Monday, December 27, 2010


Since reworking the tracks in the port area a few months ago I've been working towards finishing that area on a number of fronts - the R&H Chemical building, the connecting bridge for the coal dock, lighting for the coal dock, the pier bulkheads, and concrete pavement on the pier.    I've been studying historical photos of mostly New York area railroad piers, of which there were a tremendous amount.  The older piers tended to be massive wooden structures with plank decking, while concrete became more prevalent later in the 20th century.  Some of the concrete piers were paved, others were simply ballasted so either way will work for modeling.    The pier in my port is a multi-purpose structure, capable of on or off loading a multitude of freights, from minerals such as iron ore, coal, or whatever, to general freight and steel products.  Of course steel will make up a fair portion of the cargo at this port, which iron ore being imported and finished steel products exported.  The pier has three tracks - although this didn't always mean that three tracks were available - railroads many times would store freight on one or two of the tracks if things got busy and ships were being off-loaded faster than railcars could be loaded.  
Most ships, with the exception of those carrying bulk materials could unload themselves using deck booms.  Since I will be dealing with iron ore I need some sort of crane.  The prototype I am using was a neat little multi-purpose crane used by the Anaconda Copper Company at their Perth Amboy plant.  I am scaling it up just a little since it was used to load narrow gauge railroad cars and I will be loading full sized cars.  See photo.   This crane can change between a claw bucket for unloading ore, sand, ... etc; a hook for general freight; and even an electromagnet for loading pig iron or unloading scrap.  The operational variations are endless.  The S.S. Valhalla is an ore carrier but way way down the road I'll probably build a few different vessels to match the railroads operations.  
I'm using parts from the Walther's Heavy Duty Crane for the hoist and cab assembly - I've wrapped the kit parts with 1/4" I-beam and channel.  Some additional window details have been added to the cab, which will be painted before final assembly.   The crane will be built in sub-assemblies - the hoist/cab; the outer boom; the inner boom; and the legs.  The outer boom and the inner have similar construction, the inner is just bulkier.   I'm using a drawing on a piece of MDF as a guide for gluing up the frames from the outer boom - mostly 1/8" I-beams with an upper 1/4" crosspiece.  I will need six in total for this boom - 10 feet between frames.  

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