Thursday, September 30, 2021

1937 Aban/.../ACL+Road Bridge over Intracoastal Waterway at Myrtle Beach, SC

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges3D Satellite)

When it was built, it carried the road as well as the railroad. It seems that plate girders instead of trusses are used with rolling bridges more frequently in the South than in the Midwest.

Street View

We can get a nice view of the arc member on which it rolls and the horizontal rack and pinion gear that is used to raise it.
Street View

Ted Gregory posted three photos with the comment:
Quite an imposing structure sits across the Intercoastal Waterway.
This bridge is ACL heritage and was used to reach Myrtle Beach.
Hoping RJ Corman, which is in the middle of upgrading this line to the west and north, sees value in rebuilding this bridge and restoring service the remainder of the way to Myrtle Beach.
My pics Dec 29, 2019

[The comments indicate that the only industry that was rail served on the other side of the bridge is a lumber company and that they now transload the lumber from the mainland side.] 




Bobby Glendinning commented on Ted's post
Here's a picture I took from the ICWW

Bobby Glendinning commented on Ted's post
Another picture from 2007 when the Carolina Southern Railroad was servicing 84 Lumber by rail.
Bobby Glendinning posted
Myrtle Beach drawbridge. July 2007.
Mark Massa: RJ Corman runs that section of track.
Dan Kleinhenz: Interesting how they balanced the bridge out by adding the concrete slab.
Ben Rohling: It’s had all the copper stolen….

Ted Gregory posted again in a Towers group with these two photos added.
1, croppped

2, cropped

This appears to be the same bridge.
Brandon Muir posted
The Pine Island Drawbridge over the Intracostal Waterway in South Carolina. From it's build date in 1937 it was the primary traffic bridge over the canal until the opening of highway 501, seen in the background of this image.
Raised and locked since 2011, it had risen from the dead once before in 2001 after sitting dormant since 1987.
The former Atlantic Coast Line Railway built the line but today it is owned and operated by RJ Corman.  Will enough funding and new rail business ever be found to warrant the use of the bridge again?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The early history of the automobile in Chicago

Old photos of streetcar scenes and depots (e.g. Dearborn and Wells Street) provide insight into how the horse was replaced by the internal combustion engine on the city streets. These notes save some comments made on a Facebook share that describe the introduction of automobile and bicycle manufacturing in America.

Jose Ilarraza-Boyed posted
Here is Grant Park circa 1892.

Dennis DeBruler shared

  • Not only has Lake Park been built with landfill between Michigan Avenue and the IC tracks, but they have planted some trees.
  • There are many boxcars on the IC tracks.
  • The Interstate Exposition Building has been torn down so that they can build the Art Institute for the Columbian Exposition of 1893.
  • A pier exists at the IC Van Buren Street Station for steamboat traffic.
  • There are no cars on Michigan Avenue. It will be a couple of more decades before they start to become significant.
  • Both grain elevators exist on the south side of the river.
  • There is still heavy industry on the north side of the river.
  • Fill for Grant Park has not started.

Comments on Dennis' share

Comments on Dennis' share

Comments on Dennis' share

Comments on Dennis' share

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

UP/Denver Rio Grande Big Ten Curve


This topic tripped my twice-in-a-couple-of-days rule.

Chris Ness posted

The Big 10

Rocky Flats, Colorado
Leigh Smith: I seem to remember they put filled coal hoppers on a passing track to keep the high winds from blowing freight cars over as trains went around the loop.
Jack Dempsey: Leigh Smith they did and they are still there

Chris commented on his post
Big 10 loop - 09/07

Dennis DeBruler commented on Chris' post
I don't know why Google Maps dropped two pins.
39°51'12.9"N 105°15'08.3"W

Yrral Ecirp provided this photo as a comment on a comment by Roger Mitchell on a post by Michael Krejci: "In Colorado on Big Ten Curve on the Moffat Road ( currently UP ) south west of Boulder they laid in a siding and parked a long string of hopper cars full of gravel for the same purpose."
Kyle McGrogan: Kind of like the derailed and welded down hoppers on "Big Ten" curve west of Denver on the old D&RGW "Moffat Tunnel" line.
[These comments were motivated by the BNSF efforts to control winds on their trestle over Midvale Creek in East Glaceir Park Village, MT.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on Chris' post
As we entered the curve on a westbound Zephyr trip.
Nov 28, 2019

Dennis DeBruler commented on Chris' post
Some of the hoppers

Monday, September 27, 2021

1960s USS/National Midwest Steel in Portage, IN (One of the first AC driven lines in 1998)


This plant, along with Granite City and Great Lakes Steel, were National Steel until USS bought National Steel in 2003.

Friends of Indiana Dunes, Inc. posted ten images with the comment:
WAY BACK WEDNESDAY: (Steel Mills Part 4) Although not an integrated mill, Portage’s Midwest Steel once had plans to be a fully integrated mill with a steel city attached. The economy and the decline in American-made steel put an end to those plans. Twice.
In 1929, National Steel began buying land around Burns Ditch with plans to build a new mill in the dunes. Samuel Insull’s company was tasked with finding and purchasing the land for National Steel, including land owned by Consumers Co. for sand mining.
In January 1930, the company announced that within the next three years, they would build a new mill costing upwards of $50,000,000 as well as a town and harbor. The new town would be called Port Williams, after the president of National Steel. The Vidette-Messenger reported that the company envisioned using Burns Ditch as a “natural harbor,” but other evidence shows that the company planned to build a harbor to the east. 
At the time, the steel industry in the Region was booming. Construction in the Midwest was high. There were signs of recovery in the stock market, and the Gary Works was running at 90%. The Great Depression had not yet made its impact on Region steel.
In June 1930, the company announced the creation of a new subsidiary, Midwest Steel. The entire project was expected to be completed by the end of 1933 and would require moving the Indiana Harbor Belt Line tracks that ran through the property.
These plans did not last very long. Within a year, the economy was collapsing. The plans for Midwest Steel were put on hold.
The New Deal gave some hope for American industry. One public works project was the plan to develop a port in Northwest Indiana. National Steel committed to building a mill if the port was approved, but there was a back-and-forth regarding federal approval for the port.
In May 1936, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected the port proposal saying that the benefits did not outweigh the $3 million cost. Throughout the latter ½ of the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers would conduct multiple assessments of the value in a port. Some politicians got involved too, saying that the port would benefit one single company, National Steel. Therefore, the use of public funds was not appropriate. 
Throughout the 1940s, although industry had a lot of work to do, there was no focus on building new mills. But in the 1950s, with the expansion of housing, auto industry, roadways, and the economy, steel was once again in demand.
With a strong economy and steel in demand, National Steel took up the project again, this time without plans for a city and with the intent of having public funds pay for a port. Construction began in 1959. As with many industrial areas, the construction of the mill resulted in the organization of a town. Portage incorporated as a town in 1959 and would incorporate as a city when Bethlehem Steel arrived (see next week’s post). Operations at the $103 million mill began in 1961.
In 1974, the company announced plans to build an integrated mill at Midwest Steel. The plant would cost $1 billion and employ another 2,300 people. It was a big announcement in a big steel industry. Unfortunately, an economic recession in 1975 and the increase in foreign steel delayed the plans and then put them on hold indefinitely.
A huge Thank You to Serena Ard, Curator/Historian – Westchester Township History Museum for her authorship of this week’s Way Back Wednesday and we look forward to next week’s final post in this series.
Please check out the new “Steel: The Region’s Legacy Industry” exhibit on display through the end of the year at Westchester Township History Museum ( located at 700 West Porter Avenue in Chesterton.











Mark Wolfe posted
National Steel Midwest Div. , now USS.
Michael Matisko: Brian Gill is it still running on the M-G sets in the background, or has it been upgraded with solid-state motor drives? (Ex-Alcoa EE here; motor-generator sets look like nothing else).
Mark Wolfe: Michael Matisko sets.
Michael Matisko: Mark Wolfe Cool! Wonder who has the expertise to maintain them these days.
At Alcoa Warrick we had a 44" 5-stand Blaw-Knox cold mill that had a 12400 hp 15kV synchronous motor driving the generators for the mill stands, but we idled it in the late 1980s.
Noel Tengdin: 52 was awesome the 80" on the other
Mark Wolfe: Noel Tengdin big difference. Mesta/ United.
David McGowan posted
The  Temper Mill, Midwest Steel, Portage Indiana, c. 1970. The man in the  middle of the photo is George Kevich, Boss Roller and our neighbor. My  dad was one of the foremen. Two doors down from our house was another  foreman, Dutch Schuster. Steel would race through the rollers at 60 mph  to stretch the crystals in order to temper it. Sometimes the rolls would  explode under the pressure. As a kid, I thought my dad worked in the  Temper Mill because he had a temper.
I worked in the Batch Anneal  next to the Temper Mill. Batch Anneal was like a bakery. We put the  coils into ovens for several hours then sent them to the Temper Mill. It  was a sleepy department compared to the Temper Mill. A vivid memory for  me was standing with Ed Marciniak as he calmly smoked his pipe and  we  watched the furious activity of the Temper Mill.
Dale Wolak: Still there, hardly ever runs.
Art Wright: Hello Dale, when USS bought Midwest they shipped the orders to Gary. They keep the STM to run when the Gary line is on an outage or behind on orders.

Allen Sydow posted two photos with the comment: "USS Midwest plant."


From their web site:

The Midwest Plant, a finishing facility that operates as part of Gary Works, is situated about 10 miles east of Gary in Portage, Indiana. Principal products include tin mill products and hot-dip galvanized, cold-rolled and electrical lamination steels that are used by customers in the automotive, construction, container and electrical markets.

United States Steel Corporation
Gary Works Midwest Plant
U.S. Highway 12
Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-3131


  • 80" Pickle line
  • 52" and 80" 5-Stand Tandem Cold reduction mills
  • Electrolytic cleaning line
  • Batch annealing facilities
  • 43" Continuous annealing line
  • 54" and 80" Temper mills
  • 54" Double cold reduction mill
  • 48" and 72" Hot-dip galvanizing lines
  • 42" Electrolytic tinning line
  • 38" Tin-free steel line
I presume this National plant was the same one.
Earl Horecky posted
Former National Steel Midwest plant Portage, Indiana (now USS) #3 galvanize startup April 1998.
This was one of the first all AC driven process lines in USA.
Left to right:
John Vogt (ret)
Rick Jaeger USS Gary Tin
George Munoz whereabouts unknown
Mary Ellen Jefferson (ret)
The late Wayne Schuetz
Writer (ret)

Note how dirty their discharge into the lake is compared with Burns Harbor to the east.

The day I posted these notes, I came across the following.
Timeless Aerial Photography, LLC. posted
Update Sept 27 2021 4pm On Indiana Dunes National Park shutting down its beaches and a northwest Indiana water utility shut down an intake facility after an orange substance apparently spilled from a U.S. Steel plant into a Lake Michigan. This is just an update from yesterday the orange cloud is gone now.
Russell Hedgepeth: They just got fined a month ago for a million for a leak in 2017. And had six or seven spills since then. I for one I'm tired of big corporations having control of our lake fronts....These are only ones that are known. No telling what else these mills are putting in there.
Susan Urena: Russell Hedgepeth our water intake is there and they always wait a few hours/days to alert the water company. Plus the treatment doesn’t remove metals etc. only biological crap.
Ed Stojancevich: Getting ridiculous. Imagine all of the [stuff] we DON'T know about.
Thomas Labus: Matt Vdhd yup. And I'm sure it is less than it would cost to properly dispose of it, so they intentionally chose this way instead. $600k is nothing to them.
Scott Duszynski: WGN Morning News reported this morning that this is the 25th spill from the mills since 2018 and they've been fined every time. Apparently that isn't working out too well.
Norah SCylla: Likely hex chromium out of the tin division...again!!
Tyler Grzesik: Was there yesterday it was bright orange.
Gal Logan: Where's the booms

Andy Saboski shared
Laurence Cox
USS/Midwest Plant recently had to pony up $1.2MM for a discharge of hexavalent chromium.
Ernie Carey Jr: With the price of hot band right now they don't care.
[They need to put the plant manager and a USS vice president in jail for 5-10 years.]

Two photos by Danny Lunn that shows the discharge orange.
Kevin Studley: An orange color suggests a possible leak of hexavalent chromium -- a highly toxic carcinogen, and one of the more toxic chemicals used in the steel mills.
I know. I used to work around hexavalent chromium and one or more foreman sought to fire me for complaining about mishandling this chemical. I stood my ground. They lost, we won -- but apparently those lessons have been forgotten. There was another hexavalent chromium spill about 4 years ago.
Somebody stand up and prove I did not risk my job for nothing -- that clean drinking water still matters.


One of five photos posted by Mike Lorber
Portage IND: Lake Michigan beaches nearby are closed due to a large chemical discharge into the water by US Steel Plant #NBCSky5 @nbcchicago Kyle Duke shared

John Bogordos posted
National Steel (Midwest ) construction.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Lost/PC/NYC Bridges over Chemung River in Corning, NY

19th Century: (Bridge Hunter)
20th Century: (Bridge Hunter; Satellite, they removed the piers and abutments)

Steuben County Historical Society posted
[Tropical Storm Agnes]
As the rivers rose in 1972, someone figured that 15 loaded coal cars would help anchor the Penn Central Railroad bridge over the Chemung River -- you can see the results. Bringing down a structure of this size suggests the horrifying force of the waters, and damage such as this did in several railroads here in the northeast. We're looking northward here -- in the background we can see the Corning Glass Works office tower, and the Corning Glass Center/Corning Museum of Glass.
Jim Kane: The Glass Museum had a "High Water Mark" way up high on the wall.

Octagon Fad shared
Fran Koch: seeing the downtown area firsthand after Agness........was so sad. And now, Corning has built a new facility in North Carolina.
Tim Fuller: The purpose of putting loaded cars or locomotives on flooding bridges was to reduce the likelihood of damage from the lifting effect of the moving water. Any surface in a flowing medium has a lifting effect dependent on the density and speed of the flowing medium - think back to your childhood and putting your hand out the car window to play with the air slipstream.
The major force keeping all bridges in place is gravity, so to counteract the lift forces of the moving river water, railroads routinely increased the weight on the bridge to increase the downward gravitational force.
Boaz Miller: Tim Fuller, well, fluid dynamic lift requires the fluid above and below the surface, so the hand in the airstream doesn’t work here.
It isn’t actually a lift; it is the tremendous shearing force due to fluid drag and lateral pressure on the support structures. Water is a very dense, heavy fluid and even a slow current can exert a massive shearing force against a stationary structure.
Bob Mason: Boaz Miller you are correct. Additionally with that much flow there is often some major scour occurring. If the water scours out a big enough hole and undermines the pier or abutment, the piers will topple over unless they are anchored to a cement pile cap on driven piles.
Bill Poole: The IHB does this frequently on the bridge over the DesPlaines River located @ McCook, Illinois.
Dennis DeBruler
There are several photos before and after it collapsed on this page:
The after photos show a lot of debris against the trusses and the piers are tilted because of scouring and/or lateral pressure. The debris would magnify the lateral force of the flowing water against the truss.

Art S. via BridgeHunter-19th

NYC was the north/south route.
1953 Corning Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Another study in postcard colorization.
Via BridgeHunter-20th

1907 Postcard via BridgeHunter-20th


Did the piers tilt because of scouring or because of the tremendous lateral forces exerted by the flowing water against the tree debris against the trusses? Or because of both?

Saturday, September 25, 2021

NS/N&W Wye Bridges over Tug Riverand Woodman Tunnel (Ought One)

Bridges: (Bridge Hunter; Satellite)
Tunnel: (Bridge Hunter)

I was aware of the Keddie Wye in the west. I was not aware that the east also has an interesting wye.

1988 Everett Young Photo via BridgeHunter-tunnel, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)

ny Magnolia 677 photo via BridgeHunter-bridges, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)

One of seven photos posted by Aaron Bryant, the post is well worth a mouse click
Winston Dunbar: I'm surprised there aren't any inside rails on these curved spans.
Doug Bess: Winston Dunbar they only install inner metal guard rails on thru truss and thru girder spans. The reason I know this is because I drew up the standard plan during my time in the NS bridge office in Atlanta.