Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Shipping Odds & Ends

Surely this hasn't been used in ages. Even with its decay, I find this to be a really ascetically pleasing looking little tug.

I would mention what this is now, but as far as we could tell, it's merely a floating dock to tether tugs and other barges to. I know what it used to be though: a railroad transfer barge. I'm told they were used in crowded waterfront spaces as if they were just a another section of land; with freight or passenger cars being unloaded or loaded on them. Thats why there is a large center space between the (remants in the form of clamps) tracks. In this space there was usually a platform for easy access.

This is called a literage barge. In the busy ports of Phildelphia, New York, Baltimore, and others, this was another way of transferring freight, rather than loading it in a wagon, truck, or railcar. It looks like a big box on a barge. This one is lettered for Erie Lackawanna, a railroad that went bankrupt in the late 60's and 70's, and was eventually merged into Conrail. Much of it's trackage is abandoned today.

This is a really curious building. It used to be a power station, but now it has been remodeled into an office building. Some of this is merely cosmetic though: the inside of this tower is a mass of rusting and peeling steel and piping. The enourmous boom out the side had a scoop that would drop down to unload coal from river barges. The coal was then used to generate electricity.

Nearby a building houses these relics, presumably for preservation. Our guess was that these a car to carry the ash from coal burning in the power plant. Apparantely, then this plant had its own little two-foot guage railroad shuffling these things around, and this was perhaps the enginehouse.


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