Sunday, November 20, 2016

Atlas 5 Launch - Off the Rails

Not trains but it was a beautiful night, severe clear and an Atlas 5 launched from Cape Canaveral, about 90 miles north of here. It was at 6:42 PM EST.
Payload was the newest of the GOES weather satellites, GOES-R
Sorry the camera lost focus a couple of times. 

From the above linked website.

NOAA's next generation of geostationary weather satellites
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) is the nation’s next generation of geostationary weather satellites. The GOES-R series will significantly improve the detection and observation of environmental phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property and our nation’s economic health and prosperity.
The satellites will provide advanced imaging with increased spatial resolution and faster coverage for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity.
The GOES-R series is a four-satellite program (GOES-R/S/T/U) that will extend the availability of the operational GOES satellite system through 2036.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Okeechobee Waterway Railroad Bridges

The Okeechobee Waterway crosses Florida from Stuart on the east coast to Ft.  Myers on the west coast crossing Lake Okeechobee. Shown east to west from Stuart to Lake Okeechobee.

Bonus Tugboat
Gives a feel for size

Britt Point Bascule Bridge at Stuart

Indiantown Swing Bridge

Port Mayaca Lift Bridge
South Central Florida Express
(Was FEC K-line)

Slightly off topic but we went by the Port Mayaca Cemetery, site of the mass burial after the 1928 hurricane that collapsed the earthen dike around Lake Okeechobee. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day Post - A Link

Chickenmom at her Chickenfeathers blog does a Friday Night Steam post every week. She outdid herself with her Veteran's Day Post today.

Thank you to all our veterans.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

El Zig-Zag

Let's take another trip to South America and visit an interesting railway, PeruRail

Train Ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru

El Zig-Zag, or switchback, allows a 400 meter elevation change in less than 5 kilometers. This section of PeruRail is 3 ft. narrow gauge. All other track in the system is standard 4 ft. 8 1/2 in. gauge. 

Another trip on standard gauge rails to Puno, Peru on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the "highest navigable lake" in the world at 12,507 ft. 

Peru - Andean Explorer train from Cusco to Puno

At its highest point, La Raya Pass (14°28′59″S 70°59′20″W), the altitude is 4,313 m (14,150 ft). The train makes a stop in La Raya pass where there is an exquisite view over all the plains to the snowcapped mountains, and a beautiful old chapel, standing all alone in the middle of the Andean plateau.

Shipping: The car float Manco Capac operates across Lake Titicaca between PeruRail's railhead at Puno and the port of Guaqui in Bolivia. PeruRail also owns the former ferry SS Ollanta, which was launched on Lake Titicaca in 1931. Ollanta is now refurbished for tourist cruises and PeruRail has leased her out for charter work.

 You can buy your tickets at the PeruRail website here.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Toot Toot and Switchbacks

Or Blowing Steam up the Devil's Nose. I was going to put this in another post about South American Railroads but it was just too good to not have a post all to itself.
Tren Equador - from Guayaquil to Quito Ecuador.
 Lots of whistles and a surprise at about the 6 minute mark. 

"Filmed in 2007 this is probably one of the last runs of Baldwin 2-8-0 No 17 up the Devil's Nose to Alausi in Ecuador before the railway was closed and subsequently rebuilt. Rebuilding was completed in 2012 restoring the full link between Guayaquil on the coast and Quito the capital which had been severed in several places in recent years due to landslips, bridge washouts etc. But as recent YouTube clips testify the new 'Tren Ecuador' is now a very different railway.

The clip conveys much of the atmosphere of the old railway - from the bark of the Baldwin echoing across the valleys, spiked track in varying degrees of repair (the box van carried a supply of timbers for running repairs) and not forgetting roof riding which is no longer permitted.

There is also an amusing encounter with a straying donkey.

The clip is from video taken on the RTC tour in October 2007 when as much of the usable railway was fully travelled by train."

Friday, November 4, 2016

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Steam

 Visited the Bryson City, NC area in September and the first part of October. The GSMR operated their steam locomotive the last weekend we were there.

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Locomotive 1702, a 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive #1702, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1942 for the U.S. Army during World War II, was purchased by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR) of Bryson City, NC, in the mid-1990s for use on its scenic railway excursions. After a decade of service, no. 1702 was retired in 2004. In October 2012, a partnership formed between GSMR and Swain County to provide funding to restore the locomotive. In 2013, a complete restoration was launched and the locomotive returned to service during summer 2016.

Steam on a Country Road
DeHart Cemetery Road and US 19

Note the first car behind the tender. It looks like a converted caboose and is the generator car to supply power to the passenger and dining cars.

1702 is oil (diesel) fired and there was a bit of a leak one evening. We just happened to be there and saw the leak breaking out in flame. Pretty exciting for a couple of minutes. The first 2 or 3 fire extinguishers they grabbed didn't work. Double oops. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Pan American - L & N Railroad

The Pan-American was a passenger train operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N) between Cincinnati, Ohio and New Orleans, Louisiana. It operated from 1921 until 1971. From 1921 to 1965 a section served Memphis, Tennessee via Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Pan-American was the L&N's flagship train until the introduction of the Humming Bird in 1946. Its name honored the substantial traffic the L&N carried to and from the seaports on the Gulf of Mexico. The Pan-American was one of many trains discontinued when Amtrak began operations in 1971.


Postcard of the Pan-American as it passed the WSM transmitter in Nashville.

Another source with additional information and some more photos of different EMD locomotives used is at American-Rails

"The Pan-American" (1948) by Hank Williams

This song is one in the playlist from a previous post and was the reason for this post. 

More information on the WSM transmitter tower found at Wikipedia. I have seen it numerous times.

WSM's unusual diamond-shaped antenna (manufactured by Blaw-Knox) is visible from Interstate 65 just south of Nashville (in Brentwood) and is one of the area's landmarks. It is located near the I-65 exit 71 interchange with Concord Road (State Highway 253). When the 878-foot tower was built in 1932, it was the tallest antenna in North America. Its height was reduced to 808 feet (246 m) in 1939 when it was discovered that the taller tower was causing self-cancellation in the "fringe" areas of reception of the station (it is now known that 195 electrical degrees, about 810 feet, is the optimum height for a Class A station on that frequency). For a period during World War II it was designated to provide transmissions to submarines in the event that ship-to-shore communications were lost. It is now one of the oldest operating broadcast towers in the United States.
As a tribute to the station's centrality in country music history, the diamond antenna design was incorporated into the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's design in 2001. The tower is listed as a National Engineering Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 2011.