Saturday, January 27, 2018

A derailment on a bridge

I normally don't do "just a picture" posts. But this one is worthy.

Joe Dockrill posted
from Richard Gauthier : must have been a fun one
You can't easily pull either boxcar away from the other because they are both stuck against a truss member. It does make me wonder how they "undid" this.

Lehigh Valley Connors Trestle

(Could not find satellite image of former location. It was dismantled in 1953. Schuylkill River is a drybed!)

Francis Otterbein posted three photos with the comment: "Schuylkill Haven, PA." Actually, the Lehigh Valley went to Pottsville, PA.

Francis posted again
This image captures the construction of the Lehigh Valley Railroad iron trestle at Connors Crossing, near Cressona, Pa., in 1890. Zoom in and note the men working on the iron pier in the foreground.
The trestle crossed the road from Pottsville to Schuylkill Haven, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Schuylkill Canal, the river, the flats and the Reading Railroad at Schuylkill Haven. The iron was unloaded from the Pennsylvania tracks by means of large derricks.





Dismantled 1953, note the arrows on the edges, this is a slideshow

Friday, January 26, 2018

Gasometers around Goose Island

In this aerial, we can see a couple of gasometers just east of Kingsbury Street north of North Street.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

A 1952 aerial photo ( has the foundation for the big gas holder shown in this 1954 photo. It  was built west of Kingsbury Street and north of North Street.

David H. Nelson commented on his posting with this 1954 photo

A 1962 aerial photo ( shows that the southern 1938 tower is hidden by the new one in the 1954 photo and that the northern one is gone. It also reinforces how massive the new one is compared to the old one because of the shadows in the 1962 photo.

VintageTribune also has a photo of the above gas holder.

There were two  more gasometers south of Division and west of the North Branch Canal. Judging by the rail spurs and the pile of coal as well as the big building with a conveyor, this is one of the places where they manufactured the gas. There was still a coal pile in 1952. The tanks and building existed in 1962, but the coal piles were gone.. It was all removed by 1963.


I think the gasometer in the background of this photo is the northern most in the aerial photo above. It looks like it was completely full in this photo.
Jim Shortz posted via Dennis DeBruler

WBEZ posted
Fun fact: Until the 1980s, enormous gas holders storing natural gas stood tall in Chicago - one was more than 350 feet high. Go back and see what Chicago looked like more than 40 years ago, before these landmarks were taken down.
Karen Operabuffa commented on a post
This photo shows two sets of gasometers - one on North Avenue, one on Division.
Darla Zailskas posted
Corner of Milwaukee & Chicago Avenues, picture came from a 1939 textbook titled Illinois, looks like a ghost in lower left corner, any info on the structures?
[I spent some time trying to find this tank before I learned that the caption is wrong. This is the corner of Milwaukee and Racine. [cushman] So we are looking north up Racine and this is the tall tank south of Division.]

CP/Milwaukee over Des Plaines River in Des Plaines

(no Bridge Hunter?, 3D Satellite)

Harvey Kahler commented on Sam Carlson's posting
I got this shot of Milwaukee Fs in orange and maroon crossing the Des Plaines River in Des Plaines in 1963,

IAIS/Rock Island over Rock River near Colona, IL

(Bridge Hunter, 3D Satellite, Street View)

One of 30 photos added by Mike Ironman

Marty Bernard posted
CRI&P four E-units with an intermodal train, at Colona, IL crossing the Rock River, in 1975, Karl Miller photo. The Rock Island bought UP E-units as UP ran fewer passenger trains.
Erik Rasmussen: Colona, IL crossing the Rock River.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

PRR and EJ&E Joint Yard (Schererville)

PRR is the Panhandle and NYC is the MC Joliet Cutoff. They cross a little further to the west at the Hartsdale Junction. The NYC track in the upper-right corner is the NS/NYC/Big4/Egyptian route.

Phil Vaclavik posted, rotated and cropped
The primary discussion of this photo is in the Beverly Junction notes
Bob Lalich An observation and question about the top [above] photo. PRR/PC regularly handled metallurgical coal trains destined for USS Gary Works, which were transfered to the EJ&E at Schererville. The locomotives and cabin car would run light to 59th St after dropping the cars at the yard in Schererville. I think the process would be reversed for the return of empties. The top photo does not show a cabin car, which would lead me to think that this was a power balancing move, maybe going to Colehour. Can anyone comment further?
In response to a question I made about Schereville Yard, Bob commented on David's posting
 I was referring to what is labeled "Joint Transfer Yard" in this PRR drawing. A few tracks are still in use.
I include this story post because it provides some insight as to how the yard was used.
David Dutro posted the comment:
A few of you have asked if I would share some additional memories of my friend Fred, so here goes. I will endeavor to relate these stories to you as accurately as I can remember and as they were told to me during my high school years from 1965 to 1969. Before I get into the storytelling portion of this tale, a little more about Fred Pahl.
Fred was about 60 years old when I met him in the summer of 1958, by all respects he was a big man, a little over six feet tall and shaped like an upside-down triangle, when he stood in a doorway, not much light got through. He had bright blue eyes, a booming bass voice, and almost constantly had a cigar in his mouth. I've included a picture of Fred during his early days on the J, he's the second one from the left. I have no idea when or where this picture was taken.
I've titled this one, If I were you, I wouldn’t turn in that time slip.
One of Fred’s favorite things to do was to talk about “the old days”, and the “way things used to be.” Although Fred enjoyed running the “new” diesels, and liked how clean they were as opposed to steam engines, but somehow his story telling always seemed to drift back in time when steam power dominated the EJ&E. Although Fred would never admit to it, I truly believe that’s when he was the happiest. During the course of our friendship I received many lectures about Walsheart, Baker and Stevenson valve gears, dry and superheated steam, the danger of letting the water level fall below the crown sheet, and the best and worst coal to use. (he didn’t have a lot of use for Illinois coal.) Fred’s face showed evidence of having fired and engineered steam locomotives; his face particularly around his eyes, looked like he had blackheads. Once, in a fit of naivety I asked him why he still had blackheads, he glared at me and said blackheads hell, those are cinders. “That’s what happens when you stick your head out the cab window of a steam engine you get cinders in your face, and they don’t come out.” Fred was also hard of hearing, in addition to being able to smell his cigar smoke out in the street, you always knew what was on television at the time. As an aside, he told me the FM Shark was the worst diesel he ever ran, you “had to stick half of your body out the cab window to see to switch” and I “was glad when the “son of a bitch” got returned. There you have it.
One summer evening, while we were sitting on his porch, a local was kicking cars around at close by Lasalle Steel. Fred began to talk about Hartsdale and how “damn” dark and dangerous it was out there at night. He often said how much he hated the place, working there at night was a lot like a blind man taking a walk in the dark. Switching operations had to be done with great care. For those of you who may not be familiar with the area, Hartsdale lies west of Griffith and east of Dyer. Until the early 1970’s it was a busy place. There was a fairly large sized interchange yard and sidings to east of the tower. The EJ&E had an eastbound and westbound wye that connected with the Pennsylvania Logansport line, and interchange tracks with the Michigan Central. Somewhere around an eighth of a mile or so east of Junction (Kennedy) Avenue there was a two-and a half or three story tall wooden platform. In the twenties and thirties, it was common practice for brakemen and switchmen to ride the tops of the cars, as signals were passed back and forth, the man stationed at the top of the platform would pass the signals to head end. If a signal was missed, it could mean a derailment, or someone getting crushed to death between cars. Fred said, there were three hard and fast rules, you had to have a light touch on the throttle, keep one hand on the brake valve and never take your eyes off the guy on the platform. You couldn’t afford make a rough coupling with guys on top of freight cars. Among other kinds of freight, the EJ&E received a considerable number of coal trains destined for US Steel from both railroads, the trains ranged anywhere from seventy-five to one-hundred-and-twenty cars long, and frequently had to be doubled and sometimes even tripled up before departing. The head end would be almost to Griffith while the rear end was all the way back at Hartsdale.
One snowy night they were getting ready to shove a cut of cars around the wye to the Pennsy, when they saw a Pennsylvania crewman running toward their engine. The crewman approached them, and asked for their help, one of their men had fallen between a cut of cars and was dying. They had to wait for the man’s family to be brought to the scene. As long as the train remained coupled together the man remained alive, when it was pulled apart, the man would die almost instantly from blood loss caused by internal bleeding. The Pennsy crew asked Fred and his crew to pull the cars apart once the family said their final farewell. They completed the task and went back to work, he said no one said much, everyone knew it could happen to them. Someone in Fred’s crew announced his intention to time slip for a days work for assisting the Pennsylvania. The rest of the crew, Fred included announced their intention to “beat the shit” out of the guy if he turned in a time slip for helping the Pennsy. I don’t know whether or not the guy ever turned in a time slip, but somehow, I doubt he did. Fred told me the railroad was a self-policing organization, one way or another they “took care of their own”

NYC/MC Hartsdale Yard


PRR is the Panhandle and NYC is the MC Joliet Cutoff. They cross a little further to the west at the Hartsdale Junction. The NYC track in the upper-left corner is the NS/NYC/Big4/Egyptian route. It was called the "Danville Secondary" by the railroad crews. [post comments] MC and EJ&E ran parallel to each other through here with MC northish of EJ&E. The yard on the left of this diagram is a joint PRR+EJ&E Yard. The EJ&E Griffith Yard has actually expanded.
(Update: Pennsy also had a "Hartsdale Yard" in this area.)

ejearchive has a detailed map of the Hartsdale-Griffith area. I found it in a 1965 USS Detail Rail Maps section under Maps link at the top.

This yard was used to help interchange cars between NYC's Elkahart-Kankakee trains (k a e l and e l k a) and the Hartsdale Local. The local would serve the Ford Plant at Chicago Heights and "Kellogs at Munster on the Hartsdale siding. The Hartsdale local would come up the Wye Hill, pick them up. and deliver them then set out the empties." "These cars were on time delivery." [various Phil Boldman comments on a post]

Not only is the Hartsdale Yard gone, the main track has been torn up in places. Why not tear up all of the track since...
...they have dumped ballast and ties at various places along the remnant track to make it unusable.
Because the remnant to the left is accessible from a connection with the NS/NYC(Egyptian) route. Note that they have blocked the MC track to the west of this connection. I see no industry along the remaining remnant, so is it a storage track?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

1887+1905,1954 BNSF/NP Bridge over Columbia River at Pasco, WA

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, 3D Satellite)

The 1887 wooden NP bridge built here was the first bridge across the Columbia River. To accommodate the S-Class locomotives, the previous bridge was replaced by steel in 1905. "A vertical lift draw span replaced the swing span in 1954 when completion of McNary Dam opened the river to barge traffic as far upstream as Richland." [Richard Doody via Bridge Hunter]
Street View
[Over the second truss from the left, you can see a crane in Lampson's test yard.]

HistoryLink via Facebook
Print of wood cut by E. L. Krause, Courtesy Washington State Historical Society (385.061)
[This link offers a significant history of the 1800s bridges at this site.]

Street View

HL Mencken posted
Northern Pacific Railway, Pasco, Washington, 1925, reinforcing Bridge 1, crossing of the Columbia River.

Steven J. Brown posted
Southern Pacific 4449 is on her way home to Portland after attending Washington Central's Steamfest in Yakima. She spent the night in Kennewick and has just crossed the Columbia River to use the wye to get pointed the right direction at Pasco, Washington - November 19, 1989.

Scott Lewis posted five photos.





I-43 Tower Drive Bridge over Fox River and Cement Cargo in Green Bay, WI

(Bridge Hunter (explains who Leo Frigo was), 3D Satellite)
The official name is the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge (60+ photos).
Its initial name was Tower Drive Bridge.

(For my future reference: swingbridge closed because a train is coming in the upper-right corner.)

Jon Vandyke posted
5-9-21 A windy cool day arrival of the Alpena going under the Tower Dr. Bridge into Green Bay, WI

This posting brought I-43 tied-steel arch bridge to my attention.
Jeff Rueckert posted
The last vessel in for the Season , Michigan Docked in Green Bay
[Judging from the power line towers, this tow is docked at the US Oil Fox River Terminal.]
"To comply with St. Lawrence Seaway standards, there is 120 feet of clearance under the bridge structure to the normal water level." [Bridge Hunter]

"Because of the bridge's height and slope, it is prone to being shut down during high wind warnings, heavy fog, blizzards, and icy conditions." [PayneAndDolan]

Jon Vandyke posted
5-16-21 Just wanted to share this picture of the Tug Bradshaw McKee Barge St. Mary's Conquest inbound into Green Bay last night going under the Tower Dr. Bridge. Enjoy!

Jon Vandyke posted
6-2-21 Tug G.L. Ostrander with Barge Integrity inbound into Green Bay, WI this Wednesday morning with Cement.

The cement loads must be headed to this distribution facility north of a cement factory.
Jon Vandyke posted
7-21-22 American Mariner unloading Limestone from Calcite, MI at the Fox River Dock Terminal in Green Bay this Thursday summer morning with the Tower Dr. Bridge to the right.
[The closest dock I could find to Tower Bridge that handled aggregate piles was the Western Lime Corporation. But the angle doesn't look correct. Google Maps doesn't know about "Fox River Dock."]

The approach spans to the steel-girder spans were concrete.
WebCam Snapshot
"Built 1981; closed Sept. 25, 2013, after the deck was found to be sagging; reopened January 5, 2014" [Bridge Hunter]

[Pier 22 sank two feet.]

[A dramatic demonstration of the flexibility of steel. But I'm surprised the decking didn't crack.]
There are three videos at the end if you want to listen instead of read. I found them before I finally found some reports on the problem and fix.
Industrial byproducts [e.g. fly ash because this area was old fill], highly corrosive black, powdery material in the soil, caused some underground steel supports to corrode and buckle under the weight of one bridge pier. A state investigation found that pilings under four other nearby piers had also corroded. Repairs to the bridge began in November 2013 and focused on hoisting up the sunken section of the bridge while neutralizing the corroded sup-ports. Crews installed deep, concrete shafts underground that, instead of the pilings, support the weight of the piers. Before this, a $1.6 million project built two steel support towers to prop up the bridge and prevent it from sinking further.
The bridge was closed for three and a half months for repairs, with a bill of $18-20 million. The Federal Highway Administration approved emergency funding for the repairs, which covered most of that cost. It was reopened in January 2014, but crews will perform additional preventive maintenance and other work in the spring and summer. The estimated impact of closing the Leo Frigo Bridge was $139,000 a day (approximately $14.5 million). 
"In winning the project, Payne & Dolan faced penalties of $50,000-a-day for a delayed reopening. The repair project solution involved erecting two temporary towers to prevent the bridge from sagging further and ensure worker safety while performing permanent repairs to the bridge. Payne & Dolan then placed new pilings at the bases of piers 21 to 25. Next the approximately 1,600 ton superstructure was moved back into place via hydraulic jacking.  The project was completed in time to allow the bridge to be opened to traffic two weeks ahead of schedule on January 5th, 2014; just in time to accommodate a sold-out crowd heading to Lambeau Field to watch the Green Bay Packers face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC wild-card playoff." [PayneAndDolan]


Within the report WisDOT explains their analysis and repairs. Determining old industrial soils used as fill, such as fly ash, corroded steel pilings causing pier 22 to buckle. Engineers determining five supports in all were surrounded by the soil requiring extensive repairs to them all.

"We put four concrete foundations down into rock - tied existing pier into those posts and solidified the foundations," said Buchholz.
Buchholz says the repairs provide corrosion protection for 75 years.  A near tragedy caused by corrosive fills that based on this document transportation engineers will now be more wary of.
"The soil showed fly ash fill,  but we never asked was it corrosive or not corrosive," said Buchholz. "What this shows is now we need to be asking those questions when you run into fly ash fill."
The report also tells how WisDOT installed corrosion monitoring equipment at eight sites on both sides of the Fox River that will be checked every two years.
Final cost of project $15 million.
NACE has links to the 3000 page final report. Fortunately, the report starts with a 3 page executive summary.
Final Report, Part I, page 2 of the Executive Summary

(new window)

(new window)

(new window) (Includes diesel pile driver action.)

Monday, January 22, 2018

SS Edward L. Ryerson, a Great Lakes Steamer

I came across links for this boat twice within hours of each other. As is my policy, when I see a topic twice in a short period of time, I consider that an omen to write about the topic. It did set several milestones in shipping history: "The Ryerson was the last American-flagged new ship built on the Great Lakes until the launch of the Stewart J. Cort in 1972. She was the last U.S. laker to be built as a steamer, the last to be built without a self-unloader, the last lake boat to be constructed at the Manitowoc, WI shipyards, and the last and only to be built with such aesthetically pleasing lines." [BoatNerd]

I found that BoatNerd page when I was researching the introduction of self-unloaders. About four hours later, I saw this posting. See Old Lakers for some other "bridge on the bow" boats that I have seen.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum posted six photos with the comment:
January 21, 1960: The EDWARD L. RYERSON was launched into the ice-filled river at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. She marked the end of a shipbuilding era as the last freighter built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The Ryerson was also the last U.S.-flagged laker built as a steamer and the last to be built as a straight-decker (without a self-unloading boom). Built for Inland Steel, she was constructed specifically to carry iron ore pellets.
The Ryerson is beloved by many for her unique streamlined design and distinctive steam whistles. She has been laid up periodically over the years due to downturns in the steel market, but she has amazingly managed to avoid the scrapper's torch. The Edward L. Ryerson has been in long-term layup in Superior, Wisconsin since 2009.

The bulk carrier EDWARD L. RYERSON, nicknamed "Fast Eddie," doing her sea trials on Lake Michigan in August 1960.

The hull of the bulk carrier EDWARD L. RYERSON ready to be launched at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company on January 21, 1960.

The EDWARD L. RYERSON splashing into the Manitowoc River at 12:00 pm on January 21, 1960. The local newspaper reported "“The hull of the ship rode majestically down the launching way as the ropes were cut. It hit the water with a resounding roar and the ice jammed river swelled into a mountainous wave, grinding ice cakes together with the sound of breaking glass.”

Cover of launching luncheon program for the EDWARD L. RYERSON.

Inside of launching program for the EDWARD L. RYERSON.

Launching schedule for EDWARD L. RYERSON at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company on January 21, 1960.

Notice the capacity of around 26,000 tons. If I'm remembering correctly, modern 1000-foot Lakers can carry 58,000 to 68,000 [interlake-steamship]. Maybe someone can convert the cargo hold into casino rooms.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum posted
On this date [Jan 21] in 1960, the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company launched SS EDWARD L. RYERSON!
Affectionately nicknamed "Fast Eddie," the eight million dollar (about $57.7 million in today's dollars) boat was not only the last steam-powered freighter built on the Great Lakes, but also was the last one built that was not a self-unloader. Built to transport iron ore, RYERSON served steelyards across the region until entering long-term layup in Superior, Wisconsin in 2009.
(P71-4-3, Wisconsin Maritime Museum Collections)
[image description: black and white historical image taken from the riverbank of the freighter splashing sideways into the river. There is snow on the ground. A smoking smokestack and cranes can be seen in the background. The WMM watermark is overlain across the middle of the image.]
Jacky Pierce-Breech shared
Alan Ross: If I remember correctly, that was also the last freighter like that which was launched in the river by the Manitowoc Shipyards. They had to dig out part of the opposite shoreline so the boat could make the bend in the river. [That is why Manitowoc moved their shipbuilding to Sturgeon Bay and they started specializing in building cranes here.]

Ben Stalvey posted
Blast from the past. From Manitowoc WI back in 1960. This slide might bring back memories for some of the locals. Checkout the Edward L Ryerson being constructed back in 1960. Look at the custom tip on the 4600. Looks to be a hammerhead tip even.

Ben Stalvey posted two photos with the comment: "Here are a few shots of the construction of Edward Ryerson in Manitowoc WI at Manitowoc Shipbuilding. Checkout the tip on that 3900."

Mark Goodrich commented on Ben's posting

Wisconsin Maritime Museum posted
It's been a few days since Ever Given got unstuck from the Suez Canal. Did you know the Manitowoc river also got blocked up by a ship once?
The SS Edward L. Ryerson was launched in July 1960, but was too large to turn the bend in the river! Crews had to dredge the river and cut away part of the bank to get the ship out to Lake Michigan. According to sources, it was a lot faster of an unsticking operation than Ever Given and thankfully didn't plug up one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world!
Tove Alecksen: The jackknife bridge was removed to make room for Big Blue when it gets shipped out. Call the Mayor and ask him if you don't believe me! [I assume that Big Blue are the Kronecranes that will go do a naval shipyard.]
Randy Wallander: The notch is still visible in the river Bank.

Paul Rabenhorst shared
James Torgeson: She was the last ship built there. [Manitowoc built a new shipyard in Sturgeon Bay where they had plenty of room and then they could dedicate this location to building cranes.]

Jeff Rueckert posted three photos with the comment: "Flash Back ! Edward L Ryerson in Manitowoc."

Deborah Wiegand commented on a post
This is the Edward L Ryerson( 730') being towed out by the tug Green Bay from the Manitowoc shipyard for her shake-down cruise. (Aug 1960) My dad Les Gamble was the captain on the Green Bay. Also inches on each side to clear each of three bridges. (Photo by Jeff Rueckert)

Chuck Bornemann Amazed she ever got out of Manty.

Skip Heckel posted the question: "Anybody know where the Ryerson is moored?"
Skip Heckel Ben Stalvey I was talking with a friend, Jim Derusha, whose Dad owned Marinette Marine back in the day, he said they had to cut some of the land back because the RYERSON was too long to make it around a bend.
Ben Stalvey Skip Heckel very true it is called the Ryerson bend.
Gen SterenbergGen and 2 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Great Lakes Ship Watchers. I found a cool website with great Ryerson info including 2 MP3 files with salutes at the end.
Ben Stalvey Been sitting in the same place for years

It was not only the last ship launched at Manitowoc, WI, at 730' it was the longest laker at that time. It was also fast, 19mph; thus its nickname of Fast Eddie. [DuluthHarborCam]
(new window) If you about to quit because of boredom, at least skip to 7:21 for a few seconds. And 8:05 is worth a look.

Jan 6: 2023:
David Schauer posted
It is a new year so why not stoke the old Ryerson rumor mill for the heck of it. On my way back from the Superior entry this morning I noticed on AIS that Helen H was in Howards Pocket (Fraser Shipyards). I checked as I drove back to Duluth and surprise, surprise, they were shifting the Edward L. Ryerson from the "back 40" (Frog Pond) to a more accessible position by the main yard. Wren Works was also assisting in ice removal and handling the bow with Wren I (aka Fraser II).  This year might be very special for boat fans...1/6/2023
[According to some comments, it might be used to haul steel planks. Freighters that have not been converted to self-unloading are better for hauling steel.]
Marcel Buchholz: Ryerson is steam powered, isn’t she?
James Torgeson: Marcel Buchholz Yes.

David Schauer commented on his post