Sunday, October 29, 2017

Illinois River Peoria Lock and Dam

(John A. Weeks IIISatellite)

David Jordan shared
Peoria Lock and Dam will close for 60 days in 2020 (the linked article has more photos)
This could create some interesting alternatives for rail-barge traffic in the area. If nothing else, ADM’s Cedar Rapids plants will temporarily cease routing distillers mash and/or gluten feed pellets to ADM Grain Co. docks on Wesley Road via the Iowa Interstate. I suppose they could send this traffic to alternate area locations such as CHS at Pekin or to the American Milling Co.-operated dock at Crystal Lake.

Tim Freitag posted
It's a core rig named Hercules.
[According to the comments Hercules is a  Manatowoc 4600 on a 60' ringer mounted on a barge. There is controversy as to weather or not the counterweights slide. Normally they stay at the end on a ringer. But since this is mounted on a barge, sliding coutnerweights would make sense.]
Dennis DeBruler Deron Manseau I looked through my notes and found an image with no load on the hook. The counterweights are still fully extended over the ring.

Mike Weaver commented on Tim Freitag's posting
Mike Weaver commented on Tim Freitag's posting
Ben Stalvey Sure is neat how it folds down
Jon Hart Has to fit under those bridges!


Jack Tanner Towing posted eight photos with the comment: "The M/V Danny H. Took a little trip North over the weekend for some maintenance. Here she is Southbound making lock!" (Jack Tanner Towing is based in Havana, IL.)
[He caught the river with the wicket gates up. Photo 6 is a particularly good view of the gates.]








It was hard finding the visitor center for this dam. I wanted to see this dam because it is one of the few wicket gate dams left in America. It had a sign on the fence that was rather confusing about what was allowed inside. But the gate was partially open, so we parked at the visitor center. Cameras were a definite no-no. While I was walking around, a person soon walked over from the office building. He informed me that people are not allowed inside the fence. The gate was partially open because it was broke. So we left. Both sides of the downstream river are lined with forests so it is impossible to get views from the river side. John Weeks did what I thought about doing --- getting pictures as I go across the I-474 bridge.

I made a copy of the Google image because it caught the Illinois River with a high flow so that the wicket gates are down. This allows the tows to use the river channel instead of the lock making passage by the dam much faster. Since the lock chamber is not used during high water, that is where they are parking the tender that raises and lowers the gates. The Tainter gate would be wide open.
Birds-Eye View
I made a copy of the birds-eye view because it not only caught the river at low flow with the wickets up, it caught a downstream tow going through the lock. The 15-barge tow indicates the lock is just 600' because the tow had to lock through as two parts. The Tainter gate was installed so that fine flow adjustments can be made to maintain a consistent pool height.

Of interest is that there were at least two more tows waiting upstream to use the lock. Note the "helper" towboat against the second barge on the starboard side to help guide the tow.
Birds-Eye View

About a half mile upstream is another tow waiting its turn. Note the coal train on the TZPR/PPU tracks.
Birds-Eye View

Given this traffic jam of downstream tows, I looked below the dam to see if there were any upstream tows waiting for the lock. I did not find any. Two 15-barge tows waiting to go through the lock when the lock can only handle half a tow illustrates how important it is to lower the wicket gates during high water so that the lock is not needed.

USACE posted three photos with the comment:
Maintenance and inspections continue at Peoria Lock and Dam near Creve Coeur, Illinois, as part of the 2020 Illinois Waterway Consolidated Lock Closures. Built around the 1930's, these lock systems have withstood the test of time and are getting much needed repairs performed during these closures. #ILWW2020Closures



USACE photo
[It reopened on Sep 30, 2020.]

While looking for a grain elevator, I noticed that the satellite image shows why they sometimes want to put the wickets down and allow the boats to bypass the lock.
Satellite accessed July 5, 2021

Jeffery Engle, Nov 2017

USACE video of the 2020 repairs  It says the Illinois Waterway has navigation all year long.

safe_image for 'An incredible system': 1930s-era Peoria Lock and Dams included in $829 million for waterway improvements
Most of this money is going for an expansion of the 600' lock to a 1200' lock at the Mississippi L&D #25. It will also pay for a fish passage north of Quincy.
"Currently, the process of locking through a 600-foot chamber can take up to four to six hours, Wilkins said. 'One lockage in a nice 1200-foot chamber, you do the same operation within 30, 40, 50 minutes,' he said."
Gerald Jerry Riesenberg: It does not take 4-6 hours to lock through a 600 ft chamber 2 times !!! I rode those boats for 12 years on the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers and made hundreds of double lockings. It can be done in roughly 2 hours, maybe 2 1/2.
[I've watched double-lockings, and it can be done significantly faster than 4-6 hours.]
Del Wilkins is president of the Illinois Marine Waterway Association. Is he deliberately exaggerating the lock time or is a person in that position really that ignorant? Either way, his error is disconcerting because exaggerating by that much is effectively a lie.

Steep CGW Industrial Spur in St. Charles, IL

I don't normally do postings about industrial spurs, but this one is interesting.

Dave Kuntz posted the comment: "I'm reading about a steep siding that ended up on St. Charles' Main Street and had several runaways in "The Chicago Great Western Railway" pictorial book."

Jerry Hund commented on Dave's posting
Here's the most famous runaway in St. Charles.
Dave Kuntz Trolley Tracks on street?
Jerry Hund Dave Kuntz yes, they belonged to the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River RR until 1935. Also, the CA&E Geneva Branch ended a short distance past this area.
Jerry Hund Notice the empty lot on the corner. The Arcada Theatre would be built here. Air Supply is playing there tonight.
I suspect the curve in the building marks the location of the industrial siding that served a, possibly water powered, industry in the 1800s. The tracks were probably gone before the building was built, but the property lines for the lot would have been defined by the railroad right-of-way.
Satellite plus Paint
A street view shows the tracks are elevated to remain level across the Fox River Valley.

Street View
I'm sure the siding made its descent to river level using just the embankment they had to build anyhow for the mainline approach to CGW's bridge across the river. And this 1939 view confirms that the curve in the building marked above is where the siding ran.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Or maybe it was more like this.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Saturday, October 28, 2017

MWRD: South Side Interceptor Pumping Plants

(Update: this photo and other interceptor sewer construction photos have been moved to Interceptor Sewer Construction.)

MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: The intersection of 92nd Street and Mackinaw Avenue in Chicago on October 3, 1923, showing a westward view of work on the Calumet intercepting sewer system.

It was easy finding information about the pumping station that pumped sewage from the lake side intercepting sewers into the North Branch of the Chicago River. But it has been harder finding information on the pumping stations for interceptor sewers on the south side. Fortunately, I recorded the following notes when I researched the north pump station:
(For future reference, I have come across "Racine Pumping Plant" and "pumping station at 68th near South Shore Drive." While Googling for them, I found a map of Chicago's supply water pumping stations. This looks like the Racine Pumping Plant. I didn't find anything around 68th and South Shore.)
Google found a map of MWRD's CSO's outflows, but the contents is blank even though the sidebar looks valid. "CSO Locations" in the sidebar is also blank. Backing off to their CSO level gives me a useful page. Clicking the "Stickney Area" link gives me list that includes the Racine Ave Pump Station as number 142. This list includes other pumping stations such as Nashville Avenue (#189). But I could not find anything that looks like a pump station there. Also on the list was Southwest Side 13A (#146) and Westchester (#150).

A reference that records "diversions" from the pump stations ("Summary of Activity at Major Pump Stations" link on the CSO Overview page) lists the following pump stations: North Branch, Racine Avenue, Westchester, 95th Street, 122nd Street and 125th Street. (Again, it is a real shame their map page is not working.)

EJ&E switched from a belt railroad to a private US Steel railroad in the mid 1970s

I found the comments to be more interesting than the photo.

Kevin Piper posted
906 leads a typical 1960's EJ&E freight past the CB&Q interchange in late afternoon at Eola on 8-25-68. When the Centercabs first got solid orange paint, they also had black frames pilots, and walkways. To simplify repainting, the black was later dropped in favor of more orange in those areas. By the mid-1970's, EJ&E freight trains took on a much different look after the railroad started to discourage bridge traffic. The bean counters determined that bridge traffic between different connecting railroads, using the J as a "middle man", was unprofitable. As a result, the "Chicago Outer Belt" slogan was dropped. LOUIS CERNY PHOTO/KEVIN PIPER COLLECTION
Dennis DeBruler I remember that EJ&E quit carrying bridge traffic and was to do what it was owned for --- connect US Steel plants. Thanks for reminding me that the change was done in the mid 1970s.
Kevin PiperGroup Admin USS wanted it to be a conveyor belt for them.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

1881,1905 BNSF/BN/NP Bridge over Missouri River at Bismarck, ND

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, John A. Weeks III, 3D Satellite)

Built in 1905 with the granite piers of an 1882 bridge. BNSF plans to replace this bridge.

John A. Weeks III

This must have been the 1882 bridge.
Marty Bernard posted
Testing the Bismarck bridge, Northern Pacific Railroad, October 21, 1882.
Photograph and caption from the Minnesota Historical Society
Marty Bernard shared

This photo shows the angle on the upstream side of the piers to help lift and break the ice flows to protect the piers.
Street View
From Bridge Hunter

Based on a paper written by Ed Murphy of the ND Geological Survey, the railroad (first Northern Pacific, and now BNSF), have had endless problems with the eastern pier of the High Bridge. Just after completion, the east pier began shifting towards the Missouri River at a rate of 3 to 3-1/2 inches per year. A number of repairs were attempted, but none seemed to work. In 1898, the pier was dug out and moved back onto a larger foundation. By 1902, the pier was already 4 inches off center. After further investigation, it was suspected that the city water reservoir located on a hill above the railroad track was leaking large amounts of water, causing the entire hillside to slide towards the river. The NP built a tunnel under the area to try to drain the water, but the pier continued to move. More projects were completed in 1918, 1923, and 1940 to try to slow down the landslide. In 1951, the NP undertook a major project to cut down the hill and regrade the area. This helped the situation by slowing down the movement to 1/3 of an inch per year, but did not stop the movement. [John Weeks]
Mike Jensen comment on Bridge Hunter, Fall of 2008

safe_image for BNSF Railway asks Coast Guard to start process to remove historic rail bridge

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Robert Street Bridge over Mississippi in St. Paul, MN

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, John Weeks3D Satellite)

The content concerning the UP/C&NW/CGW lift bridge has been moved to here. Many of those photos include this bridge in the background.

John A. Weeks III, downstream (eastern) elevation from the south bank riverwalk

John A. Weeks III
The photo above shows a good view of the main span rainbow arch. Notice that there is steel work under the bridge deck to help support the roadway. Also notice the Great Western railroad lift bridge behind the Robert Street Bridge. The railroad bridge was built many years before the Robert Street Bridge.

 Both road and railroad truss bridges were built in 1885.
Journal of the Western Society of Engineers, Volume 8, p 438
The draw is operated by steam.
Historic Bridges
ca. 1895 Photo of Previous Bridge
Source: Minneapolis Photo Collection of Hennepin County Library

Street View

The railroad bridge was replaced in 1913 and the road bridge was replaced in 1926. The road bridge was rehabilitated in 1989 and added to the National Register of Historic Places. The concrete pony arch [BridgeHunter] or rainbow arch [HistoricBridges, JohnWeeks] span (navigation channel span) is 264'. The two pony arches are not reinforced with rebar. Instead, a steel arch was built, which was then encased by concrete. [HistoricBridges, JohnWeeks, BridgeHunter]
One feature of the bridge is that it appears to fit so well to its surroundings. Perhaps the reason for that is that the bridge was so difficult to fit around all the obstacles at that location. This includes having to be high enough for river boat traffic, low enough to meet the low grade south of the river without having too steep of grade (as required by street cars), it has to be high enough for trains to pass under, yet it had to match the height of Kellogg Blvd. The result is that the bridge design was dictated by each of these constraints. [JohnWeeks]

Kevin Piper posted
Two SOO GP30's cross the Mississippi River at St. Paul, MN, on 8-16-74. PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN

John Harker posted
Moments after departing from St Paul Union Depot at 6:55 pm in August 1970, Milw train #5 the Morning Hiawatha was captured in this scene passing under the Robert Street Bridge. It was enroute to the Minneapolis station for a scheduled arrival at 7:20 pm. William J Brennan took this original Kodachrome slide which I scanned and edited for this image. Also, an image of his slide was published in the Morning Sun book, Milwaukee Road Through Passenger Service, Volume 2 by Greg Stout and John Schultz. John Harker collection

The river has been really low in Summer 2021. Plus this provides a view of the upstream side of the bridge.
Mary C Kennedy posted, cropped
Messy shoreline on the low Miss in downtown St Paul.


BRC 100th Street Yard

(Satellite, the slightly diagonal yard in the center rather than the yard on the left)

Bob Lalich Flickr, Aug 1984
BRC 100th st Yard
BRC TR4 set switches Rail To Water near 100th St, 8-84.
The tracks in the upper-right corner of this diagram are the southern end of this yard.
William E Plut commented on a post
Bob Lalich Not much business for 100th St yard these days, is there?
William E Plut Bob Lalich it’s been pretty dead for a few years since the coal was shut down. Few industry jobs. Although new management is drumming up business. We have trains stored and passing through for now.
William E Plut From 112 to 106 BRC has two tracks that lead into 100st yard. Their is still properly that the belt owns south of that but the yard is over grown. I only leaned of it in the last few years.

Everything between 106 and 100st for the most part is belt property.
William E Plut I’ve heard stories of the old plants that use to be along the tracks. Steel, coke, fork lifts, coal was coming to a close around the time I started about 10 years ago. There is rumors of a stone company taking the place of the old coal location. Very possible 100st gets some life back in it.
The yellow rectangle marks the yard office. According to the shadow, it looked more like a tower.
1938 Aerial Photo

Arturo Gross Flickr photo is the first of five photos with the comment "BRC Alco C424 601 and mate 603 pull into 100th St. Yard on Chicago's southeast side with loads for KCBX rail to water terminal May 1996." The Alcos are belching smoke. Especially in this photo. When he posted this Flickr link in Facebook, William L. Brushaber commented that Arturo took the photos from the south end of the yard below 104th Street from Muskegon Avenue. Arturo commented:
Dennis DeBruler If you can get your hands on the book "The Pennsy in Chicago" by Ed DeRuin, it's a great resource for figuring out what is going on rail wise on the far south/southeast side as well as Northwest Indiana. Obviously not all the tracks are former PRR, but there are so many PRR lines that the coverage really explains alot. In this case a PRR line called the Cummings Branch [my link because I researched the pennsyrr link given below] also ran right next to the BRC yard. Many of the same track diagrams that are in the book are also available on this website, but it's a little harder to get the big picture than the book...

2015 Street View
2014 Street View
John DeWit Woodlock II posted
BRC 511,505 @ 100th Street Yard-Chicago,IL 19 APR 97
[The cow and calf unit must be at the south end of the yard.]
John DeWit Woodlock II It was indeed located at the south end of the yard, not quite as far as 104th Street if I remember correctly.
John DeWit Woodlock II posted
BRC 604,600 @ 100th Street Yard-Chicago,IL 18 APR 97. My apologies for the soft focus.
[We are more in the middle of the yard looking south at the Railto Elevator]
John DeWit Woodlock II posted
BRC 605;UP 8034;7013 @ 100th Street Yard-Chicago,IL 22 APR 97.

John DeWit Woodlock II posted
BRC 605,601;UP 8034;7013 @ 100th Street Yard-Chicago,IL 22 APR 97.
[We are even further north because the Railto Elevator is in the distance on the left.]
John DeWit Woodlock II posted
BRC 605;KCBX 1872,1874 @ 100th Street Yard-Chicago,IL 22 MAY 97.
[Near the north end looking north because that is the approach to the Skyway in the background.]
Marty Gatton Screenshot
CRL operating OMLX 4200 and 1000 northbound through BRC’s 100th street yard
7am 6/27/19
Marty Gatton Someone in the know please advise...

Is the two track stretch these will run on called the Cummings branch? (Eventually through rock island junction and into the BRC South Chicago yard)Ean Kahn-Treras Marty Gatton No. That was the name given to the PRR branch that also followed the BRC down to Commercial Ave Yard.

The BRC timetable says this is the South Chicago District Industrial Lead. Rock Island Jct to 112th St.

Nick Hart posted
Chicago Rail Link time! The clouds were trying to spoil the party, but OMLX 4200 and 9469 managed to find the sun. Slowly making way to the yard near 104th Street in Chicago's south side, the pair of GP40-2LW's are in charge of interchange tonnage from Blue Island. 4200 wears sharp Hudson Bay paint, while the 9469 is still kicking in CN zebra paint.
November 11th, 2020
[That is the former General Mills plant on the right.]

Gary Pyke posted
Belt Railway of Chicago 237 a GP23ECO sits on the Southside of Chicago waiting for its next assignment.
Dennis DeBruler Ean Kahn-Treras It is always nice to learn about an industry that is still rail served.!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...

Luke Malin posted
Chicago Rail Link's transfer to Commercial Yard and back assembles its outgoing consist, utilizing BRC trackage for headroom. Once finished building, the CRL train will return to South Deering via its own trackage which parallels this line to the west. The tracks leading off to the right were the now defunct BRC rail-to-water transload. The bridge in the background is the Chicago Skyway. 7/18/21
Bob Lalich: Interesting shot! Let me see if I understand correctly. CRL pulls cars from the BRC in Commercial Ave Yard down this line as far as needed to clear what used to be called Rock Island Jct, then shoves back on their tracks to reach the switch to the old Rock Island Irondale Branch near Colfax Ave, correct?
Luke Malin: Bob Lalich Correct. They were actually starting to shove in this picture, this is the biggest train I've seen them take and thus the farthest I've ever seen them pull down these tracks.
Gavin Robey
Since so many have already asked, below is a pin to the location. I myself am amazed at the size of the rail-to-water transload facility. What’s the history there? How long been disused?
Dropped pin
Dennis DeBruler
Gavin Robey I think the rail-to-water facility quit doing coal when the Midwest power plants switched from Illinois Basin Coal to Powder River Basin Coal. Then it did petcoke for a while. But they had trouble stopping dust from blowing off the piles, so they gave that up.
Bob Lalich
Gavin Robey - going back to the early 20th century, there was a coal facility at this location operated by the Lehigh Valley Coal Co. Rail To Water Transfer Corp was established in the 1940s by 27 coal companies, according to a Chicago Tribune report. Business grew rapidly into the 1960s and the facility was upgraded several times. At that time, the facility handled coal for Great Lakes power plants, along with some metallurgical coal. Business began to decline in the 1970s due to power plants switching to low sulfur coal. I don't have a date but sometime in the 1990s RTW sold the facility to KCBX. In later years of operation, petcoke was the only commodity handled.
Trains magazine ran an excellent article about the BRC in the Sept 1966 issue, which included a sidebar story about RTW. The article is available as a download from Kalmbach.

Arturo Gross Flickr 1995 photo

Arturo Gross Flickr 1996 photo (source)  Mark Bilecki Sr. They were brand new then.

Arutro Gross Flickr 1996 photo Smoking Alcos pull a train destined for KCBX rail-ro-water. (source)
Mark Bilecki Sr. Awesome! 603 is probably the smoker, as I remember it also belched flames at times too
Daniel Metzger Mark Bilecki Sr. I think those ALCo’s could smoke on command. It I recall there were crews who would smoke them up if they saw a photographer.
Dennis DeBruler Daniel Metzger I knew that steam locomotives can do that by pouring excessive coal onto the fire. It is standard practice now for exhibition steam train runs. I wonder how a diesel engine did that.