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 Bridge over Bronx River in NYC

(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.)

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

US-1 Bridges over Penobscot River in Maine

1931 suspension: (Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; HAER)
2006 cable stay: (Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

Street View

Ramil Sharifsoy, Nov 2011
"Built 1931; bypassed by new bridge 2006-07; Demolished 2012-2013; Removed from NRHP 12-18-2013" [Bridge Hunter] This is evidently another example where 80% Federal funding for a new bridge makes it cheaper for a state to build a replacement than maintain a nice looking bridge. I can understand how they let the cables rot so bad that it would no longer safely hold traffic. But since it was handling traffic, how can it be so bad that it can't be used by pedestrians? It seems like it would take a couple more decades of rotting before it would be too weak to hold itself up. (Pedestrian traffic has to be negligible compared to the weight of the cable and truss.)

Bay Crane posted

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Fast building of underpasses

I passed up the following time-lapse video as a posting when I first saw it. But when I saw the second video in the same timeline-reading session, I went back and found the first. Both videos show the quick installation of a new underpass. They both share the use of precast concrete and an already existing grade separation. In contrast, it took about five years to build the BNSF underpass for Belmont in Downers Grove, IL. It took a lot longer if you count the public meetings, funding issues, and land acquisition that had to be done before they could start construction.

Screenshot, 4.5 hours  (source)
Screenshot, 3 days
[The comments say the road was shutdown for a weekend. But it looks like they may have built a temporary 2-lane road on the other side. But traffic is coming towards us most of the time on that road.]

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Pennsy Bridges at Conestoga River Mouth


Mike Froio shared
The mouth of the Conestoga River at Safe Harbor is crossed by two massive bridges of the former Pennsylvania Railroad. The higher span at left is the Atglen & Susquehanna Branch, part of the freight only Low Grade line between Enola and Morrisville completed in 1906. The lower span is the Columbia & Port Deposit Branch which makes the remote run down the Susquehanna, connecting with the PB&W in Perryville, Maryland. Safe Harbor is the location of a massive hydroelectric dam that still generates power for the electrified Northeast Corridor.
Mike Froio A historical piece I wrote on the spans back in 2013.
Douglas Allen Yes... The NEC's Catenary 25-Hz power is generated there. Amtrak has installed Static Invertors along the NEC, to also provide the needed 25-Hz power. (Commercial Electric Power is supplied at 60-Hz power).

From Wash DC to NYC, the Catenary is 25-Hz
, nominal 11kV, but usually measures closer to 13kV. 

Above NYC to NH, CN, the catenary is feed with 60-Hz @ 11kV (nominal), then from NH, CN. to Boston, the catenary is energized with 60-Hz @ 25kV.

Sensing equipment on modern electric locomotives monitor the supplied catenary voltage, and re-configure the main transformer for the High or Lower Voltage, and the semiconductor's firing pulses are controlled in-phase with the catenary's frequency.

PRR Electric Locomotives operated on the 25-Hz, 11-kV power.
Woody Massara As a matter of interest, the yard office and car inspectors shed at West Yard were powered by this 25hz. system. You could just discern the slight flicker to the lights.Douglas Allen Mike Salvatore,
The Catenary Voltage at the Wilm Shops Yard would measure at 13.5 kV most times, but was rated as 11-kV nominal. The transmission voltage is always boosted slightly to off-set voltage drop that occurs from distance from the source, and
the load that is being drawn from the catenary system during the time you read the voltage.

When working in the Equipment Engineering Dept @ the Wilm Shops, I worked with the Electrical Engineer from Ogontz Co, located in Philadelphia, who was developing the Traction Motor Load Meters installed to the AEM-7 Locomotives. This modification was added to the AEM-7s just after they were undergoing their first 4-Yr Overhaul Program.

In addition to the 4- LED Bar Graph meters, designed to indicate the load currents of each individual Traction Motor, a 5th Bar Graph Meter was installed to display the Catenary Voltage. 

This was done so the engineman could visual check to see that he had catenary voltage, in the event that the locomotive was not operating. 
Douglas Allen Woody Massara,
I worked as the Foreman in the Relay Room at the Wilmington Shops (Electric Shop) for some years. The Electricians that performed the periodic inspection on the Cab Signal Test Loops at the West Yard, and several other locations, fell u
nder my job. I would also accompany them to the West Yard to see the conditions of the wooden trunking installation for these Cab Signal Test Loops.

Locomotives dragging an air hose, etc... would catch on the test loops and damage them. At on point, in the 1970's, I determined it was time to perform a new installation of these test loops.

I had MOW Carpenters cut and fit new creosote soaked 2" x 4" lumber to the ties, within the gauge, and my electricians installed new copper wire in these frames. A 1" x 4" lumber cap would be installed after the new wire was installed.

The Yard was owned by Conrail at this time, as it was shortly after Amtrak took over the management of the Wilm Shops. I remember that SEPTA was operating the old MP-54MU Car, as well as the early Silverliner Cars, from Philly, to Wilm, DE... and would stop at the West Yard, before returning North, back to Philly. At the West Yard, a Mechanical & Electrical Inspection test would be performed, that included a Cab Signal Departure Test.

I hired on under the PC in 1970... and retired from the Wilm Shops, under Amtrak, in 2010.
Mike Salvatore you are talking to someone who was a lineman then a Power director for 40 yrs. I know a whole lot about the system then you think. as for the bar meters, the so called experts never took into account that the meter was measuring the voltage at point of usage. just as I proved to the expects at Sieman's the acs64s wree tripping breakers at various point due to the un-natural chopped wave form being slammed back into the system causing the relay protection to chatter and activate when in regeneritive mode.Douglas Allen Mike Salvatore,
I remember the growing pain with the sensitized AC power, generated by the new AC-Propulsion locomotives, to send power back to the Catenary wire during regenerative braking & maintaining their DC-link voltage. 

We had a problem with the AEM-7AC... they were literally "cooking" their roof-mounted resistors (ex-Dyn Brk Grids), when parked at Washington DC Station. I believe this was due to the same problem?

A Mike Froio Presentation Announcement
[It has a little higher resolution version of the photo.]
Another view of the bridges:
Jack Stoner posted
On a humid and steamy June day in 1986 Conrail train MTPI - Metutchen, NJ - Pittsburgh,PA crosses the iconic PRR Low Grade trestle, (local parlance) at Safe Harbor, PA. The actual Conrail nomenclature for this line was the Enola Branch. Taken out of service in favor of the Reading RR route to northern NJ and NY and Phila. this well engineered line was downgraded, then abandoned in 1989 and finally the last iron was removed in 1990 - 91.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Aban/Conrail/PRR (Panhandle) Dolton Yard


Fortunately, the curves in the Little Calumet River made it pretty easy to correlate its location in the 1938 aerial with a satellite image. The red line above indicates where it was. It doesn't show up very well in this 1938 aerial, but it does show up well in 1962 and 1967 aerial photos because there are cars in the yard.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Ron Hull commented on a posting:
Dolton yard was on the Panhandle, located between 155th and 159th and Greenwood Ave. The yard was seven through and three stub tracks - and a RIP track too. There was also a yard clerk (Mary) and car knocker (old Steve) assigned there. The main purpose of the yard was to switch interchange brought from the IHB. A couple of road trains (CIC/CG8) would make pickups/setouts and a regular yard job (96B) from the big 59th St. yard would shuttle cars back and forth pretty much daily. The hot metal “bottle” trains passed Dolton yard daily. I used to hold the regular fireman’s job at Dolton Yard in 70’ and 71’. The job # was 120B. Today the site holds a Toyota dealership, part of a golf course and a lot of weeds. The old right of way is clearly visible on Google Maps. Because it was an outlying, small yard we rarely saw any officials. A terrific job for a very young railroader because of the late start (3:59pm) and the frequency of overtime pay. This is back when the hours of service law permitted a 16 hour shift.
Bob Lalich Dolton Yard described here was built after WWII, replacing a smaller yard near Dolton Jct. In addition to IHB, C&EI delivered there as well but the volume of that traffic was much lower.
Mike Breski Were there storage tracks between 147th and 142nd?

It is interesting to note the cut corners of buildings and the diagonal parking lots that still exist because the railroad ran through here on a diagonal.