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You may recall that back in 2014, I often juxtaposed canal&river/rail in photos like the one below.
This post was originally going to feature only photos of the river and canal from the rails, like the one below, but
then I decided to pair photos from the train toward the water with the opposite: photos from the water toward roughly the same land area where the rails lay and the trains speed.
Train shots are difficult because of speed, coatings on the windows, trees and poles along the tracks . . . but I’m quite sure a letter that begins “Dear Amtrak: could you slow down, open windows, and otherwise accommodate the photographers” would not yield a positive response.
I hope you enjoy this attempt on my part. And if you ever have a chance to ride Amtrak along the Hudson, Mohawk, and Lake Champlain . . . sit on the better side of the car; switch sides if necessary.
Here we’re on the Livingstone Avenue Bridge looking south and
here we are south of it, looking north. Yes, that’s Crow, Empire, W. O. Decker, and Grand Erie passing through the open swivel.
Here’s the pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam
as seen from both vantage points.
The 1766 Guy Park Manor from a speeding train and
Schoharie Aqueduct from Amtrak,
a slow boat, and
the east bank of Schoharie Creek.
Little Falls onramp to I-90 from rail and
The rail bridge at Lock 19 from the span and
from west of it at Lock 19.
And these all east of Utica I can’t pair, but decided to include here anyhow: a dairy pasture,
a construction yard, and
a truck depot.
Maybe if I write that “Dear Amtrak” letter, I could just ask if the window could be cleaned a bit. If you’re going to try this, take amtrak when the leaves are off the trees.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, who embeds this post from “Good Morning Gloucester” to reveal a bit of my past . . . 1988. Scroll all the way through to see a piece of shipwreck “treasure.”
. . . aka the leap between the seasons. Call this photo, taken on Saturday dusk, the last moments of autumnal daylight.
I was here waiting as a slight November blush lingered in the central NY trees, hoping this
vessel, Sojourn, would pass before daylight faded and before those storm clouds caught up.
She eased into the lock. Some of you, I know, can guess this lock by the structure far left.
And here at sunrise was a new season. Winter isn’t just coming anymore. It came in the night. By the way, thanks to Xtian’s comment here, I understand the significance of the registration numbers.
Here the converted freighter eases into Lock 17, the highest lift lock in the Erie Canal system.
Watch the descent.
The gentleman below built this barge 53 years ago in Belgium, then used it to transport cargoes, including animal feed, through all the canals in the low countries, and in this case that included France and Germany too. He’s riding along on the trip, his first visit to the United States. Imagine the joy, being reunited with your handicraft in this way after a half century and halfway around the world! His daughter, Maja, who was literally born on this barge and who as a kid jumped from hatch cover to hatch cover while the vessel–loaded to the coamings–was underway, is accompanying him.
When the water level is lowered by almost 41′, the counterweight (almost) effortlessly raises the guillotine-style door.
Click here to see photos I took of Urger from the same vantage point two years ago.
And in the snow falling at a faster rate by the hour, Sojourn journeys eastward toward the Hudson.
And from the road I took back to the sixth boro, here’s what has already accumulated east of the Hudson . . .
All photos taken in the past 24 hours by Will Van Dorp.
For many other posts I’ve done about Dutch canal barges, click here.
Here are the previous posts in this series.
What’s unique about these photos is the season, the gray of November and absence of colors in the trees set off by the vibrant paint on Erie,
the two Governors shown together here so that you can see the difference in paint scheme–Cleveland and
Roosevelt, which different even
Waterford, I’d guess, got too close to a dredge pumping operation.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
As we progress toward winter as well, the daylight hours shorten, making less to photograph, but I was happy we passed lock E8 in daylight to capture the crane GE uses to transship large cargos, like the rotor of a few weeks ago.
The changing leaves complement the colors of the vintage floating plant,
and even Thruway vessels.
Venerable Frances is a tug for all seasons as is
the Eriemax freighter built in Duluth,
both based near the city of the original Uncle Sam, which splashes its wall
with additional color and info.
Once this Eriemax passenger vessel raises its pilot house, we’ll continue our way to the sixth boro.
Will Van Dorp took all these photos in about a 12 hour period.
I’m reprising this from Troy, and it’s Lisa Ann. I believe she’s 2012 built.
Governor Roosevelt is almost a century older, and wears 1928 on her name board now. This is Marcy NY, an Oneida County town between Utica and Rome.
Also at Lock E20, here’s a clutch of boats and floats including BB152, an unidentified and in the process of being repainted tender, a dredge barge, and BB 142.
Tug Erie is there too. Anyone know when tug Erie was built?
Farther along is 1932 tug Seneca, formerly of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Inside the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego, here’s a model of a Catherine Moran.
Here’s what the label said, but according to birk’s site, she’s still alive and well under the assumed name of Sherry D. Anyone have photos of Sherry D out in the SF Bay area?
On the freshwater sea called Lake Ontario, it’s another tugboat from 1928, Karl E. Luedtke.
Tucked away in Silo City of Buffalo, it’s Daniel Joncaire II, about a year old.
In the Outer Harbor of Cleveland, it’s 1954 Duluth and fleet mate
1956 William C. Gaynor.
And here approaching the south end of the Detroit river, it’s 1982 tug Michigan pushing barge Great Lakes.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
By 3:00 pm, the deck of Wards Island was at capacity with buoys. It was time to head back west to a scow on the wall in Brewerton, an accidental destination for
Champlain almost exactly 400 years ago. Champlain was a gallivanter extraordinaire, crossing the Atlantic about 25 times in those days, and a guy even better at negotiation and diplomacy than he was at traveling. But I digress.
Since there are two bridges between the Lake and the scow, the boom had been lowered and now it’s raised for the job. Attached to the scow is the larger tender known not by a number but as Dana.
It’s clearly November when 4:30 looks like this.
Boom is lowered for the several miles back to Lock 23, where a surprise
awaits me. I had assumed that only the stern propellor on Wards Island was operational, but after Syracuse uncoupled and we started the rotation to tie up,
there was prop wash from under the bow, just as you would expect from a double-ender ferry.
In order to spin the boat 180 degrees without having to make a 36-point turn, Syracuse put some pressure on the bow,
and by 5:40 we were all fast. Then it was time to
put the power of Wards Island to sleep. Below deck there were a bunch more surprises, like these port lights as seen from within and the rivets.
And two spacious accommodations, one on each side of the vessel.
Two engines, although only the Cat D353 Series E runs.
A Frankenstein knife switch board.
And mentioned in this post last year, Wards Island began life as a ferry in 1929, looking like her twin . . . Tenkenas, there were more surprises like
this speaking tube and behind it,
this brass builders plate.
Many thanks to the NYS Canal Corp and its floating plant for permission to do this series.
Unrelated and sad news: I learned yesterday that John Skelson has passed. RIP, John. Click here for some of the many posts I credited to him in the past years.
These photos were taken November 16, 2015, with temperatures in the 50s and no wind. Obviously, mid-November is not always so ideal for this operation. In fact, photos on the boat showed this work being done in 1992, with buoys heavily ice and snow covered.
Here one crewman–let’s call him the signaler– radios the tug instructions for the approach to the buoy.
Once within two yards of so, another crewman captures the buoy with a boat hook.
Besides the VHF, the signaler uses hand signals for the crane operator, who hoists the hooked buoy as high as a connector link, which gets cleated to the boat while
the cotter pin connected to the shackle gets cut.
The crane operator relies entirely on signals from the signaler.
Once the summer buoy is lifted away, the anchor chain is attached to the spar buoy, which is then
pushed overboard, where it’ll stay until the reverse process in the spring.
Meanwhile, the beacon is removed from each buoy.
Oneida Lake has floating and fixed nav aids. This is Messenger Shoals, a fixed nav aid on a concrete island poured into sheet piling. To the left of the aid in Blind Island, and as little as a foot of water.
The aid here–113–is called a cabinet.
The large size–about 6′ high–used to hold batteries.
The entire cabinet is lifted off for the winter.
On the north side of the lake is a village called Cleveland, once important for supplying passing commercial canal traffic and glass making. Now it may go out of existence.
When the foredeck is full and late autumn sun starts to go down, we headed to the west side of the lake to offload today’s work and prep the boat for tomorrow.
And that will be tomorrow’s post.
Again, many thanks to NYS Canal Corp for permission to do this story and to the crews of Wards Island and Syracuse for helping me out.
At the end of the Oneida Lake series, you’ll see why this could also be called “second lives 15 part b.”
Technically, this post starts out early morning in Clay, NY, with tug Syracuse and crane ship Wards Island tied to the east end of Lock 23.
Wards Island–and her sister ship Tenkenas–were built in 1929 by Electric Boat of Groton CT. Later in the series I’ll show you the brass builder’s plate. By 1937, both were listed as abandoned. For some of the history of intervening years, check out A Long Haul starting on p. 128.
Here Syracuse pushes Wards Island under the rail bridge just west of Route 11 heading for the lake. A key to the location is the Brewerton Range Rear lighthouse, visible in the trees along the right side margin of the photo.
The lake is unusually glassy for November and the fall task of replacing the summer navigation buoys with winter “placeholder” spar buoys, seen here below between the crane boom and the spud. Wards Island is fully self-propelled in the manner you’d expect of a former double-ender ferry, just very slow, a time waste on a large lake like Oneida. Click here for info on tug and barge wrecks in the lake.
Here’s the view through the controls of the crane looking toward the east end of the lake.
To the right you see the Verona Beach Lighthouse, and buoy 106 is in sight to the left of the hook.
The tow is maneuvered into position and a crewman captures the buoy with the boat hook.
The crew make the connection and 106 gets raised. In part b and c of this series, I’ll show the crew actions step by step.
Since no spar buoy replaces 106, anchor and all are brought up. In the distance to the left you can see the Route 13 bridge between Verona and Sylvan Beach. Click here for one of many posts I did in 2014 with photos from near the Route 13 bridge.
Buoy 107 is next on the boat, and
the first spar buoy goes in, anchored to mark the spot.
By 1130, we’re approaching buoy 109.
The crewman with the yellow sweatshirt is using a tool to hook between the buoy lift point and the crane hook.
Once a buoy is on the boat, the flashing beacon is removed and
stowed in a locker.
All photos by Will Van Dorp. More of Oneida Lake tomorrow.
Many thanks to the NYS Canal Corporation for granting permission to photograph the work of Wards Island.
Here are previous posts under the category second lives, a designation I use for vessels that are significantly modified from one owner or role to another. The approaching vessel in the next two shots–which I took on the Erie Canal west of Three Rivers in September 2014–show Grand Erie, the newest (built 1951!!) and largest tug in the Erie Canal.
Look at that low Erie Canal design carefully, because
she started life looking like this photo probably taken in 1951 when she was brand new in Pascagoula. That’s probably the open Gulf of Mexico in the background.
Chartiers was considered a dredge tender. Here she’s pushing a scow somewhere in the Pittsburgh area.
And here she’s tied up at the Corps of Engineers repair base at Neville Island, Pittsburgh. Look carefully at the upper superstructure in this photo, pre-1985.
In 1985, the vessel was purchased by the New York canals system, then still called the Barge Canal. The name changed in 1992. Then, Chartiers traveled to New York state from the Ohio River via St. Louis, the Illinois River, Chicago, and the Great Lakes.
Here’s Dan Owen’s description of the photo: “This is how it [looked] when I first saw it going up the [Mississippi] Aug. 13, 1985 at St. Louis. It was on the other side of the river. The top part of the pilothouse roof was actually cut off to the level of the second deck cabin to get under the bridges in the Chicago area. I do not know how long the pilothouse was 100% air conditioned, all the way from Pittsburgh, or at a shipyard in the St. Louis area. Or, if the pilothouse was welded back on after clearing the Chicago bridges.”
Here’s more of Dan’s description: “These two photos show Chartiers departing Chain of Rocks Lock, Granite City, Ill. [Notice the helm,] complete with searchlight, sitting on the deck. Also visible are two spare rudders.”
For more comparison, below are three photos of Grand Erie I took in September 2015. In the photo she’s flanked by Tender #3 starboard and tug Waterford to her port.
Compare this photo of Grand Erie to the second b/w photo above to note all the changes.
And compare this one to the last b/w photo above.
Many thanks to Dan Owen of Boat Photo Museum for use of these photos. All color photos were taken by myself, Will Van Dorp, in 2014 and 2015.
Here’s how you might be able to add to this collection: in July 1986 the newly modified Grand Erie came to NYC waters aka the sixth boro to participate in Liberty Weekend, the rededication of the Statue of Liberty. Grand Erie served as Governor Cuomo‘s ride. Does anyone have photos from that time . . . Grand Erie in NYC in 1986? I’d love to see them.
It’s been a few years since Lehigh Valley 79 was there, but David Sharps added a new feature to the parade–a
to each vessel that passed for review.
And what a potpourri of vessels that was!
Folks who from Monday to Friday work on precision instruments indoors . . . on weekends go to the physics lab on the river and experiment with vectors.
Others compete shoreside commanding line to fly.
If you missed this one, make plans now for 2016.
All photos here by Will Van Dorp.