Sunday, February 22, 2015

SPSF: "Shouldn't Paint So Fast!"

Whenever I had to go down the I-5 from Portland to California for either business or pleasure, I deliberately planned to lay over at Railroad Park in Dunsmuir. It was about half way to the Bay Area, which made it an excellent place to enjoy a cool one, watch some mountain railroading, whilst spending the night in either a boxcar, caboose, or foreman's cabin, and enjoy good food in the Park dinning car.

For gawds sake - what more could a person wish for?

My companion and I enjoyed an old fashioned breakfast in the dining car at Railroad Park, and drove over to the station at Dunsmuir, arriving just in time to catch a northbound freighter.

This place is so wonderfully accessible and accepting of rail buffs, as long as you keep out of the way. I think some of these crews checked their make-up before the rolling crew change took place!

SP 8530 (SD40-2T) and her cohorts had spent the morning working up 2,000 feet (610 meters) from the Sacramento Valley, shoulders against the 1.3% gradient at Dunsmuir Station, 322.1 miles (518 km) north of Roseville, where a rolling crew change would take place.

The lead locomotive is a dash-T "Tunnel Motor." Tunnel motors were built to reduce shutdowns caused by overheating whilst operating in tunnels in mountainous areas in the western United States.

The locomotive is modified so that radiator-cooling air intake is lowered to the walkway level, and the cooling fans themselves moved under the radiator cores, instead of on top. Notice the "blanks" welded to the former intakes.

The paint scheme, combining yellow, red and black, came to be called the Kodachrome paint scheme due to the color's resemblance to those on the boxes that Kodak used to package its Kodachrome 35mm slide film, which favored by rail fans of the time because of slow ASA and crisp color accuracy.

On July 24, 1986, the merger between Southern Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe was formally denied. But so confident that the merger would be approved, approximately 306 AT&SF locomotives, 4 AT&SF cabooses, 10 AT&SF slugs, 96 SP locomotives, and 1 SP caboose were painted in the new "Kodachrome" paint scheme. Spacing was left to add either "SP" or "SF" on rolling stock when the merger was approved!

The two railroads made a frantic effort to repaint locomotives in their standard paint schemes when the merger was denied. Santa Fe repainted all Kodachrome's still on roster by 1990, though some engines "escaped" - were sold, in Kodachrome "SF," scheme!

Rail fans joked that "SPSF" stood for "Shouldn't Paint So Fast!"

12,800 hp on the nose, another 9,000 hp on the rear!
Once the crew change was executed, the northbound crew faced a grueling climb up through 2.1% at the Cantera Loop past Mt. Shasta to the Cascade Mountain Crest at Grass Lake, elevation 5,073 ft (1,546 meters) at MP 368.5. Thence across the Moduc Plateau to Klamath Falls, ascending the Coast Range at Willamette Pass, continuing north to Eugene and Portland.

Railroad Stuff:
• Southern Pacific 8530, Built as General Motors SD40-2, 3,000 hp (2,237 kW), December 1978. SN: 786174-32. Modified as SD40-2T, April 13, 1991. Became UP 8836, 9/1996. Retired 2001.
• Southern Pacific 9686, built as General Motors GP60, 3,800 hp (2,800 kW), March 1990, SN: 8960022. Became UP 1988, 9/1996. Retired 2001.

See Also: 

Google Railroading, analyzing the Cantara Loop.
Robert Morris Photography features a treasure trove of Southern Pacific at Dunsmuir, they way we wish to remember it!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Restaurant Impossible!: Zoog's Report Card

Back in November 2014, Food Channel's "Restaurant Impossible," hosted by Robert Irvine, undertook renovation and upgrade of Zoog's Caveman Café in Port Hadlock, Washington, ~ 15 minutes from my home.

As a retired Instructional Designer and videographer/producer, I was anxious to visit the location; to witness a multi-camera shoot, and meet Robert Irvine.

Thwarted on both counts.

The Food Channel made sure security was tight and the set "closed" to all but "credited press."

However, I did manage to cobble together and publish two articles:

•  Restaurant Impossible!
•  Restaurant Impossible!: Zoog's Relaunch.

Patrick Sullivan of the Port Townsend Leader recently published a detailed follow-up, which I euphemistically sub-titled "Report Card, " giving us a exceptional behind the scenes look at a "Restaurant Impossible" episode, shot here in our back yard. The emphasis is mine:
Reality TV shows are, by definition, a mixture of "reality" and "artistic license." The challenge for reality program producers is; how do we make something as mundane as digging a hole for gold exciting and suspenseful.

Some are more effective than others.

For me, the "law and order genre" are more accurate in their portrayal - the producer cannot stop the chase or arrest an yell for "Take 2!" On the other hand, as with Zoog's cited above, stretching and bending reality seems to be intrinsic in the creative process.

I find the most egregious reality programs are the "House Wife's of xx" series. How many of you remember your mom traipsing around the house in high high heels, boobs flapping, with a glass of designer wine in hand?

The only series worse than House Wives is Duck Dynasty, a gross waste of production time, effort and expense.

Years ago, my video production company got involved with members of the pioneer reality program, "Cops" whilst it was being filmed in Multnomah County, Oregon.

Our production company was in the midst of producing a series of Hazardous Materials training programs for First Responders, when we go involved with John Bunnell at the Multnomah County Sheriff's office.

In a conversation with his staff, the question arose, "what do you do with your clothing that becomes contaminated at a drug house bust? "We simply throw them away," was the common response.

After spending time with our producers and fire training officers, they quickly switched to wearing HAZMAT clothing and adopted appropriate decontamination processes!

For the most part, I've ceased watching the majority of "reality TV."

After all, how many crabs does it take to fill a vessel?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Go Hawks!

Permit me the indulgent pleasure of using my voice - my Blog - to rave my football team, the Seattle Seahawks.

To relive the final four minutes of a playoff series wherein the Hawks came from behind by points to win the division playoff, is pushing the limits of this old veteran with three stints in his heart!

Reporters descended upon folk leaving CenturyLink early, assuming a loss to Green Bay, and to beat traffic out of the stadium. Those folk were reduced to quivering bodies of shame!  Some, rumor has it, have already move out of Seattle!

The Seahawks are in position to defend that championship because of an improbable confluence of events — improbable to anyone not scampering around their locker room afterward, dispensing and accepting hugs after a 28-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers. A 35-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse clinched the win in front of the largest announced crowd, 68,538, in CenturyLink Field’s history.

I've been wound up all this week!  And remarkably, many folk who have not had a particular interest in sports, never mind foot ball, have been infected with the 12th Man Fever!  It's all over my small town. Safeway is flying the 12th man flag, cars driving by flying the 12 man flag, people all over town wearing Seahawks jerseys!

Symbolically, Scrap-It Recycling's "Shearhawk" destroys New England Patriot's tour buses in Ferndale, Washington scrap yard.

Laying in a good supply of beer, chips, and dip for tomorrows big game!

Go Hawks!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Corbin Foss Completes Epic Voyage: All in a Days Work!

This morning, the Corbin Foss is completing her epic voyage delivering the USS Constellation for scrapping in Brownsville.

The voyage of 16,000 miles began at Bremerton Washington on August 8, 2014.

Her final destination is International Shipbreakers, Ltd.

Here the famous combat veteran will be converted to a pile of scrap metal.

While the entire enterprise covered hundreds of miles of interesting waters, as an armchair traveler, the passage through the Strait of Magellan would certainly been of interest to me.

Finding no support in Portugal, King Charles V of Spain provides Ferdinand Magellan with five old ships to accomplish his journey.

In September 1519 the expedition departed Seville with five ships and 265 men.

Magellan assigned Concepcion and San Antonio to explore the strait, but the latter, commanded by Estêvão Gomes, deserted and returned to Spain on 20 November.

Sadly, Magellan never made it home. He was killed in a clash at Mactan, in the Philippine Islands. On April 27, 1521. After 14,460 miles, the expedition ends back in Seville on September 8, 1522, with only one boat, the Victoria, and a handful of the original 265 personnel.

The tug Rachael (Tradewinds Towing) connected with the tow in Panama. As required by the Chilean government, Rachael acted as a safety backup.

The Capt. Latham switched out the Rachael at Callao, Peru, joining the Corbin Foss on October 19, and stayed with her through November 6th.

Having an additional tug was a safety measure to cope with significant weather and seas, and transit through the Strait of Magellan.

Most worrisome feature in the Strait; Paso Tortuoso (torturous.)

Here the channel narrows down to 1,500 yards (1,371 meters).

In his Blog, Tainui's Travels, John Valentines writes this about his passage through Paso Tortuoso:

"At Paso Tortuoso, 3 big bodies of water meet with interesting and unpredictable races and currents.
We hug the shore in what seems like a 1-knot favorable eddy. Out to starboard there are all sorts of whirlpools and overfalls.

"So impressive that there seem to be high steps in water level between them. "Faraway", 4 miles ahead and in the middle of the channel, is barely making ground in a 4 kt adverse current."

So three additional tugs joined the venture; Beagle, Otway, and Pelican II. Two on either side of the Constellation, and the third attached to the stern.

The passage through Paso Tortuoso was uneventful, and the fleet hove to at Punta Arenas on November 4th. Punta Arenas is a thriving city; with cruise ships calling on a regular basis.

On November 6th, the Capt Latham disconnected from the tow at the eastern entrance to the Strait, returning to Punta Arenas.

Corbin Foss as seen from Capt Latham off the coast of Chile

This was certainly an epic voyage. The Foss Maritime "Constellation Blog," recorded daily position reports through out the entire campaign. But for a highly detailed account, including pilot reports, dozens of photographs and, especial enlightening, a series of five video tapes, showing the vessels advance toward the Strait of Magellan, follow this link.

In the bottom right corner, click on Quadrant Maps. The videos are found in the 5th Quadrant Map.

In researching this article, I discovered a virtual beehive of activity taking place at the end of the earth.

Everything from hustling fishing lodges, helicopter rides to see Cape Horn, weather permitting of course.

Transportation between the main land and island of Tierra del Fuego is interesting, to say the least! In this video, look at the overshoot required to land the ferry against prevailing wind and current!

This RoRo system could be the answer to the Washington State Ferries dilemma. No more expensive infrastructure - docks and relatively inexpensive ferries!

Further Reading:
 ►  Straits in Latin America: The Case of the Strait of Magellan. The boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina.

►  Operation Soberanía. The 1978 Argentine military invasion of Chile, left thousands of unexploded mines - to this day - buried along the Argentine - Chilean border.
►  Highly recommend this Princeton University web page, which details the succession of charts of the Strait of Magellan, filling in details by explorers we know little of.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Höegh Osaka: Removed from the Cricket Pitch!

A drama played out rapidly as the Höegh Osaka, outbound from Southampton England to Bremerhaven Germany, became stricken Saturday Night.

The Pilot made a steely decision to ground the Pure Car/Truck Carrier on Bramble Bank in the Solent near the Isle of Wight, rather than allow her to flounder in the extremely busy shipping lane linking Southampton to the English Channel.

In a statement, Ingar Skiaker, CEO of Höegh Autoliners said: "Our vessel developed a severe list shortly after she left port and the pilot and the master took the decision to save the vessel and its crew by grounding her on the bank.

"This showed great skill and seamanship on behalf of our crew when faced with such challenging circumstances."

The crew of 24 plus the Channel Pilot were rescued, with only two minor injuries, which included a broken leg (falling down stairs.)

The Höegh Osaka remains grounded on her starboard (right) side on Bramble Bank at over a 50-degree list.

This was the scene folk at Cowes on the Isle of Wight awoke to on Sunday morning. Crew booked so fast that they left the radars running!

About 1,400 vehicles are on board the Höegh Osaka, including 1,200 Jaguars and Land Rovers. Jaguar Land Rover would not disclose their value but 1,200 of the cheapest models would be worth more than £35 million (USD52.8m) while 1,200 top of the range models could exceed £100 million, (USD1.5m.)

There are 65 Mini Coopers, and a Rolls Royce Wraith worth an estimated £260,000 (USD392,831), all destined for the Middle East, where the ship was headed after a planned stop at Bremerhaven.

A spokesman for JCB said there were 105 of their machines on board, destined for dealers in the Middle East. "We are awaiting further information from the shipping carrier about the current status of the machines and any plans they may have for retrieval," he said.

The extent of damage to the cargo is not yet known, according to Ingar Skiaker, CEO (chief executive officer) of Höegh Autoliners, which owns the vessel. No oil had leaked from the vessel and preventing any environmental impact was his key priority.

•  2000:  Launched in Japan as Maersk Wind
•  2011:  To Höegh Autoliners
•  Vessel type: PCTC (Pure Car Truck Carrier)
•  IMO: 9185463
•  Gross tonnage: 51,770 tons
•  Summer DWT: 16,886 tons
•  Length: 590 ft (180 m)
•  Beam: 105 ft (32 m)
•  Draft: 24 ft (7.4 m)
•  Power Plant: Mitsubishi 8UEC60LS, 19,140 pp (14,270 kW) driving a single shaft fixed pitch propeller.
•  Speed: 19.2 knots (35.6 km/h)
•  Crew: 24
•  CEU: 5,215

Like a TEU , 20 foot equivalent unit, is a measurement of how many containers a container vessel can carry, a CEU or car-equivalent-unit is the standard unit of measure for roll-on/roll-off ships and car carriers.

This measurement is based on the dimensions of a 1966 Toyota Corolla, model RT43.

Therefore, CEU RT43 is 13.5 feet (4125 mm) x 5 feet (1550 mm) x 4.6 feet (1400 mm). The ground space required for a CEU RT43 is approximately 69 sq ft (6.4 sqm) and the ground slot, including spacing in between vehicles is 80 sq ft (7.4 sqm.)

So, a vessel with a capacity of 1000 CEU can stow 1000 vehicles of the 1966 Toyota Corolla model RT43 size.

Amazing Choreography! At 2:10 notice van picking up drivers. When you have hundreds of cars to load, speed is of the essence. Every minute a ship has lines on the quay, money is burning up.

The salvage master who coordinated the re-floating of the Costa Concordia, Capt. Nicholas Sloan, is in charge of salvaging the Hoegh Osaka. Late today, the vessel was moved to a safe location for further evaluation.

The vessel unexpectedly drifted free of Bramble Bank this afternoon, and was towed to a location known as "Alpha Anchorage."

Indications are that something went awry with the ballast system causing the vessel to begin heeling over.  You may recall that caused the PCC Cougar Ace to heel over in the North Pacific several years ago. 

Oddly, the Bramble sand bank hosts the annual cricket match between the Island Sailing Club and the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Once a year during low spring tides, and for less than an hour, the tide exposes the sand bank creating an unusual cricket venue.