Monday, December 31, 2018

Crescent City Connection Bridge over Mississippi River in New Orleans, LA

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; John A Weeks III3D Satellite, 136+ photos)

Upstream span: 1958 with four lanes
Downstream span: 1988 with six lanes, two of which are reversible HOV lanes. (HOV = High-Occupancy Vehicles   Typically, HOV means at least two people in the vehicle.)

"The older span was the longest continuous truss bridge in the world when it opened. The 3,019 foot long truss superstructure and 1,575 foot long main span still rate as some of largest continuous truss bridges on the planet." [Weeks III]  As of 2013, tolls are no longer collected. [Bridge Hunter comment]

Jonathon Gilliland posted
Different view of the GNO bridge

Steve Robinson posted several photos with the comment:
Crescent City Connection- New Orleans, Louisiana, United
The Crescent City Connection (CCC), formerly the Greater New Orleans Bridge (GNO), refers to twin cantilever bridges that carry U.S. Highway 90 Business (US 90 Bus.) over the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. They are tied as the fifth-longest cantilever bridges in the world. Each span carries four general-use automobile lanes; additionally the westbound span has two reversible HOV lanes across the river.
What later became known as the Crescent City Connection was the second bridge to span the Mississippi south of Baton Rouge, the first being the Huey P. Long Bridge, a few miles upriver from the city, and it is the first bridge across the river in New Orleans itself.
The Mississippi River Bridge Authority, known since 1989 as the Crescent City Connection Division (CCCD), began construction of the first span in November 1954, which opened in April 1958 as the Greater New Orleans Bridge. At its opening, the bridge was the longest cantilever bridge in the world although in terms of main span length, it was third, after the Forth Bridge and the Quebec Bridge. It carried two lanes of traffic in each direction and spurred growth in the suburban area known as the West Bank (named for its location on the western bank of the river although it is geographically southeast of New Orleans). Construction of the second span began in March 1981. Despite promises that it would be ready for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, it did not open to traffic until September 1988. The second span was originally designated as the Greater New Orleans Bridge No. 2. Both bridges were designed by Modjeski & Masters, Inc.. As soon as the new span was opened, the old span was temporarily closed in phases to replace the asphalt-on-steel deck with concrete. All the exits and entrances to the bridge were replaced as well.
Cecil Douglas Awesome pictures. Notice the iron workers not tied off. Back in the day.
Will T Henson Ironworkers didn’t have to tie off up until about 1993-94 somewhere in there.











Derby Gisclair posted
Construction first began in November 1954 on the Greater New Orleans Bridge which when it opened in April 1958 was the longest cantilever bridge in the world. It was the first bridge in the city of New Orleans to cross the Mississippi River. A second bridge was built in between 1981 and 1989 and together the two bridges are known as The Crescent City Connection. Tolls were collected on the bridge from 1958 through 1964 and then again from 1989 through 2013.
Joe Owens: When they met in the middle of the new bridge they were about 3 inches off. So they took dry ice and put it on one side of the steel to get it to warp over, then they bolted it.

RiverWorks Discovery posted
The sun ☀️ is shining on the Crescent City twin bridges that connect the City of New Orleans to the West Bank over the Mighty Mississippi.
This picture sort of symbolizes a sense of hope, that bridges going in the opposite direction, can still work together to bring the same positive result, something we desperately need right now.

RiverWorks Discovery posted
The Crescent City Connection Bridges, CCC, seen at here at night connects Greater New Orleans to what is commonly known as the West Bank. The right descending bank of the Mighty Mississippi River!  The twin cantilever bridges are the fifth-longest cantilever bridges in the world.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

NASA's Launch Pad 39a


This video of a test of the "water deluge system" of the Apollo/Shuttle/Space X launch pad motivated me to find more information on Launch Pad 39a. In the foreground, we see the top of the water tower. Near the center of the background, we see the Vertical Assembly Building. My wife and I toured the inside of that building during the Apollo era. I read that it was closed to the public when the shuttle started using it because of the danger of the solid rocket booster segments stored in the building.
Screenshot @ -0:31   (source)
In this view during the shuttle area, you can clearly see the water tower. I knew it had to be tall in order to get enough pressure to shoot the water up as high as we see it in the above video.
The video below taught me that the machine to move the rockets to the launch pad was also the launch pad --- the Mobile Launch Pad (MLP). Given the expense of that machine, it is obvious why NASA would try to project it from the rocket's flame with a lot of water. The moving machine is basically the base of a Marion mining shovel. Even the concrete flame trench needs protection from the extreme heat. The May 31, 2008, launch of Discovery left unprecedented damage to the trench.       6:28 is a clip from Camera E-8 during a shuttle launch at 400 fps. 11:57 shows "rain birds" that spray water on top of the MLP.   At 15:37 we can see many smaller streams of water flowing into the flame trench. The narration says the purpose of the water is to deaden the noise as well as to keep things cool. The trench is lined with bricks. I assume it is fire brick like those used in blast furnaces and cement rotary kilns.
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This view shows the tower was moved along with the rocket. We can see some of the eight crawler tracks used to move it. I remember that Dirty Jobs did a segment that included lubricating those tracks. And then Mike Rowe drove the thing. It does 1 mph when loaded and 2 mph with no load.
Space, Photo 6

Space, Photo 10
Space, Photo 21
Space shuttles Atlantis (STS-125) and Endeavour (STS-400) on launch pads 39A and 39B before the Hubble servicing mission in 2008. Endeavour stands by in case of the unlikely event that a rescue mission is necessary during Atlantis' STS-125 mission to repair NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Here is a view with the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) in place. This structure was added to the pad for the Shuttle mission to protect the shuttle assembly from weather and to provide better access for loading payloads.
Space, Photo 23
Storm clouds roll in over Pad 39A on July 10, 2009 as space shuttle Endeavour stands awaiting the launch of STS-127. [The History of Shuttle Launch Delays]
While searching for a video of the flames coming out of the trench, I came across an edited video of a water test. The above timestamps concerning water outlets on the pad came from the following video. The overview at 30:52 confirms what I remember --- what comes out of the flame trenches is steam, not flame.
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Friday, December 28, 2018

CRL/LSBC/Rock Island Port Yard

(Satellite    As we have come to expect, most of the tracks have been removed.)

This comment taught me to look for a Port Yard.
Kevin Piper posted
Picking up the pieces of the old Rock Island in the Chicago area, I worked for the Chicago Rail Link from 1987 to 1995. At first CRL was like a dream job. Nothing at all like typical railroading, just endless fun every day. They had some of the worst power I have ever run though, a hodge-podge collection of junk...but it was a challenge too! All good things must come to an end. An influx of stupid former Class I managers eventually made CRL intolerable for me, and I moved on. Here is a typical CRL job, arriving at the ex-RI Port Yard in the Calumet area on 7-2-93. KEVIN PIPER PHOTO

A B&OCT map called it the K&E yard. LSBC was the name of some Rock Island freight assets until the Chicago Rail Link name was adopted. The name was changed to CRL because LSBC abandoned its RI assets in the LaSalle, IL area.
CSX broke the link
The grain elevators in the background of Kevin's photo still stand. I think the ship is not in use. It is just parked there.
3D Satellite
More comments on Kevin's post:
Dennis DeBruler: What are the streets for an intersection that is close to Port Yard?
Dennis DeBruler: I think I found were it was. I see there are no named streets close to the yard.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
Kevin PiperDennis DeBruler 130th & Calumet Expressway & S. Doty. Area is very different than I remember. South Shore transfer is gone. It ran under 130th next to the Calumet River on the sharp curved track.

There is still curved track under 130th near the river.
Either Maryland Pig Iron of Illinois has given up on rail service, or they run their patched Conrail switcher through a lot of dirt. I caught a photo of the switcher up by their building in May 2016. So if it is abandoned, it is rather recent.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Pennsy (Panhandle) + B&OCT Overpasses for 79th Street

(Street View of West Side, Street View of East Side, Satellite)

Railroad overpasses are so ubiquitous that they tend to get ignored. This crossing is not one of the longest "urban tunnels" in Chicago by any means, but it is interesting because you can still discern their original signs.

Andrew Urbanski posted four photos with the comment: "Interesting find on 79th street, just east of CSX’s Forest Hill Yard. The bridge is still marked Baltimore and Ohio / PENNSYLVANIA RR."




Normally, it would be two separate bridges that happen to be very close to each other. The following street view shows that it is two separate bridges. The 2-track span that still covered with yellow paint was the Pennsy and the 4-track span is CSX/B&OCT. Notice the webbing on the girders is different. It may be that the railroads hired the same contractor to build both. That would explain why details like the embankment linings look the same.

Street View
(I'm really impressed by the exposure the street-view car got. I've tried taking photos of underpasses, and they can be rather dark.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

1908 Amtrak+CSX/NYNH&H, Westchester Ave and Trail Bridges over Bronx River in NYC

Westchester Ave: (Satellite)
Amtrak & Trail: (Bridge Hunter; BridgeSync; no Historic Bridges; 3D Satellite)

NYNH&H = New York, New Haven & Hartford
The railroad's name for this bridge was "bridge number 3.40".
The common name is "Bronx River Bascules."

Gregory Grice posted
Amtrak Northeast Regional 147 heads east over NYNH&H RR Bridge #3.40 also known as the "Bronx River Bascules" on Amtrak's Hell Gate Line. The bridge was built by the Pennsylvania Steel Company for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1908 and originally carried 6 tracks over the Bronx River. Today the Bridge carries 3 tracks, 2 Amtrak and 1 CSX and is permanently locked shut after the huge decline in boat traffic in the area. Due to the location of the Bridge, this is the only full view of the span. This was made possible by work being done on a piece of land that was reclaimed by the City of New York in a $40 million Bronx River Greenway expansion that will connect Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park. Once this project is complete, the bridge will be forever be blocked by a new pedestrian bridge.
eBook, p220

When new, the bridge averaged five openings in the winter months and twelve in the summer months. [eBook]
Copyright: Bronx Historical Society from BridgeSync

When the spans used to open, I wonder how the catenary wires on the span were joined with the stationary wires on each side so that the span wires could move when the bridge opened. The only railroad electrified in the Chicago was the passenger tracks of the Illinois Central. Since the IC tracks were originally built in the lake (Michigan Avenue was the original lake shore), the IC didn't have to build any movable bridges. (Update: please read RikRak's comment below.)

Trail View, Jul 2023

River Rail Photo posted
You Can See The Red Coming. Amtrak Train 172 is seen crossing the Bronx River Bascules in Starlight Park in the Bronx, New York during the snowfall on January 19, 2024 with AMTK 642 (Salutes Our Veterans).  The park was originally called Starlight Park in 1920 when it opened on the site of the former estate of William Waldorf Astor as an amusement park with space for events. After the park closed prior to World War II, the area fell into disrepair. After it was condemned, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation would ultimately renovate the whole area for the use of the public, and has continued to expand its footprint. The Amtrak Veterans unit was dedicated to those who served in the Armed Forces in 2015, more info through the links below.
YouTube video in 4K:
Full resolution pics and prints:
More on Amtrak 642's dedication: 
More on Amtrak 642:
[Please click the posted link to access the reference links.]
Dennis DeBruler shared
You can see the snow being kicked up behind the railroad bridge.

The railroad bridges are Scherzer rolling lift bridges.
Street View, Jul 2018

Westchester Ave. is actually two bridges. It is a rapid transit truss bridge over a vehicle girder bridge.
Trail View, Jul 2023

I can't tell if the girders are steel or concrete. I'm guessing concrete.
Trail View, Jul 2023

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Southern Pacific's "Termite Train" on the Lufkin Subdivision

The History Center, last page, an excerpt from a
 Beaumont-Terminals map
A Texas branch is way out of my territory. But the comments provide enough insight into railroad operations that I wanted to record them.

George Rivera Sr. posted a question about the Termite Train to an international Facebook group. The term is unique enough that some people knew exactly what he was talking about.

John Kovatch The termite train ran on the Lufkin Sub on the SP picking up loaded wood chip hopper cars and carrying them to the paper mill in Pasadena.

Dennis Lee Whittredge Sr. A real drag of a train! Put you in the siding and let all the hot shots by you until you hogged out! Most of the time if they called me for it off my regular HTC division I would turn it down unless I was unlucky enough for RFE McNamara got me on the phone then I would reluctantly accept the call! LMAO!

Chris Madera They put you in all the holes.

Buddy Simons It was a Wood Chip train that ran on "The Rabbit"

The Lufkin Sub went from Lufkin to Houston. [RailWire] This gave me enough info to look for the sub on a map. Reading Marshal's thread on RailWire, this subdivision goes through a serious lumbering industry area. Below is one of the photos he posted. Note the cars loaded with logs on the siding. "Moscow: Second longest siding on the layout. Siding is used for storage and to build LUHOM or the Termite Train as crews called it. This where the SP interchanged with MCSA. Primary traffic interchanged is plywood and woodchips."

Monday, December 24, 2018

MoW: Herzog Ballast Train

I've already written notes about Georgetown's dump train. These Herzog cars are designed to dump the ballast on the track at a train speed up to 20mph.

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(new window)  the link starts at 0:45.  The first several cars have already dumped their load, so you have to go to 1:30 to see the cars that are currently dumping ballast. Note how the car stopped the flow of ballast while it was going over a road crossing.

A mix of the old and new.
Screenshot, link skips the first 1.5 minutes
(source: "While taking pics at the former C&IM Roundhouse in Taylorville this NS Herzog train drifted by.")

Herzog also makes an "automated conveyor train" comparable to Georgetown's dump train.
Herzog after doing some mouse-clicking that I don't know if I can recreate.
[There were other views of this washout that they were filling.]

Sunday, December 23, 2018

2006 Penobscot Narrows Bridge over Penobscot River near Hannaford, ME

2006: (Bridge HunterBridgemeisterGeekyGirlEngineerSatellite, 1440 photos)

I had duplicate posts for the 1939 and 2006 US-1 highway bridges. So this one is now the 2006 bridge. The 1939 suspension bridge is here.

By Bruce C. Cooper (uploader) - Uploader's work and collection, CC BY-SA 4.0Link

Highway Engineering Discoveries posted
Penobscot Narrows Bridge

In 2003, when MaineDOT was partway through a major rehabilitation of the main suspension cables of the 71-year-old bridge, engineers unexpectedly discovered the severe corrosion of the cables which had been hidden by protective sheathing. Engineers agreed the cables were too corroded to save and the bridge would need to be replaced as soon as possible. For safety, the Waldo-Hancock Bridge load was reduced overnight from 100,000 to 24,000 pounds.
Over the next 16 weeks, 16 new strengthening cables were designed, fabricated, and installed, a feat never before accomplished on a standing suspension bridge. Half the bridge’s weight was transferred to these new cables. This engineering and construction innovation assured the safety of the Waldo-Hancock Bridge while its replacement was built.
The Bridge Hunter post for the old bridge had:
Link to article regarding new bridge construction
Submitted by Craig Philpott
But that link is now broke. I spent some time looking and found a new link for the Mar 2007, issue,, but they want serious money to read anything. And it looks like it focuses on a measuring technique.

Fortunately, the AspireBridge article is probably more interesting anyhow.

The replacement was designed by FIGG. I recognize FIGG as the designers of 
the FIU truss that collapsed a few days after it was moved into position because of a design error! (They did not use enough rebar in a joint between a truss member and the deck to withstand the lateral forces in that joint.) I'm glad I'll never have to drive over this bridge. Especially since they designed a "unique" cable-stay system. However, since MDOT, FIGG and the two joint contractors "united to create a mission statement for the project" and since they formed a Public Advisory Committee, maybe it is a good design. "Designers also included an innovative nitrogen gas protection and monitoring system... A gauge within the system will record any fluctuations in pressure, allowing MDOT to monitor the system’s status and take necessary corrective action." [AspireBridge]
AspireBridge, p28
These construction photos also give us additional views of the Waldo-Hancock Bridge.
AspireBridge, p29

AspireBridge, p30
[The fact that they could build that many deck segments without having to add cable stays is a testament to the strength of the box girder design for the deck.]

The patented cable-stayed "system carries the stay cable through a stainless-steel sleeve, creating a continuous cable and eliminating the need for anchorages in the pylon....The concept of cradle
saddles is not new, notes Rohleder [senior vice president and project director for FIGG], but in the past, they have created a “bundling” effect caused by the top strands squeezing the lower strands as cables got larger, reducing their ability to withstand impact. In the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge, each strand has its own pipe, eliminating this concern. Another impressive benefit of the system is that at any time, it will be simple to inspect, and, if necessary, pull out and replace an individual strand. This ability is expected to extend the bridge’s life, which is predicted to be at least 100 years, says Rohleder." [AspireBridge, p30]

So MDOT joins the Midwest DOTs in letting a big bridge rot until it had to be replaced. To be fair, unlike the Midwest truss bridges, MDOT could not easily see the rot until they dug into the cables during rehabilitation. Does that mean that no one has yet invented a way to inspect the inside of suspension cables for corrosion? Ultrasound? X-ray? Changes in diameter? Changes in electrical conductivity? ??? If not, then we now have a bunch of cable-stay bridges in America that are going to be big questions marks in a few decades. Especially if it proves that you do need a monitored pressurized nitrogen environment to avoid corrosion.

(new window)   You can tell this is a modern video because it has bad "music," and it uses the current fad of having just a bunch of closeups. It finally has an overview at 4:24 so that I could see what kind of cranes were being used. When I read photography books, they would talk about starting your presentation with "establishing context" photos and then take shots of your subject. But I would normally dive right into photos and/or videos of my subject. Especially if they are doing something interesting. But I would remember before I left an area to walk away and get some context shots. Fortunately, I don't have to use the photos in the order that I took them, and I'll use some of my last shots at the beginning of a blog post. In the case of video, I take advantage of the boring scenes such as lowering something to the barge to zoom out and pan around and then zoom back in for the end of the movement. I want to record things like the angle of the boom. Nonetheless, this video is interesting.

This photo has been moved to "1939-2013 US-1 Waldo-Hancock Bridge."

This photo has been moved to "1939-2013 US-1 Waldo-Hancock Bridge."

John Weber posted
Traveling in Maine I was fortunate to take this photo of these two bridges. Now the old bridge is gone.  Taken at the Penobscot River crossing. Called the Historic Waldo-Hancock Bridge.