Thursday, December 5, 2019

106th Street Bridge over Calumet River

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; ChicagoLoopBridges; HAER3D Satellite)

Photo from HAER ILL,16-CHIG,111--2 from il0830
2. AERIAL VIEW, LOOKING SSW. - 106th Street Bridge, Spanning Calumet River at East 106th Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL

Photo from HAER ILL,16-CHIG,111--4 from il0830
4. AERIAL VIEW, LOOKING ENE. - 106th Street Bridge, Spanning Calumet River at East 106th Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL
I couldn't find a date on the HAER photos. They were obviously taken at different times because Photo 4 has storage piles in the southwest quadrant whereas Photo 2 has a parking lot there.

Zaky Joseph posted
OPEN SAYS-ME! AND LET THE THOROUGHBRED THROUGH! NS local parallels the Calumet River with a gp30ECO #4712 passing at the same time the drawbridge was up! Chicago, Illinois 2/19/19. 
Maraty Gatton commented on Zaky's post
Just south of 106th?

These units typically grab a cut of gondolas from the scrap yard near 116th and Burley...

Caught one waiting for the signal just north of 100th street the other night, but was too dark to get a decent shot...

And as a note, the 106th street bridge will be up for a couple more months....
Street View

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

CB&Q Freight Houses and Team Tracks with Gantry Cranes

The CB&Q had "Central Warehouses" south of Union Station. These notes examine the evolution of CB&Q's support freight houses.

In 1929, the freight houses went all the way between Union Avenue and Canal Street south of the east end of their Western Avenue Yard. And I note that rail service still went south of 16th Street into the Schoenhofen Brewery.
1929 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

By 1938, the freight house on the right was removed to move the Jefferson Connection further south to expand the CB&Q Commuter Coach Yard.
1938 Aerial Photo
By 1941, a gantry crane was added to transload heavy shipments between trucks and freight cars.
79., 1941, cropped
CB&Q tracks (left) - CB&Q freight houses -16th and Union sts.) (far left)
By 1948, a gantry crane was also added to the west side of the Western Avenue Yard.
Gary Hosek commented on his post
Lou Gerard All the suburban Pacifics!

Gary Hosek posted
Coal piles - Western Avenue yards - Chicago - May 1948 - Russell Lee photograph.
Dennis DeBruler This photo confirms that CB&Q had a gantry crane west of the coaling tower. The May 1948 date indicates the crane existed after WWII.
This gantry crane also appears to have been built after the 1938. The long east/west building near the center of the top half of this aerial of the west side of Western Avenue Yard has been removed by 1948.
1938 Aerial Photo
Also by 1948, CB&Q had replaced some rail serviced industries with a newer freight house southwest of the western end of the Western Avenue Yard.
Gary Hosek posted
Freight cars - Western Avenue rail yards - Chicago - 1948 - Russell Lee photograph.
Dennis DeBruler It shows the top of the round CB&Q coaling tower near the left of the background.
Rick Aylsworth Less-than-carload freight terminal. The boxcars are spotted with their doors aligned so planks can be placed across between cars, allowing all cars to be reached from the dock.
Raymond Barr Took a strong back to push freight from track 4 to the dock ..

Dennis DeBruler commented on Ean's comment on Gary's post
There used to be some railroad served industries there.
Looking at USGS Englewood quadrangles, the 1953 map still has the 1938 bildings, but the 1963 map shows the new freight house buildings that Lee's photo shows existed by 1948.
The 1953 topo map still shows the old rail-served industries, but...
1953 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
...the 1963 topo shows the industries, and roundhouse, are gone. Not only does it show the freight house in Gary's photo, it shows the roundhouse was replaced by a freight house.
1963 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

In fact, the freight house that replaced the roundhouse is still standing!
But the weeds indicate it has not been used recently. I wonder if the roundhouse, ash pit, etc. contaminated this land so that now it can't be used without a lot of cleanup expense after they tear down the freight house. That would explain why the freight house still stands as a monument to when trains, not trucks, hauled non-bulk freight.
Street View
BSNF still claims that they have an intermodal yard here. But it is obvious that it is now just a parking lot.
Street View
More details concerning the freight house in Gary's photo above.
David Daruszka commented on Ean's comment on Gary's post
From the Sanborn maps.
They have torn down the buildings, but they haven't bothered to remove the concrete floors and paving.
I happened to take a photo of this vacant lot when I heard a commuter train on the BNSF mainline. Is this land also contaminated?
20180812 3488
Looking North from 19th Street west of Western Avenue.
The land used by the freight houses on the east side is now an expressway and residential units.
3D Satellite

The 1963 topo shows the buildings have been removed between 19th and Cullerton Streets. I took this photo of the building on the south side of 19th Street because of the two water towers. That building has had the windows remodeled, but I don't think it was built since 1963.

And we can still see railroad tracks for an industrial spur in the lower-left part of that block.
3D Satellite
I can believe that the building on the east side of that block was built in the 1960s.
3D Satellite

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Peter Schoenhofen Brewery in 18th and Canalport in Chicago

(HAER; see below for satellite image)

This brewery had a water tower shaped like a beer bottle, which shows up in several railroad photos. Their flagship brand was Edelweiss.

David Daruszka posted
Bob Lalich That is a beer bottle from the Schoenhofen brewery.

David commented on his photo
That bottle water tower shows up in a lot of pictures.

Gary Hosek posted
Westbound passenger train - Halsted Street Station - Chicago - May 1948 - Russell Lee photograph.
Eric Reinert The beer Bottle water tower of the Schoenhofen brewery is visible as well.

Daniel Herkes commented on Eric's comment on Gary's post

Daniel Herkes commented on Eric's comment on Gary's post

HAER-data from il0068
I put a red rectangle around the brewery buildings that are still standing. The yellow rectangle indicates a building that is still standing, but it was not part of the brewery.
The admin building is on the left and the powerhouse on the right. The powerhouse has the 1600' well in its basement, and it represents the Second School of Chicago Architecture.
Street View
It appears the brewery used to be rail served by the CB&Q.
1929 Englewood quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Monday, December 2, 2019

1904 Long Bridge over Potomoc River at Washington, DC

(Bridge HunterHistoric BridgesSatellite)

The B&O first used a bridge at this crossing. But a Pennsy subsididary, Baltimore & Potomac, won control of it in the 1870s. CSX now owns it and Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (commuter trains) also use it. [AmtrakDCNRHS]

DDOT via ggwash
dkeg via Amtrak

DDOT via Executive Summary via DIES via LongBridgeProject
This bridge was rehabilitated in 1942-43 by replacing the truss spans with girder spans except for the swing truss.
National Photo Company collection, Library of Congress via Bridge Hunter
Passenger train crossing Potomac [Long Bridge] July 2, 1925
When I-395 was built upstream, it blocked the swing span from opening. So it was last used March 3, 1969. I noticed that the Charles R. Fenwick Bridge is now even closer. It is for Metrorail's Yellow Line.

The two tracks on this bridge are at capacity. Not only would CSX, Amtrak and VRE like to add more trains, NS and MARC would also like to run trains between DC and Virginia.
Image by DDOT
CSX rehabilitated this bridge in 2016. So the proposed solution is to build another two-track bridge just upstream of this one. And also build a trail (pedestrian and bike) bridge upstream of that one. The new RR bridge is expected to be a steel girder bridge and cost $1.3 to $1.6 billion and take five years to build. The cost for the trail bridge is expected to be significantly lower.
Image by DDOT
The trail bridge is mitigation. While trying to figure out what problems the trail bridge is mitigating, I think I figured out why this bridge would cost over a billion dollars. They have to expand the right-of-way on the DC side from two tracks to four tracks. This requires replacing all of the overpasses between the river and Maryland Avenue. But then the four tracks funnel down to three tracks between there and E St SW+2nd St SW where the passenger and freight lines separate. There does appear to be four tracks on the Virginia side. The red dots in the following diagram show the replacement overpasses that have to be built as part of this project.
Project Study Area
The trail bridge mitigates "direct property impacts to Long Bridge Park, GWMP, and East Potomac Park" [Executive Summary via DEIS]

The estimated cost has already risen to $1.9 billion. [WashingtonPost] Hopefully, that would be because the cost now includes the cost of the trail bridge.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

High Winds and Waves on Lake Michigan, Nov 27, 2019

We had sustained winds up to 60mph in the Chicago area and much of the Midwest. Soon after, I saw the following posts on Facebook. Because we have had a very wet Spring and Fall, Lake Michigan is at a near record lake level. So high waves on top of that high lake level are causing more problems with our infrastructure. For example, Lake Shore Drive gets flooded much more often than it use to.

This damage is a reminder of the "gales of November" that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Mackinac Island Ferry

Mackinac Straits Photography Gallery posted
Sara Raine It was a decommissioned boat used for advertising. The engines and everything have been stripped out.

Mackinac Island

WJML posted
Mackinac Island Road COLLAPSED.
A portion of M-185 on the northern tip of Mackinac Island crumbled after rain and high winds this week. (Photo: Jason St. Onge, Special to the Free Press) via Detroit Free Press
[According to some comments, the initial collapse happened in Oct. and then the Nov. storm caused more damage.
Mackinac Island is famous for not allowing cars on the island. But I see from the comments that this road was intended for horse carriages, bicycles, golf carts, emergency vehicles and (during the off season) road repair vehicles.]
Colleen Peterson James Bruns People have lost the width of a football field in the last year in Michigan. The high water has been unreal.
Phillip Callighan Was this the same road that VP Pence & his convoy of vehicles used for a recent visit?
Ron Fulger No, only interior island roads by airport.
Wayne Frazier They couldn't afford the DEQ expert 2 come out and give them the recommendations for what they needed to do to shore up a silt fence inorder to get the proper paperwork and permits on the needed environmental survey and wildlife impact study required to move forward with a engineering plan for a proposed seawall? I mean all they had to do was jump through a couple of more hoops after that... And set aside 500 acres of land for some <expletive> snail that may have shown its head around there once or twice... Come on guys this was easy to avoid.
Colleen Peterson It’s been all along Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Huron! People are having houses fall into the Lakes. The water is so high and the Lakes have had 10’ to 25’ waves this year.

Mackinac Bridge

Winds forced bridge authorities to require big vehicles — including campers, cars hauling boats, bikes and luggage, and tractor-trailers — to require an escort.
Motorists headed to and from the Upper Peninsula over the bridge in cars, pickups and vans are required to reduce speed to 20 miles per hour and be prepared to stop, said an alert from the Mackinac Bridge Authority.
[Detroit Free Press]
I can't figure out how escort vehicles are going to help. Unless they force the "convey" to drive even slower than 20mph. I accessed the above link on Nov 30, 2019 and got the following alert:  "Examples of vehicles which are especially vulnerable to high winds are pickup trucks with campers, motor homes, vehicles pulling trailers and enclosed semi-truck trailers. Motorists are instructed to reduce their speed to a maximum of 20 miles per hour, turn on their four way flashers, and utilize the outside lane. Motorists are asked to exercise appropriate caution."

Ludington, MI

Two of eleven photos of concrete covered with sand and water posted by Tom Sanders.
[I choose this photo because it shows the natural dunes that got removed because, in spite of warnings from the community that it would be destroyed, the city honchos decided to build a playground and parking lot by the lake. If you look at the damage done in Tom's other photos, as predicted by the community, the taxpayer's money was effectively thrown into the lake. Another demonstration that "community input" meetings are worthless because the input is ignored. According to the comments, the community was also vocal in the media as to the viability of this park.]

[From the comments, I believe this photo was taken here looking East.]

Scott Kelsey posted
David Skridulis Are the benches gone?
Scott Kelsey David Skridulis looks like it.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

1909 Shoshone Hydroelectric Facilities

I rode Amtrak's California Zephyr through Colorado on Thanksgiving, 2019. One of the things I saw was obviously the penstocks for a hydroelectric power plant.

20191128 0742-60+30c
From a satellite image, it is obvious that the two light brown penstocks on the left side of the photo above feed the turbines. I don't know what the dark brown penstock on the right is for. The two horizontal "brown lines" is I-70 plus US-6 plus US-24. The lower highway is the eastbound lanes and the upper highway is the westbound lanes. (A couple of "white spots" is glare off the observation lounge window.)

Photo from COLO,23-GLENS.V,1--4 from co0088

Street View from the upper (westbound) I-70+US-6+US-24 lanes

Street View from the lower (eastbound) I-70+US-6 lanes

17. Photocopy of photograph (original print at the Public Service Company of Colorado, Shoshone Hydro Plant Collection, Glenwood Springs, Colorado) Photographer unknown, Circa 1935, cropped

18. Photocopy of photograph (original print at the Public Service Company of Colorado, Shoshone Hydro Plant Collection, Glenwood Springs, Colorado) Photographer unknown, Circa 1935, cropped

19. Photocopy of photograph (original print at the Public Service Company of Colorado, Shoshone Hydro Plant Collection, Glenwood Springs, Colorado) Photographer unknown, Circa 1940, cropped

It is a run-of-river plant that generates 15mw using two units. [Xcel] The intake diversion dam was built just east of Shoshone Falls.
As I have seen in other places, the "falls" appears to be a rapids.


The above shot of the dam was cropped and exposure corrected. I thought it would be interesting to show what the raw version of the previous photo I took of the dam looked like. I took this one as soon as there was a break in the treeline, as did the person beside me.

Note that the gates are closed. It is no surprise that November would be a dry season for the Colorado River. I had noticed that the flow was almost gone in the river. When I noticed that, I said out loud "Where did the river go?" which was rather embarrassing. I took a photo of the very low flow in the river. The train was going rather slow through Glenwood Canyon, but a tree did manage to sneak into the foreground of this photo.

I took the photo below because of the bridge. But I now understand that we are seeing the upstream part of the 245' dam on the left. And the river is going under the bridge into 16'8" wide by 13' high diversion tunnel that was dug 12,450' through the mountain to the penstocks. The dam was originally built with bear trap gates, but they proved to be a maintenance problem so in 1930 they were replaced with four tainter gates. The dam also has flash boards that are believed to be part of the original construction. [historic-structures]

To carry its generated electricity across the state, Colorado Central Power erected a 153-mile transmission line from the Shoshone plant to Denver by way of Leadville, Georgetown and Idaho Springs. A second line ran to Glenwood Springs. About 37 miles of the Denver line were completed east of Leadville in 1907, and the entire line to Denver was finished by late 1908 or early 1909. After rising more than 1500 feet from the canyon floor, the line crossed some of Colorado's most rugged terrain, including Hagerman Pass (12,055 feet), Fremont Pass (11,346 feet) and Argentine Pass (13,532 feet). When it was completed, the Shoshone line was the highest transmission line in the world. Today the alignment remains essentially the same as the original, but the transmission towers have been replaced, and the entire network has been significantly altered. [historic-structures] It has become obvious that their source was HAER-data.
The original transmission line was 90,000 volts. That line has been upgraded to 115,000 volts, but most of the power generated is now consumed on the western slope. This HAER record was made in 1980 because the proposed I-70 construction would have "an adverse visual effect."  [HAER-data]

HAER-data, Map 1

As seen in the above satellite image of the rapids and this image of the dam, the river is not always dry between the dam and plant. That is, sometimes the flow in the river exceeds what is needed to fill the diversion tunnel. I checked Bing Maps for river flow. The image of the dam is unusable because it is in the shadow of the canyon wall. But an image of the rapids shows the flow was very low. In fact, it is hard to see where the river is. I include the image at full resolution because Bing Maps would not give me a link.
(The "creating link" comment never was replaced with a link.)
This video shows a heavy flow downstream of the dam.
(new window)

The Moffat Tunnel is one of several diversion tunnels that have been built to carry water from the Colorado River Basin to the towns on the east side of the Rockies. But this power plant has water rights to what it originally could handle, 1250cfs. And because of the age of those rights, it has priority. During droughts, the managers of the intakes to the continental divide tunnels have to reduce their flow so that the power plant gets its flow. Because the plant returns all of its water to the river, these water rights provide water for uses downstream such as drinking and irrigation of peach trees. [HCN] This flow is also helps sustain "an important part of the local economy: rafting, kayaking and fishing." Maintaining a high flow in the river also helps dilute the salt coming out of salt springs, which of course benefits the farmers who use the water for irrigation. In fact, some farmers would like to buy the plant just to get the water rights. 15mw is a drop in the bucket compared to most power plants, but 1250cfs is not just a drop. "But Xcel continues to invest millions in maintenance at the plant and the utility says they have no plans to sell Shoshone or its water rights." [KRCC] The flow also helps save four endangered fish species. [InkStain]