to bring up lead engine

A May 19, 2021, post of two of the above photos with at least 209 comments I looked at just some of the comments at the end.
Kevin Mumaw: This was last January near Katka ID. East of Bonners Ferry. Crew went in the water with it at night. Speed is 30 in the area and they were doing about 25 after they dumped it for the rock slide they hit. They were trapped and the cab was nearly submerged. A MOW guy who is also search and rescue high railed in with a fire chief and made his was out onto the loco and beat the back window out with a hammer. The cab was tweaked and the crew could not get out the back door and the front was completely submerged. Luckily it was just above freezing and after a couple attempts a boat was able to get the crew off the top of the loco. Also the water level was down. Had it been high they probably would have drowned. They also had a helo inbound from Whitefish MT in case the boat could not get to them. The area is completely cut off from roads.
Dan Gurley shared
Ted Gregory: From comments in this FB post It was a derailment due to rock slide in Idaho Jan 2020.

Shaughn Voepel commented

Shaughn Voepel commented

Derrick Martinez commented
I didn’t get a whole lot of photos, but we weren’t the first responders to this wreck. But we were there for two weeks.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

1894-1999,2011 Trail/(Rock Island+Vehicles) Bridge over Mississippi River at Inver Grove Heights, MN

1894: (Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; John Weeks III; no B&T) Also called Newport Rail Bridge

Actually, it is now a fishing pier and the termination of a trail.

John A. Weeks III-1894
"The Rock Island Swing Bridge is unique in that it was the last operating toll bridge in the Twin Cities metro area, and it was the last operating swing bridge for automobile traffic. Highway traffic used the bottom deck, while trains used the upper deck. That is a relatively unusual configuration given that trains normally use the lower deck of a shared bridge."
[John has an extensive writeup including some history of the railroad.]

Jack Robertson posted
Rock Island Swing Bridge.
The Rock Island Swing Bridge was a swing bridge that spanned the Mississippi River between Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, and St. Paul Park, Minnesota. It was also known as the Newport Rail Bridge, as it had a spur to Newport, Minnesota, and J.A.R. bridge, after previous owners Joan and Al Roman of Chicago. It was one of the few double-decker bridges on the Mississippi, with the top level formerly used for railroad traffic and the bottom level formerly used as a road crossing. It also was one of a few toll bridges in Minnesota, and one of the last remaining ones. It closed to rail traffic in 1980, and road traffic in 1999, when the toll was 75 cents. After closing, the bridge sat dormant in the open position for 10 years before being partially demolished in 2009. It was converted into a recreational pier, which opened to the public on June 11, 2011.
Crosses Mississippi River
Located Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, St. Paul Park, Minnesota
Maintained by
Washington County, Minnesota, Dakota County, Minnesota

Obviously, only the far two spans are preserved spans. According to comments on BridgeHunter, a span collapsed due to a buckled beam. That would explain why some of the spans were replaced.
Photo by Jason Smith, cropped, via BridgeHunter
[Jason posted a lot of detail photos on BridgeHunter, some of which show pin connections.]

Google Earth, Sep 2008
This is the last image that shows it intact. The western span collapsed just two months after this image was taken.

Ryan Rampersad, Aug 2021

I was surprised how heavy the upper deck supports were until I read that the railroad used the upper deck.
John A. Weeks III-2011

John A. Weeks III-2011
In addition to Jason's photos on BridgeHunter, John also documents that the old trusses were pin connected. John describes several more details on his page.

I'm glad the preservation included some of the "guts" of the old swing bridge. This would be the "final drive." The gear in the foreground was the pinion gear that engaged a rack on the swing truss.

KJ Golstein, Mar 2019

I wonder if you have to pay someone to use it as an "event space."
Usman Suriono, Jun 2019

They have installed quite a bit of interpretive material along the trail leading to the pier.
Ashley Ondrachek, Apr 2021

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Heddle Shipyards

"Heddle Shipyards operates the largest number of shipyards and dry docks in Canada. We have been in continuous operation since 1987 and we are expanding." Rick Heddle started the company in Hamilton, ON. They built their own dry docks from used barges. In 2012 they joined forces with Dennis Thorne to serve the East Coast and Canadian Arctic. In 2012 they helped build the ExxonMobile Hebron Gravity Based Structure. In 2016 they acquired the Thunder Bay Shipyard, and in 2016 they finalized a long-term lease for the Port Weller Dry Dock facility. [HeddleShipyards-history] In 2022, Dennis Thorne bought back his East Coast operation. and Heddle opened Sydport (satellite) on the East Coast. [HeddleShipyards-news, don't you hate it when a news report doesn't include a date?]

Follow the links for theirOntario shipyards for more information:

Heddle Shipyards posted
Heddle Shipyards is fully booked for the 2022 winter works season. More than 14 dry dockings and alongside refit projects across our Hamilton, St. Catharine’s and Thunder Bay shipyards will support hundreds of jobs across Ontario.

Janey Anderson shared
Heddle Shipyards is fully booked for the 2022 winter works season.
Here is the list I have so far - please add/correct any details.
St. Catharines - CCGS Amundsen & G3 Marquis
Hamilton - Sterling energy, Burch Nash (lac Manitoba), a couple articulated tugs, Algoma Conveyor, Radcliff Latimer, Atlantic Huron, Rt. Hon. Paul J.Martin, Spruceglen. Allouette spirit barge looks to be in the portable drydock and a few articulated tugs?
Thunder Bay - Tim S. Dool & Chi-Cheemaun

"Heddle Shipyards to Support Seaspan Shipyards in Building Polar Icebreaker for Canadian Coast Guard"
[The picked a photo of Port Weller for this photo.
Since the Seaspan Shipyards are on the Pacific Coast, I wonder if they will build small assemblies that can be shpped over land or if they will build large modules that are then barged through the Panama Canal. And if they use land transportation, what will be the mix between trucks and trains?]

A 2:25 YouTube video about the company using images from their Hamilton Yard.

Friday, January 14, 2022

1931,1983 US-30 George Westinghouse Bridge over Turtle Creek at East Pittsburgh, PA

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; no B&T; HAER; pghbridgesSatellite)

J.R. Manning in BridgeHunter describes the old US-30 route across the valley. It used to take about 40 minutes to cross the valley instead of just a few minutes after this bridge was built.

Boston Public Library Flickr via BridgeHunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

 Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania Photo via FreightWaves
"On January 8, 1886 Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh. The company developed electric infrastructure throughout the nation. The company’s factories manufactured turbines, generators, motors and switch gear for the generation, transmission and use of electricity."

"The George Washington Memorial Bridge spans Turtle Creek between East Pittsburgh and North Versailles Township. The 460-foot center span of the bridge was the nation’s longest for a concrete arch at the time. The total length (including the longest elevated ramp) includes five spans totaling 1,598 feet. The bridge, designed by George S. Richardson, was built by the County of Allegheny in 1932 to carry the Lincoln Highway US 30. The bridge was a $1.75 million part of a $4.4 million Lincoln Highway re-routing project. Four pylons at the entrances have 10 foot by 18-foot art deco granite reliefs by Frank Vittor. With a relief of up to eight inches, the chiseled scenes depict the development of the Turtle Creek Valley including the defeat of the British General Braddock by the French and Indians in 1755. An $11.3 million in renovation in 1982-83 included a modified deck with a wider roadway and Jersey barriers. The bridge was reopened in October 1983. Below the bridge stands a former site of the now-dissolved Westinghouse Electric Corporation."

Street View
Upstream Elevation:
Street View
Downstream Elevation:
Street View

"This bridge was claimed to be the longest concrete arch bridge in the world when completed. Such a claim would have to exclude railroad bridges, since the older Tunkhannock Viaduct far exceeds the length of this bridge. Regardless, the bridge was and remains among the longest concrete arch bridges in the United States. However, the Westinghouse Bridge's largest central span [460'] does appear to have been the longest concrete arch span in the world when completed." It is about 200' above the valley floor. [HistoricBridges] See HistoricBridges for photos of the four sculptures on the four pylons.

HAER PA,2-EAPIT,1--11 (CT)
3/4 VIEW FROM WEST. - George Westinghouse Bridge, Spanning Turtle Creek at Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30), East Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA

The HAER document quotes the Engineering News-Record concerning the construction of the arches: "Steel-truss centering was used in all of the arch spans, so fabricated that it could be made to conform to the intrados of arches of different span lengths and so planned that the two arches at either end of the bridge would be first completed and then all of the centering assembled to support the 460-ft. span." [pghbridges]

The Westinghouse Plant back in its heyday.
1933 Photo from U of Michigan Lincoln Highway Collection via BridgeHunter

The Edgar Thomson Works is on the downstream side along the Monongahela River.
Street View

This was the post that motivated the research of this bridge. Given the highway cut in the background, the southwestern tip of the Westinghouse plant is in the foreground and Edgar Thomson is out-of-frame to the right.
Joe Reed posted
Painting by Pittsburgher John Kane. He created this image of the Westinghouse Bridge in 1932. The Edgar Thomson Works was on the far side of the bridge. On the near side was the Westinghouse Electric East Pittsburgh plant which at one time employed 20,000 workers

3D Satellite