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 Post subject: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:05 pm
Posts: 380
Location: Between Things
Out on the Delmarva Penninsula is a manual crank swing bridge. It's on the east end of the Delaware Coast Line Railroad and is used to reach their last customer on the line. I posted a couple of pictures and a fan sent me a video of it being cranked open. Thought you'd enjoy.

First the pictures:

http://railfan44.rrpicturearchives.net/ ... id=3417059
http://railfan44.rrpicturearchives.net/ ... id=3417060

The video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrspAPjQZmk

And a map:

Attachment:
Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG [ 108.42 KiB | Viewed 3238 times ]


Anybody know the details?

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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
It's not any real secret or anything. This is the way a great many drawbridges over narrow canals and waterways operated for years.

As I recall, the only industry still left on the other side of the bridge is an industry receiving compressed-gas tank cars at the end of track hard against Cape Henlopen State Park. They get switched as seldom as anyone can get away with, in part because of the pain of opening and closing the bridge. They have, at least in the past, closed the span, darted out there, done their switching, and then run back to the "mainland" before opening the bridge again. As this channel is officially part of the Intracoastal Waterway, they can't get away with leaving it closed too long.

This line was part of the trackage run by the Queen Anne's RR in the 1980s and 1990s. In May 1994, I was a rider on what was their first, last, and supposedly only excursion trip over this bridge [update: see below]. The Baltimore Chapter NRHS chartered an "every last inch of track" photo excursion over this line, and part of the bonus they threw in for not having the steam loco available as promised was backing the train over the bridge all the way to the "end of track." No one was paying much attention as to whether or not this was FRA "excepted" track or not, and rumor had it the railroad got a stern talking-to and/or fines from the FRA as a result.

UPDATE: http://bridgehunter.com/de/sussex/lewes-railroad-swing/


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:31 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Bucks County, PA
Does any video exist of the Queen Anne's RR in action? I've looked online but can't find anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 384
I was General Manager and Locomotive Engineer at Queen Anne's Railroad from it's first full year of operation in 1992 until I left after the 1996 season. QARR operated for a few years after I left before throwing in the towel. Steam locomotive #3 and leased DCLR ALCo T-6 #19 were power for the excursion train and the dinner train. The steam loco did not operate after my departure, as they did not have steam qualified crew any longer.

My memory is foggy, but remember running at least one, if not two rare mileage excursions the whole length of the line. I've been across the bridge several times, and at least one time remember taking the steamer across (I was engineer), against the well wishes of the State of Delaware (but they were there and knew about it). The state owned the rail line, and did not want passenger trains crossing the bridge. They agreed to this movement, but didn't like it. No FRA involvement or fines were involved.

I have never seen any video of QARR on the Internet. I have quite a bit on videotape, but don't even have a tape player and this footage simply sits and gathers dust. Maybe someday I'll get active and learn how to edit and post it.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:59 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 384
Quote:
They have, at least in the past, closed the span, darted out there, done their switching, and then run back to the "mainland" before opening the bridge again. As this channel is officially part of the Intracoastal Waterway, they can't get away with leaving it closed too long.


This is true, but is only half of the equation. Things may have changed now, as I've heard that the bridge has undergone some major refurbishing, but at that time there was another problem.

The easternmost concrete abutment had shifted, and was too close to the end of the bridge in it's closed position. So close, that during summer months the bridge would expand as it warmed up, and get stuck in the closed position. Thus, movement across the bridge was made as early in the morning as possible, and as quickly as possible, to get back across the bridge and open it up before it got stuck. One day we were cranking the bridge so fast I got really dizzy and almost fell off.

Sometimes QARR personnel helped DCLR crews in moving freight on both of the DCLR lines, using ALCo's #19 and #17. I wasn't crew when it happened, but others on the DCLR crew have had to call in fire trucks to hose down the bridge to cool it off to open it.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 384
Here is a photo of the "Rare Mileage" charter train as operated with the steam locomotive. I do recall another rare mileage trip that was operated when #19 was used.
This photo is at the runaround track just west of the bridge in Lewes. I am boarding the loco in this photo.
The consist is: 1) ex-Army baggage car (tool, generator, and loco water tender car), 2) ex-N&W heavyweight combine #1504 (now scrapped), 3) ex-NYC heavyweight coach, 4) ex-New Haven ("Osgood Bradley") four car trainset of kitchen and three dining cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 949
It just too bad that No. 3 wound up stuffed and mounted rather than in the hands of an operating museum. She would be perfect for so many operations.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
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Location: Bowie, MD
Within the last two years, it was used to move a 16-inch gun barrel that was on the USS Missouri during the WWII surrender to the Cape Henlopen State Park museum.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Go to the Historic Bridges/Bridgehunter URL in my above post, and there's now a YouTube video of the gun barrel crossing the span.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:25 pm 

Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:27 am
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Location: Switching the Coach Yard
Shame that combine got the gas axe. If memory serves that was the most sound car you had in the regular excursion train. IIRC it had bolt on pedestal trucks with standard 13 3/8" pedestal openings.

Mark do you recall why they decided to cut it up?


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:01 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 384
The N&W combine was the best of the excursion car fleet.

After I left QARR in 1997, I didn't keep track of much of the activity there. I know they operated for a couple of years before shutting down, mainly with the dinner train fleet and only with diesel power.

I casually kept up with the move of #3 to the restaurant in Ocean View, DE, but as of yet have not gone to see it. That restaurant is now closed I think.

I don't remember why, but just a few months ago I called DCLR just to see what the latest news was, maybe due to seeing the gun barrel being moved. I learned that the original owner is now in senior care facility and his son is operating the business. The son simply told me that not too long ago all the excursion cars were cut up. Apparently they sat unused in the industrial park in Georgetown and deteriorated to the point that the local folks simply gave them to the scrappers. I dunno.


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:12 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
What connection does Cape Henlopen have to battleships, WWII or the USS Missouri to warrant that barrel going there?

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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:29 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
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Location: Bowie, MD
Hot Metal wrote:
What connection does Cape Henlopen have to battleships, WWII or the USS Missouri to warrant that barrel going there?


The Fort Miles there once had a 16-inch battery and the barrel is to be the start of the restoration of that battery. More info here:

http://www.destateparks.com/park/cape-henlopen/fort-miles/index.asp

It is just the barrel, does not include the mounting.

Some post delivery photo from last summer:

Image

Image

Image

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:31 am 

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Pondering as career as a human cannonball......if there were only more men of his calibre.

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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:31 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
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Location: Strasburg, PA
Years ago we were approached by a contractor that was working to rebuild a hand powered railroad swing bridge somewhere on the Delmarva Peninsula. Could it be the same one?

He said that it had gotten so stiff that it was nearly impossible to work, and that he had been hired to refurbish it. Part of the mechanism was this very large cast iron foundation for the reduction gear drive with Babbitted bearings line-bored in place in the housing. This was in the back of his truck as he showed up unannounced one afternoon to see if we could do something with it, since the Babbitting contractor he had hired backed out upon seeing the physical size of the job.

Linn and I huddled for a few minutes considering how we could set it up to line bore, how much Babbitt would be needed, as well as how many man hours, and we came up with an estimate of $5,000 for the job. After some hemming and hawing, he hired us, unloaded the foundation, and we went to work. We finished the job without undue problems, billed him for $5,000, and he went on his way.

Sometime later, we received a letter from him thanking us for our help, saying that the job was a success, that the bridge could now be operated by one man, and that by the way, the previous contractor that had backed out, had bid the job at $20,000... Son of a b****!

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