Thursday, February 18, 2021

1927 AGR Bridge over Black Warrior River, H-tows and Demopolis Lock & Dam

(Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

AGR = Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway

Demopolis, AL, is the town where the Black Warrior River joins the Tombigbee River.

I included the shoreline on the left to emphasize that the river was running high when this photo was taken in Apr 2018.
Street View

C Hanchey caught the bridge during a more normal river level.
C Hanchey, Apr 2011 via Bridge Hunger

I was surprised that the river level fluctuated so much because there is a dam that is not too far downstream.

But then I saw this photo of two barges stuck on the dam and realized it is a fixed weir dam. Since the dam doesn't have any gates, it can't control the level of its pool.

The reason for documenting yet another lift bridge is to capture information about 8-barge tows. I've never seen one before. I've seen several names for these tows, but they all of the letter "H" in the name.
Rob McCarter posted
Parker heading north through Demopolis for more coal. I believe the Gilbert Taylor.
[A comment observed that it is northbound because you can see the green US-43 bridge in the background.]
Jim Colby shared

Jim Colby posted two photos with the comment: "Temple Huckabee headed downstream at Fosters Ferry bridge about 8:30 this morning. Mile 321."
[I was unable to figure out how to get a link to his post, but here is his share.]
Jim Colby shared with the comment: "Black Warrior River in Fosters, Al"
Redd KM Sucranjou: An “H” formation shortens the tow as a whole and protects the stern of the boat in rivers where tight turns exist.
If the boat is pushing at the rear of the tow, not only is the entire unit longer, but a tight turn could do serious damage to the vessel’s stern if it slides into rocks that are under water... and that’s where a lot of important stuff is attached, like the blades that make it go. Lol
Here's a great set of photos of one of Parker' boats negotiating one of the tightest bends on our river, just below Birmingport, AL.
Its requires special skills to pilot a towboat on our Tombigbee and Black warrior rivers. The crew stayed on the boat and the engines never quit. She picked up her barges and kept on going! [It is a good thing they kept all of the hatches and doors closed!]


Billy J Smith commented on Jim's share

Temple Huckabee

This 133 foot by 34.7 foot twin screw towboat was purchased by Parker Towing Company, Inc. in June, 2010 and re-named in honor of Captain Temple Huckabee, a long time Parker Towing Company, Inc. employee and senior captain.

Built in 1972 by Greenville Shipbuilding Corporation, Greenville, MS., it is powered by two 16 cylinder General Motors E.M.D. model 645 diesel engines, delivering 3,800 horsepower through 3 to 1 WESTERN reduction gears.

Originally named the NITA VICKERS while owned by Vickers Towing Company, Greenville, Mississippi it was sold in 1974 to Ashland, Inc. (Now Marathon Petroleum Company) Ashland, KY. and renamed TRI-STATE.

It is presently in service on the Warrior-Tombigbee, Tenn-Tom, Tennessee, Ohio, Upper and Lower Mississippi, Intracoastal East Waterways and Mobile Bay.


Just a few weeks ago I learned about this river when I saw a photo of L&D #17

See Holt Lock and Dam for more photos of H notch tows.

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