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More than a week ago, these tanks entered the Erie Canal system at lock E-2 in Waterford.  Sunday afternoon they tied up for the night in Lyons below E-27.  Let’s call the first nine photos here Batch 1.

 

This morning early, they made their way through E-27 and then on to E-28A.

Here’s a view back toward E-27 and the village of Lyons . . . around the bend.

The forward most barge gets pushed in, unmade from the second barge, and then CMT Otter reverses out with that second barge.

The unaccompanied barge is moved out the upper gates by means of the capstan, a machine as old as the Barge Canal and very infrequently used.

After this barge is moved forward and secured to the wall, the gates close, the lock is drained, the lower gates opened, and the rest of the tow enters to be raised to the level of the forward barge.

These next photos taken west of Newark . . . E-28 B . . . show just how narrow this part of the Canal is, and

silt that’s lain on the bottom gets stirred up.

Here’s an article from the NYTimes, but I wish the author had spoken with a wider range of informants.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper (1,2, 6, 7) , Jason Ladue (8, 9) , and John Van Dorp (3, 4, 5) for these photos.

Now Batch 2, thanks to Bob Stopper.  Bob took this batch this morning very near my “upstate home,”  between Newark and Widewaters.  Note that this batch is moved by HR Pike.  

For a long tow, this part of the Canal  (same as here) is very narrow.

It’s mind-boggling that these inland waters are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean and China, but it’s the case.

The school bus here is crossing the Whitbeck Road Bridge, a span I’ve crossed probably a thousand times . . .

Many thanks to all, especially to Bob Stopper, who was unstoppable in getting these photos just this morning.

 

 

 

Here was the first in this series.  This is a well-painted and lubricated wheel that won’t be seen for a while.  Even you folks who are planning a trip on Erie Canal, you’ll be close and you’ll feel the effects, but you won’t see it.  So watch carefully as  .  .

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the wagon-body valve, the rectangular portion of which measures 7′ X 9′ , gets positioned where it’ll be invisible from now until some winter maintenance season in the future.  The entire valve–with wheels– weighs about 9800 pounds. If you’re standing near the upper door when one of these opens, you see a major whirlpool created by the rush of water through the water tunnel and through the port holes into the lock chamber.

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Bob Stopper took these photos just over two weeks ago.  Looking at them now, with mild spring temperatures in place, this feels like months ago.  The valve is hoisted above the water tunnel and

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guided into position.

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Think about this as you traverse the canal this summer.

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Many thanks to Bob.  Happy spring.   I can’t wait to see what exotic traffic passes through here this summer.  Of course, I’ll be looking for work elsewhere.  Anyone know anyone looking to hire a deckhand, now holding some paper and licenses?

Summer and fall 2014 this blog posted lots of lock photos, a sample of which is here, but today there’s a treat.  Winter work on the canal requires that the water level be drawn way down for maintenance inside the locks.  Bob Stopper, a regular canal contributor and much more, took these photos inside lock 27, basically a machine that’s worked in the same way for a range of different traffic for over a century.

0aaaLock date 1913

To get a sense of what we’re seeing here . . . the “door” at the far end is 300′ away and the width here is 44.’  The “steps” we are looking at are the upper sill.  When Urger would sail into this lock, we needed eight feet of water above that concrete sill . . . or we’d hit with the keel.  In the distance notice the port holes on both sides along the “floor” and the minimum water “scum” lines.

0aa1Lock 27 upper sill, port holes, water lines

Here is a close up of the port holes and water lines.

0aa2lock27

Here we are behind the port holes in the water tunnel now iced over.  Through here, the lock fills and dumps.

0aa3Lock 27 Southside water tunnel with ice (1024x765)

Now from the top of the lock looking at the same scene:  the “door” is called a mitre gate and again, for scale the lock is 300′ by 44′.  Notice again the water line and the port holes.

0aa4Lock 27 entering miter gate, miter sill, 300 ft long x 44 ft wide (768x1024)

Here we are inside looking back at the sill,  upper mitre gates,  and “ribbon rail” dam that’s been temporarily installed across the canal to do winter maintenance.

0aa5Lock 27 Mitre sill (upper) , mitre gates, dam (1024x768)

Here from farther outside the ribbon rail dam.  Notice the repainted mitre gate.

0aaaars2Lock 27 Bubblers ahead of ribbon rail dam

Here’s a close up of the bottom of a mitre gate showing the sill rubber seal and the white oak mitre timbers where the gates meet in canal center, and .

0aa6Lock 27 Miter sill, sill seal rubber, white oak miter timbers

along each edge there’s a quoin timber attached to needle sill gate.

0aa7Lock 27 Quoin timber attached to needle sill gate

These grates are called trash racks at the entrance to water-fill culvert.  In reality, they keep debris like large trees from entering.

L0aa8ock 27 Trash rack and entrance to water fill culvert (1024x738)

And the is a wagon-body valve in situ on z-rails in a fill culvert.  How large is it?

0aa9Lock 27 Wagon body valve on Z rails in North fill culvert (1024x768)

I took this photo at lock 2 last summer.  This wagon-body valve was waiting the arrival of a crane for installation deep inside the lock.  My estimate is that each of the wheels is greater than three feet in diameter.  Maybe someone can help confirm that estimate.

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Here’s a view of the lower gates of lock 19 I took in late June 2014.  Lock operators were clearing water-logged tree branches jammed between the bottom of the mitre gate and the sill.  Remember that there’s at least eight feet below their rowboat.

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Much gratitude to Bob Stopper for sharing his photographic journey inside lock 27.  Here, here, and here are links to Bob’s article in three parts from Wayne County Life on this inside out look at a lock.

 

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