.
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Embankments

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    United Kingdom, Nr Leicester
    Posts
    996
     

    Default Embankments

    On my way home from getting my 2nd covid jab I noticed a local farmer had bulldozed an embankment to giv better access for his machinery.
    I always marvel how an embankment stays stable after 150 plus years, built by hand so I took a photo.
    http://rog.pynguins.com/static/ingarsby.jpg
    There is nothing in it apart from spoil from cuttings really and there were no heavy machinery to tamp it down.
    a local bypass resembles a roller coaster in parts and that is not 20yrs old.
    They earned there coin in those days!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Massachusetts, Haverhill
    Posts
    29,547
     

    Default

    It really is amazing how that construction was done. There are so many grades like this around my area and I am amazed at the work done to create them. I only wish other people would feel the same.

    There are so many other engineering marvels such as that simple grade. Some of the most beautiful bridges and tunnels were created with early engineering tools and dangerous hand labor.

    Located about 175 miles west of where I live in eastern Massachusetts, is what was once the longest tunnel in North America until the big tunnels were built in in the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies. The Hoosac Tunnel, a 4.75-mile bore was done using sighting towers, plumblines and small holes. When the two halves met, they were off only a inch or two over the 4.75-miles of tunnel. In those days, there were no automatic laser-GPS aligned machines. This tunnel was dug mostly by hand with the help of black powder, nitroglycerine and finally some dynamite at the end. As the tunnel was built, modern engineering practices were developed including blasting patterns, explosives, and other things that are still used today. The first patented boring machine was tested on the eastern end (east portal) and got stuck in the very hard granite, gneiss, schist, and quartzite. The machine was proof of concept and it wasn't until much later that a more powerful machine could do the work. As the spoils were dug from the bore, the material was used to build the approaching embankment that crossed the Deerfield River.

    If that wasn't enough, the western side proved totally different with large amounts of running water and porridge stone. Porridge rock is a high-water content soft stone made up of mica, sand, and granite. Because of the soft nature of this porridge stone, the mouth caved in and the brickwork was done by hand in 1870s. This brickwork can still be seen today holding the tunnel mouth open on the west end for the few trains that pass through the tunnel daily. Sadly, this is a far cry from when the tunnel first opened with nearly 100 trains per day at that time requiring electrification in 1911. That ended in 1946 when a diesel lead train pulled through the tunnel without switching locomotives.

    Hoosac Tunnel Then and Now – By, Jerry Kelley (jkrails.net)

    I recommend watching the video on this line!
    Hoosac Electric Locomotives – Hoosac Tunnel Then and Now (jkrails.net)
    Last edited by JCitron; April 29th, 2021 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Forgot direct link to page with video!
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    United Kingdom, Nr Leicester
    Posts
    996
     

    Default

    An interesting read John, I take it they never found the foreman who was using the nitro magazine as a bath house!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Massachusetts, Haverhill
    Posts
    29,547
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost42 View Post
    An interesting read John, I take it they never found the foreman who was using the nitro magazine as a bath house!
    Ha Ha! Very good. That stuff wasn't very pure and would blow up if you looked at it the wrong way.

    This story is a bit of a yarn, but it's a comical read on how the frozen nitroglycerine survived. Another source I read makes more sense. The wagonload of nitroglycerine was being carried from the west side where it was manufactured to break up the ice jam on the Deerfield River at the dam. The dam was important to the project because the sluiceway fed the compressor building, used for the drills, and the power generator to power the explosives equipment.

    The horse tripped and the wagon tipped over dumping the cans of nitroglycerine and the driver on to the ground. The driver lay there thinking he was blown up or about to be blown up but discovered the frozen nitroglycerine survived intact. It was this discovery that helped advance the progress of the tunnel's construction.

    NitroGlycerine (paulwmarino.org)
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Meridian, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    4,068
     

    Default

    Thanks for the historical info and a great video John. I love to see old footage from back in the day like that.
    With regard to embankments, I have seen that the 90-degree cuts seem to last longer than those where someone tried to do other angles, or "the angle of repose". That just seems to lead to more erosion than anything, whereas the vertical cut seems to weather the years well. But of course I am no expert!
    Last edited by Forester1; April 29th, 2021 at 06:17 PM.
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” - R.L.S.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Massachusetts, Haverhill
    Posts
    29,547
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester1 View Post
    Thanks for the historical info and a great video John. I love to see old footage from back in the day like that.
    With regard to embankments, I have seen that the 90-degree cuts seem to last longer than those where someone tried to do other angles, or "the angle of repose". That just seems to lead to more erosion than anything, whereas the vertical cut seems to weather the years well. But of course I am no expert!
    I've noticed that as well with embankments.

    I love history like this and seek out information all the time especially on my local railroads. My area has some of the earliest rail lines in the US with one dating back to the mid-1820s. That line was used to haul granite blocks and its ROW is still in existence, although devoid of track. Part of the track is preserved, however, and is in a park at a museum dedicated to the granite quarry in Quincy Mass. The Andover and Wilmington was built in 1830-31 along with the Boston and Lowell. The B&L used granite sleepers with iron rails, wagons, and locomotives imported from Great Britain. The sleepers were replaced by wood after they found them to be too rigid. The stiffness caused the locomotives to shake apart from the vibrations. Both of these lines are still in use today as both freight and passenger routes.
    Last edited by JCitron; April 30th, 2021 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Fixed typo
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Alabama, Birmingham
    Posts
    3,544
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    My area has some of the earliest rail lines in the US with one dating back to the mid-820s.
    That would be the Alfred the Great line?

    William

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Meridian, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    4,068
     

    Default

    Interesting comment about the Granite sleepers. I wonder how or if it relates at all to the current trend of replacing wood with concrete. I am guessing they may have the issue figured out, especially as they want more speed these days. And maybe today's engines shake apart less. I just finished reading Ambrose's Nothing Like it in the World, and was surprised they started out the UP in Nebraska with Cottonwood ties, as that was all there was available. They had a process to replace the water in the ties with zinc, but still could only expect them to last a year or two. But they were in a hurry....
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” - R.L.S.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Massachusetts, Haverhill
    Posts
    29,547
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wreeder View Post
    That would be the Alfred the Great line?

    William
    That's definitely and old line. I fixed it! Thanks for point that out.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Massachusetts, Haverhill
    Posts
    29,547
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester1 View Post
    Interesting comment about the Granite sleepers. I wonder how or if it relates at all to the current trend of replacing wood with concrete. I am guessing they may have the issue figured out, especially as they want more speed these days. And maybe today's engines shake apart less. I just finished reading Ambrose's Nothing Like it in the World, and was surprised they started out the UP in Nebraska with Cottonwood ties, as that was all there was available. They had a process to replace the water in the ties with zinc, but still could only expect them to last a year or two. But they were in a hurry....
    It does bring up a point, but I think the fastening process and other things are different today compared to back in the 1830s. That is interesting about the cottonwood. They are a soft "hardwood" tree that's grown for cheap wood products such as pallets, and grow very quickly to maturity in 10-30 years according to Wikipedia, and are in the poplar family like aspen and other poplars. The zinc was probably used to keep the insects out of it.
    Last edited by JCitron; May 1st, 2021 at 04:43 PM.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Georgia, Rocky Face
    Posts
    4,928
    Blog Entries
    39
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    It does bring up a point, but I think the fastening process and other things are different today compared to back in the 1830s. That is interesting about the cottonwood. They are a soft "hardwood" tree that's grown for cheap wood products such as pallets, and grow very quickly to maturity in 10-30 years according to Wikipedia, and are in the popular family like aspen and other populars. The zinc was probably used to keep the insects out of it.
    Populars? Don't you mean poplars?
    Owner of Freeman Locomotive Works.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    United States of America, Massachusetts, Haverhill
    Posts
    29,547
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jordon412 View Post
    Populars? Don't you mean poplars?
    Typos. I have eye medication to help with dry eyes that effects my vision. I thought I fixed the typos, but I didn't.

    I'll fix my original post.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •