Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nebraska Tractor Testing

When Henry Ford started producing tractors as well as cars, he called them Fordson instead of Ford because a fraudulent businessmen in Minneapolis had already incorporated a "Ford Tractor Co." One of the farmers screwed by the fraudulent company, Wilmot Croitzer, was also a member of the Nebraska House of Representatives. Not only did many "tractor companies" make horsepower claims that were way too high, they did not have support for replacement parts and service when their lemons broke down. "A colleague in the Nebraska State Senate, Charles Warner, had a similar story."
Together, these two men championed legislation that would require all tractors sold in the state of Nebraska to undergo testing and receive approval from a panel of three engineers at the University of Nebraska. Tractor companies who wished to operate in the state would also be required to have a service station and an adequate supply of replacement parts located somewhere in the state as well. The law passed in 1919.
By 1920, the University of Nebraska was ready to begin tests. The first tractor tested was John Deere’s Waterloo Boy tractor, quickly followed by 68 more tractors tested that year.
The Nebraska Tests quickly developed an excellent reputation. They caught on around the world. Today, the University of Nebraska is at the forefront of the global Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, which coordinates tractor testing in 29 countries.

Trail/Wabash Bridge over Kankakee River at Custer Park

(Bridge HunterSatellite)
Bill Molony posted
Looking railroad south through the Wabash Railroad's bridge over the Kankakee River at Custer Park. 
Undated, but circa 1950's.
The Custer Park station can be seen in the background, by looking through the bridge.
It looks like one of the trusses was allowed to deteriorate so much that it was replaced by a steel girder span.
Birds-Eye View
I'm going to have to do another trip on IL-102 from Wilmington, but find Rivals Road and go south to Rivals Lookout Park. One reason Custer Park is now a small town is that it does not have a road bridge to go along with the railroad bridge.

Bob Dodge posted
Richard Fiedler commented on Bob's posting:
'm thinking the building at the end is the pump house for the water tank in Custer Park
Forest Preserve District of Will County posted
Walking or riding the Wauponsee Glacial Trail bridge over the Kankakee River is one thing, but flying over it offers a whole different perspective. The view Monday afternoon ... (Photo by Chad Merda)

Richard Mead shared
Richard FiedlerGroup Admin Derailment occurred in the summer of 1968.

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society posted
On August 22nd, 1968, 23 cars of a southbound Norfolk & Western Railway freight train plunged into the Kankakee River at Custer Park.
The freight train was enroute from Chicago to Decatur and totaled 97 cars.
A spokesman for the Norfolk & Western said that two wrecking crews were attempting to clear the track and recover the cars.
"There were about 29 cars involved in the derailment and 23 of them are in the river," the spokesman said. He said the N&W may have to detour its trains to tracks of either the Illinois Central or Penn Central railroads in order to cross the Kankakee River.
Police said the southbound freight train consisted in part of flatcars carrying old railroad boxcars. Some of these cars apparently shifted in transit and struck the side of the bridge causing the collapse, they said.

Alan G Lowery posted
[Bob Dodge posted several photos as comments.]

Forgotten Railways, Roads, and Places posted a then+now photo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Portage Lake Lift Bridge between Houghton and Hancock, MI

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, SatelliteStreetview, Google Photo)

Wikipedia, put in the Public Domain by Justin Murawski
The double-deck span can support road traffic on both levels. The lower deck also used to have tracks to support the railroads that originally built it --- Copper Range (1906 and 1920 maps) and Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway. In 1961 it became part of  Soo Line, which became Wisconsin Central in 1987. But railroad traffic stopped in 1982. Looking at a railroad map, there used to be a lot of routes and mining shafts on the peninsula. ALL of the routes are now abandoned. By the time of the abandonments, all the routes were owned by SOO (Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie)

Below shows the span raised high enough to pass a boat.
Wikipedia, Chris857 Photo, CC BY-SA

Below is an older photo when the tracks were still intact showing the span lowered to allow a train to cross.

Marty Bernard posted this and three other photos

Rudy Maki posted
Robert C. Stanley westbound at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge while the Soo Line waits to cross. Nov. 2, 1979.

Rudy Maki posted
Clyde S. VanEnkevort westbound at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, Dec. 2, 2021.
Rich Tulikangas: That's so awesome to see a non-salt boat transiting Portage. A rare treat! And on the same day that the Hollyhock was removing the channel bouys.
[Comments on other posts indicate that this ship took the canal because the waves were high on the lake. While the span was up, the Hollyhock also went through the bridge. Judging from the comments, that is also rare when one of them is a big boat.]
[Unfortunately, these videos have a profile format.]
A 2:42 video of the Clyde VanEnkevort and Erie Trader going through
A 1:05 video of the Hollyhock going through
Photos and 2 videos from the boom anchor. [A comment on the second video indicates that this was the largest vessel that has used the canal.]

Rudy Maki posted
William J. Filbert westbound at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, Oct. 31, 1966.
Rudy Maki posted
Eugene W. Pargny westbound at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, Oct. 25. 1973.
James Torgeson shared
A US Steel laker meets a US Steel-built bridge!
Jeff Dennis posted
State of Michigan at the Portage lift bridge, September 29, 2021

Brendon Baillod posted
Here's a nice, early divided back postcard of the old Portage Lake swing bridge between Houghton and Hancock around 1910 or so. It shows an interesting freighter passing upbound, probably for Duluth from the lower lakes. Hancock, Michigan can be seen in the background and the center span of the bridge is shown in a rare open view. An early streetcar can be seen waiting on the south span of the bridge.
Wondering if anyone can ID the freighter. She has a rather unique deck house configuration that may allow for an ID. It is also unusual to see side cargo ports and masts on a freighter of this size at this late a date.
Thanks to William Lafferty for identifying this vessel as the Western Transit Co. package freighter Troy. For more info on her, see:
Brendon Baillod shared
William Lafferty commented on Brendon's post
That doghouse so far forward makes me think it is the Troy. I can't think of another like that. Wyandotte-built with no sisters, I think.

Rudy Maki posted
D.M. Clemson westbound at Portage Lake Lift Bridge, Sept. 23, 1972.

Roger Puta's photo above shows the wye built on the river. According to a comment about a bridge in Oil City, PA, only two exist in the world. But the comments identified a few more in the US alone.

Joe Granger commented on a share
 There is also one between Houghton and Hancock, Michigan, a double decker bridge at that...I did not take this picture FTR

Brendon Baillod photo
The modern Portage Lake lift bridge, from a post card in my collection dated 1960.
Ric Mixter: love this shot- so cool we were just standing on that approachway!
Patches Croteau shared
Dennis Eyler: The nearest tracks now are in Baraga, 25 miles away.

Clyde Hendrickson posted
Soo Line crossing lift bridge between Hancock and Houghton Michigan. Also used for US-41 which ends in Miami FL.

Clyde commented on his post
Another view of bridge.

Joe Granger commented on a share
Another view showing the other side of the Wye.

Copper Country Limited updated
Alex Sansone Lot of power for a small train

Because the railroads ran close to the shore, they were low. When lowered for rail traffic, not even a speedboat could pass underneath. That is why it is important that the bridge is normally at the intermediate level during navigation season. But there is no canal traffic during the winter so the bridge is lowered so that snowmobiles and skiers using the old railroad right-of-ways as trails can also use this bridge.

Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula posted a link
Explore more than 200 miles of pristine trails in Michigan's Copper Country.

Keweenaw Snowmobile Club posted
The gateway to the Keweenaw is now OPEN! The mat has been laid on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge! We have some more work to do on the approach from the City of Houghton side tomorrow morning, so please avoid the area from 8 am to Noon tomorrow Jan 16th as we will be finishing things up! 
Thank you, 
The KSC Board of Directors 
Keweenaw Snowmobile Club posted
The Portage Lake Lift Bridge is COMPLETE and OPEN! Huge THANK YOU to City of Houghton for hauling snow for us for TWO DAYS to get this done! 
The KSC Board of Directors 

The original bridge was a wooden swing bridge completed in 1875. This was replaced by a steel swing bridge in 1901. In 1959 the swing bridge was replaced by this bridge. It has a 100' clearance when fully raised. [Wikipedia] When built, it was the heaviest lift bridge constructed. [Posting]

A video of it being raised for a ferry. "It's hard to catch the bridge in action anymore but I caught it last fall when the twice a week ferry to Isle Royale left." (source)

These screenshots below are from a video of the construction of the lift bridge that replaced a swing bridge that had just 5-feet of clearance and took a long time to open and close. So traffic backups through the two towns were common. The bridge has two decks. Originally the upper deck of the approaches carried vehicles and the lower deck carried railroads. Normally, the lower deck of the lift span is aligned with the vehicle deck of the approach spans to provide a 32-foot clearance that allows most pleasure craft and fishing boats to pass without stopping traffic as depicted by the first screenshot. The second screenshot shows the lift span lowered so that both vehicle and railroad traffic can cross.

The full height provides a clearance of 100 feet. This video of the bridge going up and down is made from three perspectives: from a boat, from the shore, and from a pedestrian crossing.

Looking at a railroad map, there used to be a lot of routes and mining shafts on the peninsula. ALL of the routes are now abandoned. By the time of the abandonments, all the routes were owned by SOO (Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie)

Sarter Marine Towing posted four photos with the comment: "Hancock."




Rich Smith posted
Highway and RR lift bridge.

Rudy Maki posted
Clifford F. Hood coming into the Copper Range dock in Houghton to wait for weather, Dec. 3, 1969.
Dale Pohto: Arguably, the most handsome of crane ships...

Jeff Dennis posted
Ocean Navigator at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, June 10, 2022

Rich Tulikangas commented on Rudy's post
The Hood at the Van Orden dock 11/27/1967.
[In another comment, Rich explains that the dock was just to the left of Rudy's pic.]
Brendon Baillod posted
Here's another rare, early Keweenaw view for my Copper Country friends.  This uncolored, undivided-back postcard dates from 1905 and shows the old Portage Lake Ship Canal entrance at the present-day North Entry.
The card gives a nice view of the rarely seen west pierhead light with its elevated walkway.  The west pier light was removed during the 1920s, as the enclosing breakwall structure completed in 1902 made it obsolete.  The present-day art-deco style light was added to the east breakwall in 1950.
The old east pier is also shown.  It was a popular disembarkation point for excursionists going to nearby, present-day McClain State Park.  
Most interesting is the steamer, the SS City of Traverse, shown entering the canal from the west.  She was a big (215 ft.) and popular passenger steamer that ran from Chicago to Lake Superior ports during much of the 1890s and early 1900s under the Graham & Morton Transportation Company.  Shortly after this photo was made, she was reportedly sold to a Chicago gambling syndicate for use as floating poolroom offshore from Chicago with wireless to transmit horse racing returns.  She was dismantled at St. Joseph, Michigan in 1912 where her hull was used as a floating dry dock.
For more about this interesting steamer and her career as a gambling house, see:
Brendon Baillod shared

17:16 video @ 0:34
How They Made This Record-Breaking Bridge
Spoiler: the record it breaks is the weight of the span.
At 9:30 there is a good explaination of the purpose of the chains that hange getween the counterweights and the towers.

29:12 video of the construction

1:18 video of a tall (sailing) ship (Brig Niagara) going under the bridge. (Skip to 0:30 for the bridge)

0:34 video of another tall ship (Inland Seas) going under the bridge. The resolution is bad, but if you wait near the end, you can hear a salute.

17:16 video about its construction

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tractor Square Dancing (Sharp Turns)

Screen shot from Team Farmall video
A demonstration of why they put a "spinner" on the steering wheel and have turning brakes. Specifically, you can turn so sharp that one tire stays in the same place. Take a look at 1:04 and several other places in the video. Being able to turn sharp can get you in trouble in the field when pulling something because the inside tire will hit the implement's tongue and "cause problems." Yet at the end of the field, you sometimes need a rather sharp turn. The trick is to not stay in a sharp turn too long.

Update: I accidentally clicked this page and discovered that Facebook's video link had died the day I happened to see another posting of it. Since it has been posted in a public group, I'll use Christopher Johnson's link to the video.

CSX/PM Abt Trunnion over Saginaw River in Saginaw, MI

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges; Satellite

Bridge Hunter: Photo taken by C Hanchey in June 2012
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

Since the only other bridge in town is a swing bridge, it was easy to find on Google. Fortunately, the 3D option worked pretty well on this bridge. Compare this bridge to the PM Bridge in Port Huron to see how the counterweight goes down while the machine room goes back down the diagonal rack.

Google 3D
Birds-Eye View, note the image is older because it still has the tower

Tom Shumaker posted three photos with the comment: "A railroad drawbridge over the Saginaw River, Saginaw, Michigan."
1, cropped

2, cropped

3, cropped

Mtnclimberjoe Rail Photography posted
As the sun sets in Saginaw, Michigan, a pair of Lake State Railway GP's lead empty CSX grain train V765 across the Saginaw River. The train is bound for interchange with the Mid-Michigan Railroad where it will be loaded.
LSRC Dean Sub
Saginaw, MI
LSRC V765 (Saginaw, MI to Paines, MI)
LSRC 805 GP40 Ex. HATX 805, CSX 6753, SBD 6753, SCL 1598 Blt. 1970
LSRC 1171 GP40M-3 Ex. FURX 1171, CSX 6568 GP40, CO 3793 Blt. 1971
Roger Riblett shared

Douglas Butler posted
Source from Michigan Railroads CSX Abt Bascule Bridge is the last Bascule Bridge in the state of Michigan located in Saginaw.