Monday, August 31, 2015

NC&StL: Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis (The Dixie Line) Overview

1903 Map from Wikipedia
As I had expected from the name, the predecessor was a railroad, Nashville and Chattanooga (N&C), chartered by Nashville businessmen on December 11, 1845, to build to Chattanooga. It took advantage of steamboat access to Nashville to build east from Nashville as well as west from Chattanooga. Using a locomotive and cars delivered by steamboat, they started service on what was built in 1850. It took four more years to complete the difficult construction across mountainous terrain, including the 2,228 foot tunnel near Cowan, Tenneesse. During the Civil War, this route was hotly contested and each side used it at different times to carry supplies. After the war, N&C purchased railroads to extend its reach to the Mississippi River at Hickman, KY. In 1873 it reincorporated as the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway (NC&StL) to reflect its broader ambitions. But it never did reach St. Louis. In 1880, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad won a hostile takeover by acquiring 55% of the stock. But the NC&StL continued to operate independently until merging in 1957. In the 1880s the NC&StL continue to expand including a connection to Memphis. In 1890, the tracks reached Atlanta by leasing the state owned Western and Atlantic Railroad. (Wikipedia)

The RailGA page has maps for both 1889 and 1895. The branch to Paducah, which is the branch that I am interested in, didn't exist on the 1889 map and was labelled PT&A on the 1895 map. It is interesting to note the differences between the above 1903 map and the American Rails Map.

I guessed correctly that PT&A on the 1895 map stood for Paducah, Tennessee and Alabama. For a little railroad, it had a rather complicated corporate evolution. I'll simply note that the 118.61 mile route started from Paducah, KY in 1890, and reached Lexington, TN in November 1892. The NC&StL gained control of it and the Tennessee Midland Railroad (Memphis/Jackson/Lexington/Perryville) on December 14, 1895 as their
Paducah and Memphis (P&M) Division. (PreservationSociety, TheWatchers)

My 1928 Railroad Atlas shows the primary line of the NC&CtL was between Chattanooga, Nashville, Bruceton, Lexington, Jackson, and Memphis. (Note that Hollow Rock Junction was named Bruceton in 1920 after W. P. Bruce, then General Manager of the NC&StL.) The line east of Nasheville to Monterey was extended to meet Southern at Rockwood and was labeled T.C. But my 1973 atlas labels this eastern line as Southern east of Crossville and L&N west of Cookeville. It is ambiguous where between Cookeville and Crossville the ownership changed, but I would guess at Monterey. The little segment on the west from Union City to Hickman is gone. More significantly, the segment from Jackson to Memphis is gone. Probably because L&N chose to route Memphis traffic from Bruceton to McKenzie to use their Louisville/Clarksville/Memphis route. Since the Memphis/Jackson route has been abandoned for quite a while, it has already been well documented.

Looking at a height clearance map for CSX, they route their traffic through Nashville. Specifically, they abandoned the route that was owned by L&N in 1928 through Clarksville in favor of the NC&StL Nashville/Bruceton/McKenzie route. CSX has abandoned or sold all of the other NC&StL assets except for a small segment through Jackson. It is interesting that they use trackage rights to get to Jackson rather than the tracks that used to go from Bruceton through Lexington to Jackson.

I just learned about the Surface Transportation Board map, but I evidently have not figured out how to use it properly because a lot of track that I know is gone is not marked on the map.

Scott Russell >> Fallen Flags
Update: Scott's comment:

Pic bought at a train show bout 35 yrs. ago unknown photographer, date, and location , but a color NC&StL pic.

Chip Walker added: "Nashville Chattanooga & St.Louis was absorbed into the Louisville & Nashville in 1957."


Friday, August 28, 2015

1932,1942,2016+2016 Eggner Ferry Bridges (US-68, KY-80) over Kentucky Lake

1932: (Bridge Hunter,  Historic BridgesB&T
2016: (Bridge Hunter; B&TWebcams of construction of the replacement bridge. Note the link in the upper-left corner of the webcam page to a time-lapse video.

The old (truss) bridge was rebuilt in 1943 to raise it 25' to make room for Kentucky Lake [B&T-1932] and a span was replaced in 2012 because the Rocket Ship/Delta Mariner allided with the replaced span.

A Flickr Album of the Delta Mariner taking out the span. At the end is a couple of photos of the tandem lift installing the replacement span.

Satellite, I saved an image to show how far behind the updates can be. This shows construction has just started, yet the bridge has been open for a while. In fact the old bridge is now gone. (Update: May, 2017 has the same image.)

20150826 4282c, north elevation from west shore
South elevation from the west shore
The bridge with steel through trusses was completed on March 25, 1932, before the Tennessee River was dammed downstream to create the Kentucky Lake. It was initially a toll bridge, but the toll was removed after just a few years. I wish Illinois would learn from Kentucky as to how to retire tolls. Many of their current parkways were originally tollroads. The bridge was closed on July 10, 1943, to raise the bridge 22 to 25 feet. A temporary ferry was run until it was reopened in February 1944 just in time for the impounding of Kentucky Lake. (Explore)

Photo from Archive
Preliminary work began in 2011 to replace it with a 4-lane bridge in 2017. But on January 26, 2012, just before 8:00pm, the Delta Mariner destroyed the span over the recreational channel. It should have passed under the span over the shipping channel, which was a couple of spans to the west. An archive page has several more photos of the wreck. I picked this one because it reminds me that a truss is designed to be supported at the two ends, not the center. It is also interesting how steel beams will bend rather easily if subjected to too much stress. No one was injured during the accident. But at least four drivers of cars on the bridge had a very scary night. 

(Update: the ship has been renamed as R/S RocketShip. Those notes have more photos of the ship that allided with this bridge.)

Fifth of Eight from Herald Sun
A new 322' span was assembled and floated on a barge to install on the bridge's piers. Nathan Holt's banner picture has a nice view of the new truss. The bridge was reopened on May 25, 2012, for use by the Memorial Day weekend traffic. This is impressive considering the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet dithered about what to do before awarding the contract to Hall Contracting on March 8, 2012. The pier on the eastern side of the span was moved out of position. Sensors were mounted to monitor its tilt and movement. They did not provide a ferry service because too many cars, 3000/day, used the bridge. (Another source indicates the bridge carried 6,250/day.) So commuters, for example to Murray State University, had to drive an extra hour each day. (Wikipedia)
Jeremy Lee Ellis commented on a post

The Delta Mariner is a cargo ship that can travel in as little as 9' of water. It can travel on rivers and oceans to carry rockets and other parts from Boeing's factory in Decatur, AL to the Gulf of Mexico, and then to Cape Kennedy or Vanderburg. (Comment by Bill in BridgesTunnels.)

Originally, the bridge consisted of four 10-panel Parker through trusses with a 5-panel Pratt through truss on either side. Because of the 2012 allision, the eastern Parker truss was replaced by a Warren through truss without verticals. The longest span of the truss bridge is 368'.

As we approach the bridge, you can see the replacement bridge is being built just to the north of the old bridge except for the tied arch. The tied arch span is being built on a barge.

Web Camera 5 on Aug 27, 2015
Obviously, about the last construction step of the bridge is to move the arch span and lift it in place. Note that the false work is still erected. The arch will provide a navigation channel that is 502'x60' (LakeBridges).

Web Camera 3 on Aug 27, 2015
On Aug 27, Web Camera 3 shows they are getting ready to build the superstructure of the big pier that will hold the west end of the tied arch.

As someone else drove across the bridge, I was able to grab some additional shots including a profile view of the arch that shows the arches "lean in" to improve lateral stability.

Given how low the sun was when I took this and that it was from a moving car, it is rather remarkable that the auto-focus was able to grab this photo. I was trying to get a shot that would indicate the depth of the girders. Since the safety wires are probably about four feet high, the girders are probably about twelve feet high. The cylinder of welding gas on the left is another reference point. The next time I see one, I'll have to try to measure how high it is.
The photo also caught a side view of the double-boom crane. I zoomed in to the cab of the crane to highlight the big pile of counterweights that are stacked on the rear of the cab.

A picture of the end of the east-end girders also shows the new truss.

I zoomed into the first visible top-chord junction to note that, according to Historic Bridges, truss bridges are built with nuts-and-bolts instead of hot rivets since the 1970s.

I zoomed in on another arch bridge picture after I noticed the falsework includes a beam under the arch and each of the cross members. Also note that safety netting has been installed under all of the beams.

I took this picture to capture the new and old truss work. But I also like the play of the crane booms and sunset clouds.

I caught a view of the double-boom crane that shows it is a tracked crane and the view includes the top of the counterweight pile.

After crossing the bridge and coming back, we went to an amphitheater south of the bridge where we had a clear (no trees!) view of the bridge.

When I took some overview pictures including the one near the top of this posting, a towboat was approaching a barge next to a pier near the middle of the river. I then took a sequence of telephoto pictures, which I'm not including because they don't had much new info. Then I noticed that the towboat was backing up with the barge attached. I got a clear shot of the towboat (below). But the neat "action shot" of it generating a lot of exhaust was not taken because it happened with the boat was behind a pier.

We then went to the end of the Cherokee Lane to get the north elevation picture at the top of the posting. The telephoto pictures are not very useful because I did not have enough sunlight for a decent shutter speed.

But the barge that was parked in the Billie Branch bay was interesting. At one end it had a control house and a conveyor belt.
I assume the angled white area at the bottom of the barge is the water line. They must carry material in just the end away from the control house because it appears that only that end goes lower in the water.
Diane Thiede Photo
Update: my sister sent me this photo of them raising the arch section into place. They stayed just 10 minutes. She said it was like watching paint dry. This would have been at the end of November, 2015.

Zooming In
Google May, 2016 Street View from Bridge Hunter
I saved this view because the old truss bridge is gone now.

Note that in many of the scenes you can clearly see the new truss that replaced the one wrecked by the 2012 allision. So is the steel going to be fished out of the lake or are they going to call it an artificial reef?

Ryan Ramage commented on a post

Vince Davis posted
Dennis DeBruler US-60 and KY-80 over Kentucky Lake. "Built 1932; one span demolished after strike from ship on January 26, 2012; reopened to traffic on May 25, 2012, demolished July 2016"

Michael Siebold posted a picture of the new bridge on the night of the Super Moon. Note that the old bridge has been removed.

See the sister bridge over Lake Barkley for some construction closeups.

A video of the demolition of the truss bridge   Skip to 0:18 to catch the countdown at about 3.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chicago Produce Terminal (CPT)

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
(Update: an index of IC's Chicagoland yards and roundhouses)

The following description is from an Illinois Central Employee Handbook. Unfortunately, I can't find a date on it. From a picture with women employees on Page 24, I'm guessing it was produced in the 1940s.
Built at a cost of $8,000,000, the Chicago Produce Terminal, owned jointly by the Illinois Central and Sante Fe railroads, is capable of handling 2,000 cars of perishable products at one time. It is the only location in metropolitan Chicago where, when required, cars can be diverted to other cities without losing a day in icing. Since more than 40,000 cars are so diverted annually, the time-saving element is all important.

The terminal was put into full operation in August, 1947. It covers ap- proximately 110 acres and is situated between Western and Ashland avenues in the vicinity of Twenty-Seventh Street. This is approximately the geographic center of Chicago.

The terminal came into being when the merchants of old South Water Street were forced by changes in city streets to move to what is now called South Water Market, a 6-block area bounded by Racine Avenue, Morgan Street, Fourteenth Street and Fifteenth Place. This location is less than two miles from the terminal and trucks can travel the intervening distance in a few minutes.

The facilities of the terminal include switching tracks, delivery tracks, storage tracks, icing equipment, an auction house, sales rooms and a joint freight agency office. There are also special yards each for watermelons, potatoes, and grape juice.

The terminal is open to all lines entering Chicago and can be reached with their own power.

"In 1920, IC handled 28,478 carloads of bananas, and by 1947 this traffic reached a volume of 1,000 carloads per week." The Chicago Produce Terminal (CPT) opened in stages between 1925 and 1927, and it had a capacity of 1,825 railcars. It also could provide ice and other maintenance for cars moving to points beyond Chicago. (Illinois Central Railroad by Tom Murray, p. 67) (It is interesting when sources conflict on facts --- a capacity of 2,000 vs. 1,825 railcars.)

1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 349
Since this was built in the 1920s, I was curious as to what was there in 1915. On the eastern side, they basically just had to fill in the then obsolete Indiana and Michigan Canal.

1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 358
On the west side they had to fill the canal and move IC's and SanteFe's mainlines south were the canal used to be.

The track spacing in the eastern part looked like a modern inter-modal terminal because it had big aprons between the tracks so that trucks could unload the railcars.

Later, IC replaced the CPT with its IMX Intermodal yard.

Bill Molony posted

Google Earth set to 4/30/2015
Now the only thing being used is the warehouse. The Sun-Times printing plant was shut down in 2011 because they made an agreement to have their newspaper printed at the Chicago Tribune printing plant. Trucking produce from California via BNSF/Santa Fe is not too bad because Corwith Yard, now a BNSF intermodal yard, is just another mile or so downstream. But trucking bananas from CN/IC has got to be a pain because the closest remaining intermodal yard I know of is Markham Yard in Harvey, IL. I wonder if bananas are instead flown to Midway. Or are they trucked all the way from New Orleans?

It hasn't shown up on a satellite image yet (2018), but FedEx has built a Shipping Center on the west part of this land.

Bill Molony posted
Illinois Central Railroad 4-8-2 Mountain-type #2605, wasting very little time in moving perishable produce from Gulf ports to Chicago markets - undated.
Willard Baker I remember when we would load banana cars, at our ice plant in Bluford Il.
Bill Case why were they called banana trains?
George Orleans The entire consist of reefers contained bananas loaded at New Orleans and destined for Chicago to be re-consisted to other points ...
Hulen Warren Don’t forget the strawberry trains loaded in Hammond and Ponchatoula, LA for northern and eastern cities.
Richard C. Burnes commented on Bill Case's comment
New Orleans, Louisiana -- Bananas being loaded into Illinois Central refrigerator cars.

Renee Barber Hammond posted
Kay Nelms Mathias My dad, Billy A. Nelms, Sr. put ice on the bananas to keep them cool in the summer and put heaters in the cars in winter. He said it was always fun to find a nice big tarantula crawling around in those bananas.

David R. King shared

Eric Sibul posted
CB&Q Fruit auction team tracks, 27th & Ashland, Chicago, May 1948 - Univ of Illinois Archives
Bob Lalich This is the Chicago Produce Terminal, jointly owned by the IC and ATSF.
Paul Jevert Bob I.C. had the Produce Term. switcher 6 months of the year and then the Santa Fe crews would have the job the other 6 months. I worked that switcher back in 1969, the engine was listed at 3:00 a.m. and we had to have the auction tracks spotted by 5:30 a.m. ! The auction opened the car's at 0600.
Paul Jevert I worked with an "Old head I.C. switchman" on the job, Tony Dischiano who was a regular at the Produce Term. for many years and knew all the auctioneer's by name !
Bob Lalich Paul Jevert - was the switcher suppied by whichever RR had the job at the time?
Paul Jevert Bob Lalich Yes, that was supposed to be the case but sometimes the I.C. unit was not set out for the job on the turnover and we just worked with the Santa Fe GP9 ! Towards the end in 1970 the Santa Fe unit stayed. I.C. built the IMX TOFC yard there in 70 and ran SE 1 and #51/50 in and out and the PT was done !

Dennis DeBruler As a convenience to buyers, the C&NW's Potato Yard and this CPT yard were used by other railroads. I haven't been able to determine if other railroads also used Santa Fe's Grape Yard.
David Daruszka The C&NW used to spot cars of grapes along Chicago Ave. at the 40th Street Yard. Popular spot with Italian home winemakers.
Bob Lalich commented on Eric's post
Here is a photo of an office building - c1960.

Dwayne Weber posted
WW2 in Chicago. Fruit from California being off loaded from a train being shipped to the Auction House. OWI/US Government
[Bob Lalich commented that the grain elevator in the background was the Santa Fe Elevator.]
Dennis DeBruler "Fruit terminal and grain elevator. Crates from each shipment are opened and set up on end; these the commission merchants examine, making notes on what they want to buy, a few hours before the auction. Chicago, Illinois" from

Photo from a search result

Michael Palmiere posted
This is a view was taken from S. Front Street looking along the ladder track of the ICG's Levee Yard towards the Mississippi River. For much of the twentieth century, this 16-track yard was used to park refrigerator cars which were loaded in the adjacent wharves. Several banana unloading conveyor machines can be seen above the transit shed, just to the right of the two cranes. Levee Yard was single ended, as all of the tracks dead-ended at Thalia Street.
By the time this photo was taken, the banana traffic -- and almost all of the IC's other business around here -- was gone. The track we are standing on continued up St. Joseph Street while the track on the right ran up N. Diamond Street for two blocks, to S. Peters Street. This area was redeveloped for the construction of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ohio River Tows

20150820,21 4195 12:24:18
When I first arrived at Fort Massac State Park to get west elevation pictures of the I-24 Bridge over the Ohio River, there was a tow going under the north arch. Even at this distance you can see big prop-washes for the twin screws. The towboat is having to use quite a bit of horsepower to shove the tow upstream.

I took a sequence of pictures because electrons are cheap and to capture a sense of how slowly it was moving.
Later, a construction barge was coming upstream. I waited so I could take a profile picture. As the time stamps indicate, it took a couple of minutes to move a few hundred feet.


As I was leaving, I took another picture upstream. The following are from that picture.

The tow we initially saw under the bridge seems to have stopped for now. I didn't think Lock and Dam #52 was still being used. It seems they are doing construction there. Maybe I-24 is not the only congestion because of construction. (Update: I was wrong. Lock and Dam #52 has evidently not been retired and they were using the lock during this visit.)

Under the bridge is a medium sized tow heading downstream. So tows in both directions are using the north channel.

And the construction barge is making good progress towards the bridge.

While I was taking pictures of the Metropolis Railroad Bridge, I saw that there were probably a lot of local river businesses because I saw a smallish towboat going upstream "light." That is, it was not pushing any barges. (The building on the left is the back of Harrah's Casino in Metropolis.) It would help breakup the big tows and deliver barges to their final destinations. And to build bigger tows by fetching barges from various area businesses.

Later when we crossed the Blue Hummer Bridge, my wife took some downstream pictures. She caught a 15-barge tow heading under the bridge. I analyzed the first tow I saw, and I think this is a different upstream tow.