Rick A wrote: ↑
Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:13 am
C&O Dispatcher wrote: ↑
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:57 pm
As part of my training back in 1970, I lowered and raised the C&O Black River drawbridge one time only. Same with the Saginaw River bridge from Washington Ave tower in 1976. I also worked about 5 years on a railroad swing bridge on the Mississippi River. That was an interesting job, especially if you liked a lot of solitude! Learned a lot about tow boats, barges, and locks/dam operation that was nearby.
Click to expand...did you ever have any "bridge malfunctions" ? If so, how were they resolved?
Click to expand...Before it was permanently closed to navigation, the only times I can remember we raised the Saginaw River bridge was on some holidays when the RR was shut down and no operator on duty at Washington Ave. When the next operator came on duty and lowered the bridge, we usually had trouble getting it to close completely in order to lock it up. They would send a lite engine out of the yard and onto the bridge so the weight would push it down into place. While I was in Saginaw starting in 1976, I don't recall ever having a boat go south of the bridge.
On the swing bridge it could be a little tricky getting the lift rails to drop down into place when closing the bridge. We had a slide bar apparatus at each end and you would stop the bridge with the lift rails just off the drop-in points and lower the rails part way until they were resting on the slide bar. Then you'd give the bridge a little power, just enough to slide the rails into the "slots" and then lower them the rest of the way. Sometimes one rail would not drop in and I'd have to go down there with a sledge hammer and give it a whack to drop into place. Better have your feet out of the way when it dropped in!! On really windy days/nights, it might take several attempts to get the lift rails positioned to do the "drop-in" maneuver. If you tried to slide them more than 2 or 3 inches, there was always the danger of actually bending one of the rails and then MofW would have to come out and bend it back straight. That was rare, but not unheard of. We had an air brake to slow and stop the swing movement and to hold it in position when opened for river traffic. The max tow size was 15 barges (sometimes 16), which was 5 barges by 3 barges. Each barge was 200 ft by 35 feet, so 1000 feet long plus the tow boat.