Tuesday, April 30, 2019

CP/Milw Bridge over Rock River at Byron, IL

(1882 Bridge Hunter; 1897 Bridge Hunter; 1905+? Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Satellite, you can see that the piers for probably the 1897 bridge are still standing.)

Dave Durham posted
CM&St.P, Byron, Illinois, 1899
Laird Barber It was a double track line until the late 1970's when it was single tracked by the MILW Road, and is now owned by the Canadian Pacific.

Public Domain via 1897 Bridge Hunter
These twin spans are a puzzle. Since the southern one is pin connected, it is older than the northern one. But the concrete pier on the south is more modern than the cut stone part on the north. However, the northern one is upstream so it gets the brunt of the ice flows. Maybe scouring is what caused the southern part of the piers to require concrete repairs.
Steve Conro via 1905+? Bridge Hunter
Jeff Lewis posted
Canadian Pacific twin truss spans cross the Rock River just east of Byron, Illinois. The twin cooling towers of the Byron Generating Station loom to the south as steam billows into a cloudy August afternoon.
Aerial photography courtesy of Jennelle Smith. August 17, 2020

Jeff commented on his post

The only customer for this bridge is going to disappear.
safe_image for Exelon Generation to Retire Illinois’ Byron and Dresden Nuclear Plants in 2021
Despite being among the most efficient and reliable units in the nation’s nuclear fleet, Dresden and Byron face revenue shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of declining energy prices and market rules that allow fossil fuel plants to underbid clean resources in the PJM capacity auction, even though there is broad public support for sustaining and expanding clean energy resources to address the climate crisis. The plants’ economic challenges are further exacerbated by a recent FERC ruling that undermines longstanding state clean energy programs and gives an additional competitive advantage to polluting energy sources in the auction. As a result of these market rules, Exelon Generation’s LaSalle and Braidwood nuclear stations in Illinois, each of which house two nuclear units and together employ more than 1,500 skilled workers, are also at high risk for premature closure. 
Studies have shown that when nuclear plants close, plants that burn fossil fuels operate much more often, increasing harmful carbon and air pollution, especially in disadvantaged communities. In January 2019, Illinois committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the targets set in the Paris climate agreement. While the state is currently at roughly 85 percent progress towards the 2025 goal, if the four economically challenged nuclear plants (Dresden, Byron, Braidwood and LaSalle) prematurely retire, Illinois will drop to only 20 percent of the way toward the goal. Electric sector emissions in Illinois will increase by 70 percent. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Pere Marquette Ferry Dock in Port Huron, MI

(Satellite, 20 photos)

There are more photos and location information in PM and GTW Ferries.

Friends of the Pere Marquette Railroad Bridge, Inc. posted

This photo is older than 1931 because that is when the swing bridge was replaced with an Abt trunnion bridge.

While trying to figure out if photo's view is looking north or south, I noticed on Google Maps that there still exists a carferry apron. Taking a closer look at the photo, you can see two aprons in the left background.
Upper-left corner of the above photo at photo resolution

Global Earth
I figured that this yard would have been abandoned by the time of the oldest satellite image, 1999, on Google Earth. But to my surprise, the yard was not only still used, there was a ferry docked at the remaining apron. Looking at Historic Aerials, the 1951 image shows both aprons are intact.  The 1964 aerial shows the northern one is no longer used and the apron has been removed. By 1973, they have filled in the shoreline to today's configuration.

These aprons and their tracks is another opportunity to check the accuracy of the USGS topo maps. Below is an excerpt from a map labeled as 1940 at 24,000 scale. It shows the two indents, but not accurately. The northern indent has the profile of 1973, not 1951. Furthermore, there is a track heading to the southern apron, but not to the northern apron.
Peggy Lindquist, 2016, cropped

Craig Brenton posted four photos with the comment: "Port Huron US to Canada carferry."

seung won lee, 2017

Marcie T, 2017
Peter Michael Photography Studio, 2017

Street View
I'm preserving some current images because a street view indicates they are doing construction in the vicinity. If they do develop the land, I hope they preserve this history.
Street View

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bayonne Bridge over Kill Van Kull at Staten Island, NYC, NY

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; HAERDave Frieder Photos3D Satellite, 213+ photos)

(Update: RoadTraffic-Technology article)

Photo from HAER NJ,9-BAYO,1-11 from nj1025

BAYONNE BRIDGE, FROM OVER STATEN ISLAND LOOKING NORTH - Bayonne Bridge, Spanning Kill Van Kull between Bayonne & Staten Island, Bayonne, Hudson County, NJ

Nathan Holth on his Historic Bridges page complained about the lack of documentation for the new bridge. I share his frustration. Normally for a new bridge, you can find proposed alternatives, concept illustrations, environmental impact statements, and/or materials for public presentations. The only concept illustration I could find is this little one on their About page. Traffic had to use two lanes instead of four lanes during the six years of construction, but they were able to get rid of the lower roadway under the arch by 2017 to make room for New Panamax ships.
The deck on this bridge has been raised 64' to allow super-panmax ships to access container terminals on the other side. They are also having to dredge a deeper channel, 51'-57' depending on the stage of the tide. The 2000' wide Ambrose Channel starts twelve miles out in the ocean. It was built in 1931 with a clearance of 151'. In the mid 20th Century, the Port Authority predicted that the superstructure of ships in the future would top 190'. Pieces of the roadway over the water were removed by lowering them onto barges. The new channel was tested with a new container ship, CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, that is 1200'x158'x52.5' and can hold 14,414 containers. The previous maximum capacity was 9,400 containers. That ship stopped at other east coast ports before it docked at NYC. That would reduce its draft to below 51'. In fact, it was just 40.85'. This ship went under the Bayonne Bridge on Sept. 7, 2017. The wheelhouse on this ship was at the same height as the old roadway. "According to Port Authority statistics from a few years ago, seven million vehicles cross the Bayonne every year. About a hundred and three million vehicles use the George Washington." The bridge won't be finished until 2019. [NewYorker, pay count of 4. Some of the article talks about how dangerous the Kill Van Kull strait is to navigate because of tides coming in from both sides and a sharp turn in the shipping channel. The article also discusses Ammann, who was the designer of this and several other major bridges, and the harbor and sea pilots.]
safe_image for The Bayonne Bridge's New and Higher Road Deck

Port of  NY Authority via Historic Bridges, p29
The Kill Van Kull is one of the world's busiest shipping channels, connecting the ports of Newark and Upper New York bays with other ports around the world.
[The ship is headed east out to sea, and we see Manhattan Island in the left background.]

Port of  NY Authority via Historic Bridges, p13

Port of  NY Authority via Historic Bridges, p7
[I included this image because it helps put in perspective the immense scale of the bridge.]

Second Progress Report via Historic Bridges, p13
[Look at the list of the derrick boat.]

Second Progress Report via Historic Bridges, p16, rotated
[This shows the temporary piers or falsework and the temporary support above the second pier so that they can cantilever the remainder of the arch and avoid putting a pier in the navigation channel.]
Second Progress Report via Historic Bridges, p20
[I didn't realize that the navigation channel was so far off-center until I saw this image.]
Dedication via Historic Bridges, p7
[Given the stone encasement of the abutments, this is obviously a concept illustration. Like the towers of his George Washington Bridge, Ammann obviously intended for the steel work to be covered by stonework. But the depression happened before the bridges were completed, so the stone work, which was purely decorative, was skipped. Some people have argued that the raw strength of the towers looks better without a stone facade.]

LC-DIG-highsm- 45369
Credit line: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Carol M. Highsmith's photographs are in the public domain.

A street view catches the original steel girder approach spans and the new precast segmented partial approach spans. Before they can finish the new piers and approach spans, they need to remove the old roadway. After the second part of the new piers are built, they can remove the yellow pipes.
Street View

3D Satellite
[I saved an image because this catches the phase where the new deck is full width, but the approaches can't be finished because the old deck still exists.]
Since it is supposed to be finished this year (2019), I really don't need a concept illustration because the web cam shows what it is supposed to look like. Evidently, it is still not done because their web page indicates the pedestrian walkway is closed, and it is still displaying Nov 4, 2013, truck restrictions due to the construction.
Web Cam, accessed Apr 28, 2019

(new window)  Among other things, this video animates how a travelling gantry installs the precast segments for the new approach spans.

(new window)

This container terminal doesn't care about the height of the Bayonne Bridge. But these are the terminals I found that do care: New York Container Terminal, APM Terminals (can handle ships in both Newark Bay and Elizabeth Channel), and Port Elizabeth Terminal Corporation.

While looking for container terminals, I found these two RoRos (Roll-On, Roll-Off) in dock. Since I've never seen one with their ramp out, I wanted to capture this image.
Toyota Logistics Services

[The lanes are widened from 10' to 12' and a median barrier plus two 5' shoulders are added. By keeping the construction within the current footprint, they reduced the environment planning phase from four years to eight months.]
And they did not displace residential homes that were within 20' of the work site. [RoadsBridges-2018]

With additional weight on the structure and increased wind loads, the team added more than 4,000 tons of steel plates to strengthen the arch....More than 100,000 rivets were replaced with high-strength bolts as part of the strengthening process.

The $1.6B project finished around Jun 30, 2017, which was 6 months ahead of schedule. It raised the clearance from 151' to 215'.

safe_image for Massive container ship - bigger than 4 football fields - sets record under Bayonne BridgeThe CMA CGM Brazil passes under the Bayonne Bridge in Bayonne on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020.Dustin Niles | For NJ Advance Media
"The 1,200-foot-long CMA CGM Brazil, the largest container ship [at 15,072 TEUs] ever to call on the bi-state port, or any other port on the U.S. East Coast, for that matter....That $5.3 billion investment includes a $1.7 billion raising of the Bayonne Bridge roadway [to 215'], a $2.1 billion deepening of harbor channels [to 50'], and a $600 million ship-to-rail container transport system."
[The article has a couple of more photos of the ship.]

And now they are up to 16,022 TEUs.
The largest container ship to ever visit the East Coast just arrived at the Port of New York and New Jersey: Meet the Marco Polo (source)
[The Chicago Tribune also had a variant of this news. It is not common for shipping news to make the business section of the CT.]

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Mississippi Lock and Dam #4 at Wings over Alma, WI

(John A. Weeks IIISatellite)

The dam consists of a concrete structure 1,357 feet long with six roller gates and 22 Tainter gates. The movable
dam has six roller gates (20 feet high by 60 feet long), 18 non-submersible Tainter gates (15 feet high by 35 feet
long), and four submersible Tainter gates (15 feet high by 35 feet long). Completing the dam system is an earthen
embankment approximately 5,500 feet long, located between the movable dam and high ground on the Minnesota
side of the river. The dam foundation consists of piles in sand and gravel.

The lock was put in operation in May 1935. At the time it was built, the dam's combination of roller and Tainter
gates was believed to have been the first of its type to be constructed. Cold weather created several problems
during construction of the complex. Approximately 120 timber pilings split and had to be pulled and replaced;
engineers speculated that sap freezing in the green pilings may have caused the splitting. Ten major injuries, 296
minor injuries, and three deaths were reported during the construction of the dam.

The pool created by Lock and Dam 4 is the longest in river miles (44.1 miles) with the largest water area of all the
Mississippi River pools in the St. Paul District. It encompasses Lake Pepin, which was formed in geologic time by
sediment deposited in the Mississippi River at the mouth of Wisconsin’s Chippewa River. The lake is 22 miles long
and up to 2.5 miles wide. It is the only natural lake in the Mississippi River’s main channel.

Faith Camp shared
Sam Schropp The picture above isn't a current [Spring, 2019] picture. The dams are wide open from Lock 2 to Mel Price at Alton.
I copied a satellite image to show the width of the historic channel cut by the melting ice-age glacier runoff.
I assume the four Tainter gates next to the roller gates are the submersible gates because I presume they are the first ones they would open and they would want to keep the normal flow in the middle of the river to reduce erosion. Note that it appears two of them are open in this image.

John Weeks III

Marilyn Schack Hulse posted
Alma, Wisconsin, Monday, April 13, 2020, with Lock & Dam 4 in the background.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Marilyn's post
Thanks for labeling the dam. I like that as well as the train. It looks like all of the gates are all the way up. So the river is currently running rather high. It is still well below the flood stages.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Tank Car Safety: UP and BNSF derailed ethanol trains in Texas

(3D Satellite, the stable that burned is across the tracks from the abandoned incinerator)

On June 13, 2020, UP torches a few more tank cars.
safe_image for Massive Explosion Seen After Train Derails Near Rock Springs

Nathan Cervantes posted two photos with the comment:
The Rock Springs WY derailment 2020. Yes some of the cars melted from the extreme heat. I was here on related business and I was able to survey the area. 
[If you scroll down, this article contains the whole video from which the above image was extracted at about 0:09.]
John Scott: That tank car in the top obviously ruptured in a BLEVE.
Christopher Siders: Thermal misalignment, and incorrectly tamped track was what caused it per the company. [A comment confirmed that "thermal misalignment" is UP's current euphemism for "sun kink."]
Kevin Kearns: CN calls them Track Buckles
Erich Rudolph
From just looking at the first photo it appears the car suffered a ductile failure caused by flame impingement on the vapor space of the tank car tank shell. I was the principal FRA HM inspector at the derailment at Criagsville, PA where there was a similiar failure to a couple of tank cars of crude oil. https://apnews.com/article/7d616bacc7b8290e5421c402e527a6b5



I've been writing about incidents that "stress" tank cars. But I think this derailment is significant enough to warrant its own post.

A UP southbound ethanol train derailed at 12:40am, 4/24/2019. Five of the 20 cars burned for hours. A stable next to the tracks caught fire and three out of the 10 horses were killed. [NBC's video] The ties and stable were still smoldering when it got light enough for a helicopter to make a video for news channels.
Mike Barkett shared a link to the group: IF YOU WORK(ED) ON THE RAILROAD (railfans welcome).
Kameron Joseph It was a 98 car train. Crew didn’t receive a flash flood [warning] and hit a washout.
FORT WORTH, Texas — At least 20 homes were evacuated after a train derailment near Yuma Drive and Riverside in south Fort Worth Wednesday morning.
Small fires are still smoldering at a nearby family farm whose horse stable also caught fire, killing three horses. [KHOU11]
They were worried about "chemicals" in the air. That is why the homes were evacuated.

Photo 12 from a 15 photo gallery in KHOU11
"Firefighters said they are working to contain the fire as Union Pacific will investigate the cause of the fire." [KHOU11] I think it is pretty obvious what caused the fire --- they smashed some tank cars full of ethanol. It would be interesting to know what generation of safety design the tank cars were and if they performed as expected.

(new window)  At 2:10, they zoom in on a little jet of flame. But according to the report below, this video is seven hours after the main fire.

The video in this report shows that the fire right after the wreck was big. UP was lucky that it derailed in a more industrial part of Fort Worth.
There was a lot of rain because this video said the cars in the lower level of the parking garage of Love Field (their airport) were in 3 feet of water. (I skipped the "talking faces" part.)

Screenshot, evauated area

ABC7 Screenshot
I captured the above because of the strong current past the wheelsets. Then when I stopped the video a few seconds later I got the following. Those are two rails down in the drainage ditch! Then I noticed all of the ties on the side of the embankment. Rails and ties are supposed to be on top of an embankment, not next to it. It appears UP was also lucky that the locomotives and crew got across this area before the embankment caved in.

Screenshot @ -30:58
Soon after you see that all of the smoke is coming from burning ties and an excavator is using its bucket to pour water from the drainage ditch onto the smoldering ties.

Screenshot @ -25:35
[Look at the hole on the right side of the top tank. Did it explode or was it ripped open on impact?]

Screenshot @ -24:20
[We go from an embankment to a cut and the tracks are in a river of water. When is BNSF and UP going to quit testing the soil strength of a saturated embankment?]
Screenshot @ -18:33
[A view that has the "big hole", the ties on the side, the rails in the ditch, and the jet of flame.]
The rest of the video is rather redundant unless you want to see a horse in the field at -11:10 and the smoldering stable. This was the stable.

Screenshot @ -32:40
[It looks like Fox caught ethanol pouring out of a puncture. There might be some drunk fish in the neighborhood. This video was taken before the above video because there are more trucks and wheelsets in the water. Actually, at -30:13, it looks like the above video. The news channels contract with the same helicopter for their footage? I moved the slider several times and the rest of the video looks the same.]
KENS5 video looks a little different, but it is very similar. It might have been a second cameraman in the same helicopter flight.

This is what the Chicago Tribune had about it on 4/25/2019 in their News Summary section. But KHOU11 reports this command vehicle caught fire when it came in contact with overhead wires. It had nothing to do with the train derailment fire.
A Fort Worth Fire Department emergency vehicle burns at the scene where a train of tanker cars carrying ethanol derailed and caught fire in a residential area of the city early Wednesday. Authorities said no one was injured in the accident. (Fort Worth Fire Department )
[Bought in 2008, it cost $1.25 million, the department said. [NBC5]]

(new window)

HazmatNation has even less information than the mainstream media had.

I was going to skip this news article because the advertisements kept fighting me, but it has the information that the train had a mix of the old DOT-111 and new DOT-117 tank cars. It also has updated numbers: "Of the 24 tanker cars, nine leaked at least some of their ethanol cargo, including the four cars that witnesses saw burn up in the fire, officials said." "Jim Southworth, NTSB investigator in charge, said Thursday he was not aware of any ethanol making its way into any nearby creeks or other waterways, including Echo Lake, a small body of water adjacent to the derailment site." I guess nobody showed him the video above where I speculated about drunk fish in Sycamore Creek. The drone video shows that they brought in at least two mobile cranes and a photo shows a couple of sidebooms in action.

A Jan 8, 2022 derailment by BNSF

This is very disturbing because I thought BNSF has avoided PSR and had retained car inspectors and track maintenance. At this time of the year (Jan), it should not have been caused by a sun kink. This accident doesn't help the argument of the safety of railroads vs. pipelines. Note that the fire started as a 9-car ethanol fire and became a 29-car fire even though just 12 cars actually derailed. Fortunately, there must not have been any BLEVEs. And todays euphemism is that "fully involved" seems to mean "on fire." 

Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department posted 19 photos with the comment:
***UPDATE as of 0615 hours***
Our crews have cleared the scene. There are a few rail cars still burning, but BNSF elected to let them burn themselves out. 
***UPDATE as of 1645 hours***
29 tanker cars are now involved. Tanker shuttles are being used to provide water to the incident.
Wichita West Firefighters on Scene of Train Derailment. 
Wichita West is assisting Wilbarger County, at US-287, near Oklaunion. 9 tanker cars carrying ethanol are on fire, with more cars threatened. 12 cars have derailed and 20 agencies on scene. One abandoned home fully involved.
Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department: This was between Vernon and Electra, near Oklaunion. BNSF is investigating the cause of the derailment.
Brandon Brock: What are those "pools" of water for?
Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department: Brandon Brock Those are storage tanks for the water. Due to the lack of hydrants in the area, we are having to shuttle on water, drop the water in tanks, to be used for firefighting operations.
[There are some videos of the "Oklaunion" train derailment after this post on the Facebook page.]
RaymondnMaribel Rodriguez shared













Frank Koch: when letting it burn results in less ground contamination -less soil to be dug up and hauled to Texas.


[Are they trying to fight an ethanol fire with water or are they trying to keep uncompromised tank cars cool?]


[This makes it look like they are putting water on the fire.]



Screenshot from a news report
"According to an official with BNSF Railway company, 28 of the 98 cars on the train derailed at approximately 10 a.m. this morning."

Screenshot from a drive-by video