In the background on the river, with exhaust emanating from each of the corners, what is that!!!?  

Above you’re looking at the stern of a truly unique towboat launched in the summer of 1940, Cargill’s successor to Protector and Carbany.  Below, that’s the stern of Carbany and the bow of that unique vessel,  a Carneida-class grain mover.  I believe the first six photos of this post were taken at the Cargill facility on the Hudson in Albany.

Below are three (at least) Cargill units, from near to far, CCI  No. 3, Carbany, and then two of the Carneida-class.   CCI expands to Cargo Carriers incorporated, a Cargill transportation company created in 1930.

Here at the Cargill elevator in Albany is Carnectady. Cargill had a lease in port of Albany  from 1932 until 2018.  Carnectady here appears to have a sunshade installed over the “booth” of a wheelhouse.  I wonder if that wheelhouse could be lowered.

Cargill’s John MacMillan Jr visualized a design of integrated steel barges: three cargo barges cabled together with a fourth–a stern unit referred to as a towboat–containing power, controls, and accommodations.  In the photo below, you’re looking at the towboat with the name on the stern.  Overall, the four-part vessel was 265′ and comprised of a 49′ loa towboat with three 72′ loa cargo barges, all the breadth of a Barge Canal lock, i.e., uniformly slightly less than 44′. 

Below you’re looking across three cargo barges, likely of Carnectady, and to the right

you see the stern of Carswego.

Here at Little Falls, top of lock E-17, Carneida enters the lock.  It appears that the towboat was not ballasted to the same depth as the loaded grain barges ahead of it.  Might that be the captain talking with the lock tender?

I’m not sure what’s happening here with the state boat on the port bow of the lead Carneida-class barge, but clearly, the Cargill unit is eastbound at the bottom of lock E-9.

Note the “booth” of a wheelhouse.

Here the Carneida-class boat is climbing the flight, and

this photo may have been taken moments before as, with a burst of power and smoke,  it entered the bottom of E-5.

So this one has me puzzled.  I believe I see the Cargill logo on the wheelhouse, but the “towboat” section of the unit is much more substantial than that in the other photos of this post.  So, what is this?

All photos thanks to the Canal Society of New York.   Here‘s an article about these boats that adds a bit of detail.

The 1955 Merchant Vessels of the US show Carchester, Carswego, Carnectady, Carneida, and Carnesee still operating.  It also appears that Carbany-class vessels Carutica, Caryuga, and Carport were built after WW2.

Do plans exist anywhere for the towboat section of these units?  How long did they ply the Barge Canal?  What was their disposition?