Sunday, July 27, 2014

Attend a Locomotive Auction! (Update Aug 4th)

Now is your chance to "own a piece of history!"

Central Maine and Quebec, formerly known as Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, is dumping Ed  Burkhardt's collection of ramshackle power packs in auction.

The auction, to be conducted by Adam’s Auction & Real Estate Services, will be held on Tuesday August 5th, includes: 

•  MMA 23, EMD GP-7u
•  MMA 79, EMD GP-9
•  MMA 2000, GE B-23-7
•  MMA 3614, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 5016, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 5018, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 5023, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 5026, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 5078M GEC-30-7
•  MMA 8525, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 8541, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 8569, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 8202, GE C-39-8
•  MMA 3609, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 5021, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 100, EMD GP-7
•  MMA 21, EMD GP-7u
•  MMA 5017, GE C-30-7  Up-Dated Court Info
•  MMA 3613, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 8583, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 8592, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 3000, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 3603, GE C-30-7
•  MMA 8546, GE B-39-9
•  MMA 8553, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 8578, GE B-39-8
•  MMA 8202, GE C-39-8
•  MMA 8207, GE C-39-8
•  MMA 8208, GE C-39-8

Details on each locomotive.

The auction also includes units from San Luis Central. The railroad is 13 miles (21 km) long, located between Sugar Junction (east of Monte Vista, Colorado) and Center, Colorado. The company is owned by Rail World, Inc., which is controlled by Ed Burkhardt. Burkhardt is listed as president of SLC.

Apparently, Central Maine & Quebec is leasing nine SD40-2s and seven GP-20s. I have contacted the railroad twice to learn more about the units, with no response.

The Infamous MM&A 5017

"Many of the other MM&A locomotives advertised by the auction house come with problems, from graffiti to missing parts. Some units are likely worth little more than scrap value," says the online ad.

"Quebec provincial police are attempting to prevent the auction of the former Montreal, Maine & Atlantic GE C30-7 locomotive that played a key role in the July 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster," wrote Andy Blatchford of The Canadian Press on July 23, 2014.

 “A spokeswoman for the Sûreté du Québec said Wednesday (July 23rd) that investigators initiated measures to block a U.S. auction house from selling the locomotive until the end of legal proceedings. News of the police move surfaced after a report by The Canadian Press on Wednesday revealed that locomotive MMA 5017, the lead engine on the train that smashed into the Quebec town last summer, was due to go to auction in Maine on Aug. 5.

‘The only thing I can confirm to you in this file is that Sûreté investigators have taken steps to block the sale of the locomotive for the duration of the judicial process.’"   (From Railway Age. Click for complete article.)

Three employees of the now-insolvent Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway have each been charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death, one for each victim of the crash. The MM&A itself is also facing the same charges.

MM&A 5017. General Electric (GE) C30-7, 3,000 hp. Built 10/79, as BN 5017, sn 42581. Later BNSF 5017.  Retired from BNSF 03/99. Thence to MM&A as 5017. This was the unit that suffered the machine room fire, setting off an explosive chain of events a year ago this month.

Click on MMA or Montreal Maine and Atlantic in the index below, for all previous articles posted on this disaster.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Addio Costa Concordia! - Update

I've located located a web cam in Genoa dedicated to the arrival of the Costa Concordia Sunday morning.

Page translates thus:

Follow live the arrival of Concordia from our webcam.

Our webcam will tell you about the crucial phases of the arrival of the Costa Concordia to Voltri, new AGE scheduled for Sunday morning

All operations at the port of entry Voltri of Costa Concordia will be followed live from our webcam, that we in the crucial phase of rapprochement with zoom properly so as not to miss any detail of this historic operation.

The North wind blowing today on Genoa could slow slightly the last miles of the Costa Concordia to Genova Voltri, but weather forecasts remain more than positive for the approaching convoy the way end point.

The new ETA planned, since the Concord has slowed to 1 speed node and is not taking the direct route but is going off track of about twenty degrees, if it were to remain constant this velocity, is for 9.50 on Sunday morning. About 20 miles to go to be in sight ahead of Genoa, 24 to Voltri.

In this link the webcam live:

Click on SECOND ENTRY:   Segui in diretta l'arrivo del Concordia dalla nostra webcam

Click here for current time in Genoa.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Addio Costa Concordia!

With fire boats spraying water in the air, crowds on the bluff overlooking the harbor of Isola del Giglio and lining the nearby jetty, cheer as a convoy of 14 vessels begins the final journey of the Costa Concordia.

Two and a half years, and an estimated US$2.25B (€1.7bn, £1.3bn) salvage outlay, the ill-fated cruise ship is en-route to a Genoa Yard for ship breaking.

The convoy, moving at 2.5 knots, is expected to end its 200-mile passage on Sunday July 27, 2014.

The Anchor Handling Tug (AHT), Blizzard, is reunited on this tow with her sister vessel AHT Resolve Earl. Their combined 24,000 bhp (17,897 kW) yields 270 tons bollard pull (2,648 kN.)

Tschudi Offshore & Towage, Ijmuiden, Netherlands, operates ATH Blizzard. Resolve Marine Group, Ft Lauderdale Florida, operates ATH Resolve Earl.

Originally the Dockwise Vanguard was envisioned to retrieve the mortally wounded Costa Concordia.

However, that plan was scuttled when in May 2014, the president of Tuscany said he would ban the semi-submersible heavy lift ship Dockwise Vanguard from approaching the Island of Giglio.

Enrico Rossi said he would physically prevent the Vanguard, the largest of its type in the world, from entering the region to lift and transport the wreck because of environmental hazards. 

Lifting the stricken cruise ship onto the 117,000-ton-lift-capacity Dockwise Vanguard ran the risk of displacing thousands of tons of water, much of it polluted by the ship's sewage and other contaminants.

Rossi was prepared to "deploy a small chain of boats around the wreck to protect it" from the Dockwise Vanguard. (Tradewinds Shipping News, May 2014.)

The journey through pristine waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea into the Ligurian Sea to Genoa has environmentalist on edge. To that end, sensors attached to the hull of the Concordia will monitor for possible cracks in the crippled hull. Underwater cameras will watch for debris washing out of the vessel amid fears toxic waste could spill into the sea.

Objects floating free such as suitcases, clothes and furniture will be caught in a huge net while infrared sensors will be used to detect possible oil leaks at night.

And the body of one more passenger is somewhere in the chaotic interior of the vessel.

The islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea are magnets for SCUBA and snorkel diving. For more than two years, the Costa Concordia became the de facto tourist attraction on the Isola del Giglio. The sleepy island community of ~900 was soon overwhelmed with tourists and an army of 600 salvage workers.

Whilst the salvage crews lived on dormitory barges, they still needed to grab a brew after work. See "We'll Die Without that Boat."

Built at a cost of US$570 million (€450 million (£372 million) and placed in service in July 2006, Costa Concordia was superbly outfitted.

• 1,500 cabins; 505 with private balconies and 55 with direct access to the Samsara Spa and were considered Spa staterooms.
• One of the world's largest exercise facility areas at sea, the Samsara Spa, a two-level, 6,000 m2 (64,600 sq ft) fitness center, with gym, a physiotherapy pool, sauna, Turkish bath and a solarium.
• Four swimming pools, two with retractable roofs, five jacuzzis, five spas, and a poolside movie theatre on the main pool deck.
• Five restaurants, with Club Concordia and Samsara taking reservations-only dining.
• Thirteen bars, including a cigar and cognac bar and a coffee and chocolate bar.
• For entertainment, options included a three-level theater, casino, a futuristic disco, and a children's area equipped with video game products.
• A Grand Prix motor racing simulator
• Internet café.

Interior Before / After

 Bodacious Salvage 

A joint venture between Titan Salvage, a U.S. company owned by Crowley Maritime Group in Jacksonville Florida, and Micoperi SRL, an Italian company specializing in engineering and installation of offshore structures and undersea pipelines.

Key elements included parbuckling the vessel onto a steel cradle and fabrication of sponsons to provide flotation for the vessel.

Drone flyover shows details of work in progress.

Thirty sponsons were fabricated and welded to the Concordia to provide floatation, utilizing:
•  31,000 tons of steel
•  9 tons of welding rod consumed to build the sponsons and attach them to the ship
•  33 km of weld bead were laid
•  13,000 individual dives were logged

Work commenced in May 2012, and the vessel was up righted, floating on sponsons attached to the hull, in September 2013.

Slack Bridge Management

There is disturbing evidence that slack Bridge Management may have contributed to the disaster. For details read  "Costa Concordia: Anatomy of an Organizational Accident," in "Further Reading" below.

Last July, five employees of the cruise company were convicted of manslaughter in the shipwreck, receiving sentences of less than three years that lawyers for victims and survivors criticized as too lenient.

Currently, Francesco Schettino, 53, the ship's captain, is on trial, charged with manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster, and abandoning ship with passengers still on board.

A Moldovan dancer, Domnica Cemortan, 26, who was on the bridge, has admitted in court that she and the married captain were lovers, after having repeatedly denied the rumors in public. Prosecutors say her presence on the bridge that night distracted Capt Schettino and contributed to the accident, which cost the lives of 32 people.

The Associated Press reports Cemortan also told the court that she boarded the Costa Concordia as a nonpaying passenger, saying, "When you are someone's lover no one asks you for a ticket."


Even as the Costa Concordia sails into history as the biggest salvage operation in history, yet another extraordinary salvage job is about to take place in the East China Sea, where 101 days ago today the Ro-Ro Ferry Sewol broached and sank.

New Video:  Shot at Sea 

See Also:  Addio Costa Concordia - Update

Further Reading:
1. "Bollard Pull," Capt. P. Zahalka, Association of Hanseatic Marine Underwriters.
2. "Costa Concordia: Anatomy of an Organizational Accident." Human factors resulting in wreck.
3. "Modern ships Voyage Data Recorders: A forensics perspective on the Costa Concordia shipwreck." Black Box analysis of trajectory of Costa Concordia.
4. "Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports, Marine Casualties Investigative Body Cruise Ship Costa Concordia." Detailed Preliminary Incident Report.
5. Copernicus Satellites: "Recovery operations Assisted From Space."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chef Ramsay Awakens from his Kitchen Nightmares!

Ah, yes, once again chef Gordon Ramsay is providing positive feed back to a hapless owner of a failing restaurant, weeks away from shuttering his business. I confess to watching even the re-runs of this fascinating program, Kitchen Nightmares.

And so it saddened me to learn that last week, iconic chef Ramsay announced the end of Kitchen Nightmares. Spanning a decade, producing 123 hour-long mini-dramas, Gordon moves on to other adventures.

Of course dozens of memorable confrontations between Gordon and failing restaurateurs will survive into syndication, allowing us to relive our favorites.

[Ed Note: Despite its close relationship to restaurant, there is no "n" in restaurateur, either in its spelling or in its pronunciation. Oxford American Dictionary of Current English.]

The most explosive, and grotesquely entertaining episode was Gordon's visit to Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona. In the opening; pleasant repartee between Gordon, Amy and her husband, Samy Bouzaglo.

(See Season 6 program 16, Amy's Baking Company.  The original broadcast May 10, 2013.)

Faster than a Western Diamond Back rattlesnake, Amy strikes and  began spewing venom, resulting in an acrimonious exchange with Gordon!

Soon we learn that Amy's Baking Company had become embroiled in guerrilla warfare with Scottsdale Bloggers. The first shot reportedly fired by Joel Latondress, an IT (Information Technology) worker who writes a recipe Blog and likes to dine out.  He posted a review on Yelp, critical of a pizza he was served at Amy's Baking Company.

[Ed Note: Similar in concept to "Angie's List," Yelp is a multinational corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2004 reviewers submit feed-back to help others decide on local businesses like dentists, hair stylists and mechanics.]

Unfortunately, rather than disregarding the criticism, Amy fired back a scathing rebuttal.  Thus began the ongoing skirmish. While most of us know that  by responding, we "fee the beast," Amy's ego and prideful response threw gasoline on the fire; "All those who gave them negative feedback on social media are "pansies" who "have no balls."

In an unprecedented action, Kitchen Nightmares returned to Scottsdale the following season. In Return to Amy's Baking Company, April 11, 2014, things went from bad to worse, with Samy demanding money for his appearance on the show.

Ostensibly to repair their besmirched  reputation, Amy and Samy took their case to Dr. Phil. Bad decision. Dr. Phil had obviously watched the original Kitchen Nightmare program.  And once again, things did not go so well.

ABC have apparently tried to capitalize on their "fame" with an outlandish collection of tee-shirts and baseball caps.

This shirt captures the moment surrounding a pizza, served not only to a local resident who ignited the email firestorm, but also referring to a bad pizza served to chef Ramsay.

A comment in the Huffington Post stated, "While Restaurant Nightmares launched his career, it may have led to the demise of others." I don't think so. The writer doesn't seem familiar with how the formula works.

While it is true 60% of the restaurants failed after GR, including one that  went under during filming, one must remember that the only reason Gordon went to these establishments was that they were already failing. And requested his help to avoid floundering!

Gordon Ramsay began  this television odyssey in England. From 2004 - 2007.  Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares produced 5 series, with 32 episodes. Beginning in 2007 "Ramsay's" was dropped from the program title, and 7 seasons, 90 programs, were produced in the United States under the title Kitchen Nightmares.

What follows is a listing of "winners and losers." The list does not include the original episodes, "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares," filmed in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Season One (2007)
•  Peter's, Babylon, New York - Closed in December 2008
•  Dillon's, New York, New York - (Renamed Purnima by Ramsay) - Closed in late 2009
•  The Mixing Bowl, Bellmore, New York - Closed in 2009
•  Seascape, Islip, New York - Closed in 2007, only five months after filming
•  The Olde Stone Mill, Tuckahoe, New York - Open
•  Sebastian's, Toluca Lake, California - Closed in January 2008
•  Finn McCool's, Westhampton, New York - Closed in March 2012
•  Lela's, Ponoma, California - Closed during filming 
•  Campania, Fair Lawn, New Jersey - Sold in 2010, closed in January 2011
•  The Secret Garden, Moorpark, California - Open

Season Two (2008-2009) 
•  Handlebar, Mount Sinai, New York - Sold in 2010, then closed in 2011
•  Giuseppe's, Macomb Township, Michigan - Closed in July 2009
•  Trobiano's, Great Neck, New York - Closed in October 2008
•  Black Pearl, New York, New York - Closed in 2008, four days after the episode aired
•  J Willy's, South Bend, Indiana - Closed February 2009
•  Hannah & Mason's, Cranbury, New Jersey - Closed in February 2010
•  Jack's Waterfront, St. Clair Shores, Michigan - Closed in late 2010
•  Sabatiello's, Stamford, Connecticut - Closed in October 2008
•  Fiesta Sunrise, West Nyack, New York - Closed in September 2008
•  Sante La Brea, Los Angeles, California - Closed in June 2011
•  Café 36, La Grange, Illinois - Closed in 2009

Season Three (2010) 
•  Hot Potato Café, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Closed in 2011
•  Flamangos, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey - (Renamed The Junction) Closed in 2011
•  Bazzini, Ridgewood, New Jersey - Closed in early 2011
•  Mojito, Brooklyn, New York - Open
•  Lido di Manhattan, Manhattan Beach, California - Open
•  Le Bistro, Lighthouse Point, Florida - Open
•  Casa Roma, Lancaster, California - Open
•  Mama Rita's, Newbury Park, California - Closed in 2011
•  Anna Vicenzo's, Boca Raton, Florida - Closed in early 2011
•  Fleming, Miami, Florida - Closed in October 2010
•  Sushi-Ko, Thousand Oaks, California - Closed in August 2009, weeks after filming

Season 4 (2011) 
•   Spanish Pavillion, Harrison, New Jersey - Open
•  Classic American, West Babylon, New York - Closed in 2013
•  PJ's Steakhouse, Queens, New York - Closed in May 2009, only weeks after filming
•  Grasshopper Also, Carlstadt, New Jersey - Closed in October 2012
•  Davide, Boston, Massachusetts - Closed in January 2012
•  Down City, Providence, Rhode Island - Closed in December 2011
•  Tavolini, Bridgeport, Connecticut - Closed in December 2011, only weeks after filming
•  Kingston Café, Pasadena, California - Open
•  La Frite, Sherman Oaks, California - Open
•  Capri, Eagle Rock, California - Open
•  Zeke's, Metairie, Louisiana - Closed in October 2012
•  Ocean, New Orleans, Louisiana - Open

Season Five (2011 to 2012)
•Blackberry's, Plainfield, New Jersey - Closed in March 2013
•  Leone's, Montclair, New Jersey - Open
•  Mike & Nellie's, Oakhurst, New Jersey - Closed in January 2012
•  Luigi's D'Italia, Anaheim, California - Open
•  Burger Kitchen, Los Angeles, California - Closed in February 2012
•  The Greek at the Harbor, Ventura, California - Open
•  Michon's, College Park, Georgia - Closed in August 2013
•  El Greco, Austin, Texas - Closed in December 2011
•  Park's Edge, Atlanta, Georgia - Closed in July 2013
•  Spin A Yarn Steakhouse, Fremont, California - Open
•  Charlie's, La Verne, California - Closed in 2012
•  Café Hon, Baltimore, Maryland - Open
•  Chiarella's, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Open
•  Zocalo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Closed in December 2012, months after filming

Season 6 (2012 to 2013) 
•  La Galleria, Boston, Massachusetts - Open
•  Mama Maria's, Brooklyn, New York - Open
•  Ms. Jean's Southern Cuisine, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania - Open
•  Barefoot Bob's, Hull, Massachusetts - Open
•  Olde Hitching Post Restaurant & Tavern, Hanson, Massachusetts - Open
•  Levanti's Italian Restaurant, Beaver, Pennsylvania - (Renamed Levanti's American Bistro by Ramsay) - Closed in November 2013
•  Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room, Monrovia, California - Closed in January 2014
•  Nino's Italian Restaurant, Long Beach, California - Open
•  Mill Street Bistro, Norwalk, Ohio - (Renamed Maple City Tavern in December 2013) - Open
•  Yanni's, Seattle, Washington - Open
•  Prohibition Grille, Everett, Washington - Open
•  Chappy's, Nashville, Tennessee - Closed in June 2013
•  Amy's Baking Company, Scottsdale, Arizona - Open. No help provided.

Season Seven (2014) 
•  Re-visit, Amy's Baking Company, Scottsdale, Arizona - Open. No help provided.
•  Pantaleone's, Denver, Colorado - Open
•  Old Neighborhood Restaurant, Arvada, Colorado - Open
•  Kati Allo, Queens, New York - Open
•  Mangia Mangia, Woodland Park, Colorado - Open
•  Zayna Flaming Grill, Redondo Beach, California - Open
•  Bella Luna, Easton, Pennsylvania - Closed in November 2013, months after filming

We can take solace in that Hell's Kitchen is still in production, and most assuredly, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Kitchen Nightmares will go into syndication, assuring us of many hours of constructive and inspirational entertainment!

"Chefs are so proud and filled with martyrism that they would rather sit there and sink than think out of the box and fix it. When they do well, it is never [publicized]. When they don’t do well, you get the blame for it." Gordon Ramsay.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Boeing 737s Crash into the Clark Fork River! (Updated August 4)

Thursday afternoon, July 3, 2014, three Boeing 737's crashed into the Clark Fork River!

Montana Rail Link (MRL) spokeswoman Linda Frost says  the derailment happened around 4p.m. 18 miles east of Superior near Fish Creek Road and Interstate 90.

A total of 19 cars derailed; six cars were transporting 737 fuselages; three of them nose dived toward the river. Three cars carrying soybeans, three cars with denatured alcohol and the other seven were empty. No alcohol or soybeans leaked and no one was hurt.

The fuselages were en-route from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas to final assembly at Boeing in Renton, Washington.

Fuselages covered in protecting coating passing through Renton on the old Milwaukee Road down the middle of Hauser Way, thence to the Fab Building on Lake Washington.  This is the same facility that I was fortunate to witness the first flight of a Boeing 707, from the cab of a salvage barge anchored at the end of the runway!

(Added Aug 4th.) Three fuselages that went down the embankment, plus three damaged when the transporter jumped tracks, were scrapped in situ. 

A spokesman for Pacific Steel & Recycling, located in Missoula Montana, said the company brought out a portable crusher that they use to turn automobiles into cubes.

A  fuselage was pulled apart with a backhoe and then crushed into bales. Each fuselage was reduced to about 15 bales of compressed metal, mostly aluminum. The bales were trucked to a shredding facility in Idaho.

That should allay fears that future 737 flights did not take a  dip in the Clark Fork!

This derailment occurred approximately 20 miles from the scene of another derailment last September (2013.)

In that event, MRL spokesperson Lynda Frost says 24 of the 66 car train derailed, sending some of them down a steep slope and into the Clark Fork River.

It's scenes like these that have anti-oil unit train groups sounding the alarm. Imagine DOT-111A with Bakken Crude aboard. The rocky embankment could tear the cars open like a cheap beer can!

Leaving this story on a brighter note, students of "The Road" recall beautiful scenes like this, captured by Ron V. Nixon.

A pair of Little Joes lead a mob of Geeps along the Clark Fork River. The caption reads "Milwaukee E-73, E-20, 189, 183 and 17 near Superior, Montana,  June 14, 1974."