Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kulluk to Dutch (Update)

Today, Royal Dutch Shell formally announced it "will pause its exploration drilling activity for 2013 in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to prepare equipment and plans for a resumption of activity at a later stage."

This announcement comes the day after Conical Drilling Unit (CDM) begins her journey to Captains Bay, nigh unto Dutch Harbor. Eestimated Time of Arrival - March 8, 2013.

Det Norske Veritas has certified the module fit for towing. This towing plan traces the route from Kiluda Bay to Captains Bay at Dutch Harbor.

Tugs assigned for tow to Dutch Harbor include one of Crowleys new "Ocean" Class tugs:

•  Ocean Wave 
•  Corbin Foss
•  Lauren Foss

Dockwise presents some great videos of "dry towing."  I recommend the video of the two Russian nuclear submarines being transported, as it details the preparation needed to prevent cargo movement.

 Be sure to click on the full screen icon to really enjoy the video presentation!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Terminal, Station, or Depot?

A couple of weeks ago I presented the story of Grand Central Terminal's 100th Anniversary. At the end of the article, I asked, what are the differences between a Terminal, Station, and Depot?

Many folk do not realize that long-distance trains stopped serving Grand Central in 1991, as a result of aggregating Amtrak to Pennsylvania Station.

Here is a sampling of some of the responses to the question posed in the Grand Central article:

It occurred to me to learn how a architect, those who design  rail structures, refer to them. And as luck would smile upon me, after much searching, I found this comment in an architectural forum:

I am not a stranger to this struggle to define railroad structures. In writing a series of articles concerning the effort to save Great Northern's Blaine (Washington) station, a fierce skirmish over whether the structure was a station or a depot ensued.

As you can see, we ended up referring to the structure as "Blaine Station."

A final item of interest. Grand Central Terminal was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2012. A bronze plaque marking the landmark designation was formally dedicated on February 1, 2013 in conjunction with the Terminal's Centennial. Grand Central Terminal was also designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Grand Central Terminal

This weekend New York's Grand Central Terminal begins celebrating its 100th anniversary. Architects Charles Reed and Allen Stern designed New York's Grand Central Terminal. Construction began in 1903 and completed in 1913.

The Village Voice recently published "100 Facts" about Grand Central Terminal.  There is mention of films shot on location - at night to minimize disruption of services. Amongst them, Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest."  You may recall the scene where Cary Grant is standing on a platform, with a Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 sneaking up behind him!

Amongst the interesting factoids:

•  Located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue.
•  Covers 48 acres.
•  44 platforms.
•  The world’s largest clock made with Tiffany glass, measuring 14 feet in diameter, stands near Grand Central’s 42nd Street entrance.
•  A whispering gallery carries the tiniest bit of sound from one corner of a 50-foot-wide domed chamber across the ceiling to another corner.

•  Ranked by members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as the 13th most beautiful structure in the United States!

The Stockyard Exchange Building located in St. Paul, Minnesota was the first building designed by a recent graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Charles A Reed soon after, formed a partnership with A H Stern. Reed and Stern gained national prominence primarily through their design of railroad stations which surmounted 100 in the United States.

The Northwest Connection

While New Yorkers certainly have a magnificent edifice to celebrate, Architects Charles Reed and Allen Stem designed several railroad stations in the Pacific Northwest, including:

• Northern Pacific Depot, Livingston, Montana, 1902. Often referred to as the "Gateway to Yellowstone," trains ran south into the park, terminating at Gardiner Montana.

• Northern Pacific - Great Northern / Northern Pacific Station, Seattle, 1906.

• Northern Pacific Depot, Ellensburg, Washington, 1910.

• Northern Pacific Union Station, Tacoma, Washington, 1911. Tacomas first rail station was built in 1883, then moved to the site of the present Union Station on Pacific Avenue and enlarged in 1892.

In 1906 the architectural firm of Reed and Stem was selected to design a new station more befitting Tacoma's image as a prosperous, thriving metropolis and railway terminus of the Northwest. Construction of Union Station began in 1909 and was completed in May 1911.

Acclaim for Reed and Stem's design was immediate. The Tacoma Daily Ledger praised it as "the largest, the most modern and in all ways the most beautiful and best equipped passenger station in the Pacific Northwest."

To ignite a lively debate, I field the following question: