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Draw vs. swing vs. lift
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   Draw vs. swing vs. lift
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   Author  Topic: Draw vs. swing vs. lift  (Read 2288 times)
JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« on: Mar 20th, 2007, 1:27am »
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        I've long thought about which of the aforementioned types of railroad bridges would be the most efficient from an operational standpoint. For example, what are the pros (and cons) of say, a drawbridge in comparison to a swing bridge? I would also assume that massive lift bridges (such as the now-gone CNJ Newark Bay bridge and the NH's at Buzzard's Bay) must have been extremely expensive to maintain, especially for the ailing railroads of the 1960s and 1970s. Were any of these types of bridges more efficient than the others, or, did much depend on the individual situation (and financial condition of the owning railroad)? I've long felt that the subject of moveable rail bridges is a quite fascinating one, especially from an operational standpoint. I'm sure our highly-knowledgeable friend George Harris will be able to share some valuable (and fascinating) knowledge on this topic.   John

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George_Harris
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #1 on: Mar 20th, 2007, 4:26am »
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John, you have raised a facinating topic that can keep us spinning for a while.  Some states have a lot more than others for obvious reasons.  Take a look at Michael Palmieri's Louisiana Rail Site lrs.railstuff.net and search out bridges.  It seems that every type of movable railroad bridge ever though of can be found in Louisiana.  Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and there have been quite a few drawbridge accidents other than Newark Bay.  I will have to come back later with more thoughts on this subject.  
 
George


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JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #2 on: Mar 20th, 2007, 10:15am »
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     Hi, George: I an greatly anticipating the stats and specs that you will be sharing with us on the fascinating subject. Moveable railroad bridges, were, and are extremely fascinating structures, and, just discussing the complexities of the operating control towers of these structures alone would make for a quite interesting discussion! Looking forward to your input!   John

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Pennsy
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #3 on: Mar 20th, 2007, 10:35am »
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Hi John,
 
Interesting thought. I think you have to factor in several variables, but the one that stands out for me is the reliability. That generally means the simplest and fewest moving parts that are influenced by the weather. So, I go for the swing bridge. The NYC subway, the IND lines going out to the Rockaways use swing bridges across Jamaica bay. All moving parts are either protected, or heated, or otherwise set up to function in all the variable weather situations you can see on Jamaica Bay. An interesting bridge, looks really nice from underneath as seen from a motorboat. And most importantly, I have never heard of one of them failing. Good maintenance crew no doubt. On the trains that I have been on going across these bridges the motorman takes them at speed. By the time you realize you are on the bridge, you are off the bridge and heading for the next island or other piece of land.


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Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #4 on: Mar 20th, 2007, 10:43am »
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       Hi, Pennsy: Thanks for providing us with some more fascinating trivia! ANY type of moveable rail bridge is certainly a highly-complex structure, especially the massive lift bridges, such as the CNJ's once-magnificent Newark Bay bridge, connecting Bayonne with Elizabethport. And to think that these complex, massive structures functioned for decades WITHOUT the use of computers or any other type of hi-tech electronic circutry!   John

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JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #5 on: Mar 21st, 2007, 12:20am »
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           Here is a pic dating from 1963 of the NH's famed Buzzard's Bay lift bridge, largest verticle lift bridge in the world. It was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is still maintained by them today. Certainly, one of the most impressive railroad bridges ever built! http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/nh/nh-buzz-bri.jpg

« Last Edit: Mar 21st, 2007, 12:21am by JOHN_LUTHER_JONES » Logged
JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #6 on: Mar 21st, 2007, 12:25am »
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                   Sadly, this elderly (and highly fascinating!) draw just outside of South Station, Boston, was destroyed several years ago during "Big Dig" construction. Certainly, the complexity of this old structure is more than evident, clearly reflecting a time when solid, no-nonsense, built-to-last-the-ages construction was in vogue. Scratchbuilders, without a doubt, would have a field day tackling this draw! http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/nh/nh-draw-bri-ac.jpg

« Last Edit: Mar 21st, 2007, 12:26am by JOHN_LUTHER_JONES » Logged
JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #7 on: Mar 21st, 2007, 12:34am »
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     Ancient Erie bridge at Hackensack, NJ. Look closely and you will spot an Erie floating crane doing some repair work to the bridge structure: http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/bldg/erie-hacbri-alb.jpg

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JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #8 on: Mar 21st, 2007, 3:18am »
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    Here is NYC's gargantuan "Bridge One" at Cleveland, circa early 1960s. Certainly, a great deal of planning and engineering went into the construction of this huge structure: http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/nyc/bridge1.jpg

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JOHN_LUTHER_JONES
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #9 on: Mar 21st, 2007, 3:20am »
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    Here's a shot depicting the controls for "Bridge One": http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/nyc/bridge1-ctrl.jpg

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Hawko
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
  DSC00274_652x489.jpg - 57005 Bytes
« Reply #10 on: Apr 9th, 2007, 12:34am »
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Here is the CN's bridge at East Dubuque, IL in the open position on April 8, 2007.

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Infrastructure/DSC00274_652x489.jpg
Click Image to Resize

« Last Edit: Apr 9th, 2007, 12:34am by Hawko » Logged
O. WINSTON LINK esq.
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #11 on: Apr 9th, 2007, 12:40am »
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   Hi, Hawko: Thanks for posting that super pic! That old span is truly a relic of another era......swing bridges always seemed to have a personality all their own, and truly are fascinating "industrial era" structures in their own right. Again, great pic!!   John

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George_Harris
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #12 on: Apr 9th, 2007, 3:34am »
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on Mar 21st, 2007, 3:18am, JOHN_LUTHER_JONES wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Here is NYC's gargantuan "Bridge One" at Cleveland, circa early 1960s. Certainly, a great deal of planning and engineering went into the construction of this huge structure: http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/nyc/bridge1.jpg

Even though "Bridge One" is never used in the report, the location and appearance of this bridge makes me think it is the one where the counterweight was hit by Penn Central eastbound freight train OV-8 at 3:56 am on May 8, 1974 with two fatalities.  The report is NTSB-RAR-75-2, and can be found on dotlibrary1.specialcollection.net  
 
Quote:
Abstract:
 
On May 8, 1974, Penn Central freight train OV-8 collided with the counterweight of a lift-span drawbridge on the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland, Ohio. Shortly before the collision, the eastbound train had been traveling at 33 mph on a main track equipped with automatic block signals when the DB operator contacted the traincrew and advised them that the route was clear ahead. Then, the operator remembered that a boat had been awaiting passage and, without informing the traincrew, he opened the bridge. The train passed the red home signal of the DB interlocking without braking and struck the counterweight of the open bridge about 600 feet beyond the signal. The two crewmembers in the lead locomotive unit died as a result of crash injuries.
 
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the locomotive crewmembers to obey a wayside signal indication to stop and the concurrent opening of the drawbridge by the DB operator after he had advised the oncoming traincrew by radio that the route was clear. Contributing to the accident was the absence of specific rules that either prohibited such a radio message or described the circumstances under which such a radio transmittal could be accepted as an operational control.

 
Based on the content of the report, the drawbridge operator told the train crew the bridge was down, and then realized he needed to raise it for a boat that had been waiting and forgot to tell the train crew.  He had to raise it becasue water traffic has right of way.  The train crew should have obeyed the signals regardless of what they had been told, but then, who knows?  Maybe the signals had been acting unreliably at this location.  
 
Also in the accident report was information about the bridge and line approaching it.  This bridge was obviously not the first at this location.
 
Quote:
The bridge -- The lift-span drawbridge was constructed in 1958. The bridge crosses the 250-foot-wide navigation channel of the Cuyahoga River with a high-water clearance of 3 1/2 feet and a normal clearance of 8 1/2 feet when the bridge is down. The lift-span can be raised 89 feet to accommodate the passage of boats. The superstructure of the bridge was painted black.
 
The track -- The two main tracks slope to the Cuyahoga River span from about 8 miles to the west of the accident site. The steepest portion of this grade begins about 5 miles from the bridge, varies from 0.26% to 0.94%, and averages 0.7%.
The track curves west of the bridge. About 2,577 feet west of the bridge, there is a 0o16'curve to the left for eastbound trains. The curve is 338 feet long and is followed by 1,004 feet of straight track. A 1o03'curve turns to the right, continues for 819 feet and ends 416 feet from the bridge. Straight track extends from that point across the bridge.

Here we see why drawbridges are built.  It was either build a draw or have a very long fill on each end so the track could be 90 feet higher.  
 
George


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George_Harris
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #13 on: May 20th, 2007, 12:59pm »
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Ran across a discussion on potential passenger service along the Gulf Coast New Orleans to Mobile to Pensacola.  It is in a series of reports done for the Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission, www.srrtc.org .  They have a series of reports that are listed on www.srrtc.org/RepStudies.html
 
In one there is some discussion on drawbridges.  This line probably has more drawbridges than any other line in the US of similar length.  At this point, I don't what all of them are, and the list does not say, but a few I do know.  They are along with some towns for reference, with Mileposts:
 
607.0  Flomaton AL (zero milepost is Louisville KY)
621.6  Atmore AL
651.6  Tensaw River Draw (swing span)
653.5  Mobile River Draw (swing span)
656.7  Big Bayou Canot - NOT a drawbridge - bridge hit by barge derailing Sunset Limited
658.5  Bayou Sara Draw (swing span)
663.3  Chckasawbogue River Draw (swing span)
664.1  Three Mile Creek Draw (swing span)
665.2  Sibert Yard (Mobile)
666.7  Mobile Passenger Station
706.7  Pascagoula Passenger Station
706.8  Pascagoula River (bascule)
724.4  Biloxi Bay (swing span)
727.0  Biloxi Passenger Station
739.4  Gulfport Passenger Station
752.6  Bay of St. Louis Draw Bridge (swing span)
754.2  Bay St. Louis Passenger Station
768.8  Pearl River Draw Bridge (don't know type - swing span? )
775.4  Rigolets Pass Draw Bridge (don't know type - swing span? )
787.2  Chef Meteur Pass Draw Bridge (swing span)
801.5  Industrial Canal Draw Bridge (bascule)
803.7  NOT Jct. - end CSX = NOPB milepost 7.5
 = 7.5  NOT Jct.
...3.6 East City Jct.
...0.0 NOUPT
 
12 drawbridge in 150 miles.
 
What is also interesting about these bridges is how many times they open in an given day or week.  the report gives the number of openings for most of these bridges for the week of November 6 to 13 2004.  It appears that due to the number of trains on this line these bridges are normally closed to water traffic
 
Average Openings per Day:
 
651.6  Tensaw River  - NONE
653.5  Mobile River - 10.75 average, 15 maximum
658.5  Bayou Sara - NONE
663.3  Chckasawbogue River - number not given
664.1  Three Mile Creek - 4.75 average, 10 maximum
 
706.8  Pascagoula - 14.75 average, 18 maximum
724.4  Biloxi Bay - 2.25 average, 9 maximum? next busiest 4
752.6  Bay of St. Louis - 1.0 average, 3 maximum
768.8  Pearl River - 1.5 average, 6 maximum
775.4  Rigolets Pass - 10.0 average, 14 maximum  
787.2  Chef Meteur Pass 10.25 average, 18 maximum
801.5  Industrial Canal  - number not given
 
The busiest is Pascagoula.  Always has been.  Unlike the northeast corridor, the boats at these bridges for the most part are not fat cat yachtsmen, but fishing boats or commercial traffic.  I know from L&N days that Pascagoula in particular is mostly shrimipers and other fishermen going in and out to make a living.  The Mobile River is the south end of the Alabama River and Tombigbee River, including the Tenn-Tom waterway, so is probably mostly barge traffic.


« Last Edit: May 22nd, 2007, 7:12am by George_Harris » Logged
O. WINSTON LINK esq.
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #14 on: May 29th, 2007, 12:39pm »
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  Hi, George: Many thanks for all of your totally comprehensive and throughly fascinating info! No one can say that you don't know your onions (and your railroad infrastructure!!)  As usual, you've added a great deal of depth to an already interesting subject!   John

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Warren_Thompson
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #15 on: May 30th, 2007, 10:01am »
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There's a vertical-lift bridge over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal that's held in the up position except for the apparently infrequent NS traffic on the Delmarva Peninsula.

« Last Edit: May 30th, 2007, 10:03am by Warren_Thompson » Logged
Eddie M.
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #16 on: Jul 2nd, 2007, 10:27am »
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    Vertical lift verses swing or bascule bridge ?    
Railroads have to bow to marine traffic as that is the Federal Law governing marine traffic.
 There is the factor of when a railroad crosses a body of water, just how much and what type of marine traffic passes by.
 A swing bridge could be in some instances less costly to build,but will it meet the needs of the water traffic?    
 I noticed John mentioning the CNJ's Neward Bay bridge a lot.  Originally, there was a wooden trestle spanning the bay in 1864 with a man powered movement mechenism to allow sail boats to pass.  
     As time passed and the area grew, just like most of America, the marine needs changed.  By 1887, there was a bigger (steam powered) swing bridge, 1903 saw a pair of Howitzer rolling bascule lifts installed.(Again steam powered)
     The water traffic became more frequent and the boats became larger to accomodate the needs of the area.
 By 1924, the CNJ had received permission from the New Jersey State legislature to start on that last bridge which was as mentioned a dual vertical lift. (actually 4 bridges side by side, fore and aft.
 As you read, different bridge types are appropriate for the type of water craft that must pass it safely.  
 Cost and maintenance are factors of course, but if cost was a factor alone and no regard to marine traffic, then trestles would have been built everywhere for they are far cheaper to construct.


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Railroads are a weakness we all share..
Flemington Flyer
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Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #17 on: Jul 2nd, 2007, 3:27pm »
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on Mar 21st, 2007, 12:34am, JOHN_LUTHER_JONES wrote:       (Click here for original message)
               Ancient Erie bridge at Hackensack, NJ. Look closely and you will spot an Erie floating crane doing some repair work to the bridge structure: http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/bldg/erie-hacbri-alb.jpg

 
The Erie did not have a drawbridge in Hackensack, but on the Hackensack River...I belive this HX Draw.
The only drawbridge in the town of Hackensack was the NYS&W's.  
Yet again, this is the problem of the internet, the land of where things are too often mis-labled.
 
CF


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O. WINSTON LINK esq.
Former Member
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #18 on: Jul 2nd, 2007, 11:09pm »
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    CF: Yes, I totally agree; far too many historic rail photos found on the 'net feature innacurate captions. There are QUITE a few out there, take it from me.   John

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Ranaldo20
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Posts: 224
Re: Draw vs. swing vs. lift
 
« Reply #19 on: Jul 3rd, 2007, 4:07pm »
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I know the tenbridge in Chattanooga is a lift, but I have never seen it raised.
 
 
http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=170348&nseq=0


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