Windmill train in Seattle?

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RacerTodd

New Member
I was cruising down Airport Wy S in Seattle today, checking out what trains were parked on the Military tracks.

Barely visible was what I am fairly certain is a windmill train. It was hard to see as there was a vehicle train parked on one of the Military tracks that almost completely blocked my view of them.

I did a quick 180, parked and walked over the Albro Place overpass to get a photo. Not the best angle, but this was the only place I could get a shot.

They're parked east of the BNSF mains in that little yard, not sure if those are UP or BNSF tracks.

Does anyone have the scoop on these cars? Like, when are they leaving and what route are they taking? I'd LOVE to get video of them!

Todd
 

SP&SFan

MP 72 - BNSF Spokane Sub.
Blades going to AK..

I was cruising down Airport Wy S in Seattle today, checking out what trains were parked on the Military tracks.

Barely visible was what I am fairly certain is a windmill train. It was hard to see as there was a vehicle train parked on one of the Military tracks that almost completely blocked my view of them.

I did a quick 180, parked and walked over the Albro Place overpass to get a photo. Not the best angle, but this was the only place I could get a shot.

They're parked east of the BNSF mains in that little yard, not sure if those are UP or BNSF tracks.

Does anyone have the scoop on these cars? Like, when are they leaving and what route are they taking? I'd LOVE to get video of them!

Todd
Todd,

The blades are going to the old MILW ferry slip to be shipped to Alaska.. It was a UP train that came thru the Columbia Gorge yesterday and made it's way to the point you saw them last night and early this morning.. I'll ask around to give you more specific instructions on how to get to the slip and maybe when they might be going to Alaska..


SP&SFan
 

Sinamox

loading...please wait.
Is the "old MILW ferry slip" the one on the north end of Harbor Island?
There's only one.
They're parked east of the BNSF mains in that little yard, not sure if those are UP or BNSF tracks
UP Van Asselt yard

I'd also like a shot as they move on to pollute the landscape somewhere and would appreciate any intel.

2012-June-1-10:15 PDT - Hasn't left Van Asselt yet
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tacoma Tom

New Member
They have a few big plants where they make those windmills in Colorado. We see those trains pretty often down here. They always put on quite a show. Make sure you have you camcorder ready!
 

pwkrueger

New Member
Hasn't the Harbor Island barge slip always been a UP facility? The MILW slip was on the east side of the East Waterway. The Port of Seattle removed what was left a few years ago

Paul

Paul Krueger
Seattle, WA
 

Rader Sidetrack

New Member
Hasn't the Harbor Island barge slip always been a UP facility? The MILW slip was on the east side of the East Waterway. The Port of Seattle removed what was left a few years ago
I agree. The MILW slip was at Pier 27, but all evidence has been removed. This was close to Hwy 99, and road access was by East Marginal Way South. Here's an earlier thread that has some info about Pier 27:
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29796

And here is a photo. By this time it was a Seattle & North Coast operation.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=246202&nseq=3
The photographer would have been standing at the edge of E Marginal Way looking west.
 

RacerTodd

New Member
I cruised by today. The vehicle train was gone, but the baretables still block the view. Only way to get a good shot is if the Military tracks are totally clear. Got one closer shot from the front. It looks like all blades, I didn't see any pylon sections.

Todd
 

Sinamox

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As I type this I have eyes on the blade cars at the Van Asselt yard (7000 Airport Way S, Seattle). If they move out during business hours I'll post as soon as I can. If the military tracks clear out for a good view (rare). I'll post that as well.

Does anyone have a confirmation that they are to be loaded on the Alaska barge? This week?
 

Sinamox

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I'm still looking at the blade cars at Van Asselt but I believe some of them are missing. Did they move some out last week when I wasn't looking?
 

RacerTodd

New Member
I'm still looking at the blade cars at Van Asselt but I believe some of them are missing. Did they move some out last week when I wasn't looking?
I thought the same when I drove by on Sunday, 6-17. There were originally two cuts of cars on adjacent tracks. I saw only one track now occupied. As I drove by, though, it appears that the two cuts might have been combined onto one track. Hard to tell as the empty wellcars in the way make it hard to count them accurately.

As far as I know, Alaska Marine Lines is the only company that runs railbarges to Alaska out of Seattle. I couldn't find a 2012 schedule, but did find a 2011 schedule that shows departures every Wednesday.

When I'm in Seattle on a Wednesday, I've been trying to go by the Harbor Island area to see if any of the windmills cars are staged up by the barge slip. Haven't seen any there so far. Maybe they're going out on a special non-scheduled barge.

Todd
 

RacerTodd

New Member
I don't think that is the railbarge schedule, but rather their regular container barge schedule.

AML runs barges loaded with containers out of their Duwamish River location. Note the 2nd page lists all the container equipment they use.

The other thing that I'm sure denotes this as the regular container barge schedule is that on the 2nd page is shows multiple destinations on each sailing trip. The railbarges run Seattle to Whittier only.

Todd
 

pwkrueger

New Member
I saw some cars with wind turbine parts on Harbor Island yesterday afternoon on the way home from work. I saw some last week too. It may have been on Tuesday also.

Paul
 

RacerTodd

New Member
Got 'em!!!

The Railfanning Gods intervened today.

I finished up some deliveries south of Seattle around 2pm and business was slow. I decided to run up Airport Way and check on the train. Even with the usual empty wells on the Military tracks, I could see all the windmill cars were gone.

So I decided to head to Harbor Island. As far as I knew, the AML railbarge leaves on Wednesdays so I was hoping to maybe catch them there.

As I hit the Klickitat overpass I could see a string of 8 or so of the windmill cars sitting in the Harbor Island Yard. I could see the AML railbarge sitting at the north end of the island docked in her slip. There was also a UP engine pulling a couple of tankers south on one of the tracks. I was hoping that this was the switch crew coming back to the yard to get the last string of windmill cars and load them on the barge. They were stored in a UPs Van Asselt yard so it was logical that a UP crew would be doing the switching.

That's exactly what was going on. The tankers were being used as idlers (so as to keep the weight of the loco off the bridge). They brought the windmill cars up to the street by the barge and waited while the barge crew was doing their thing.

Everybody on the barge and train crews was cool with me taping. I, of course, stayed on the public street at all times. Also chatted with the security guards. While the cars were on Harbor Island they were guarded by a private security firm 24 hrs a day. Since this was the last of the cars, the guys came over to see them being loaded and shot some photos as well.

I got some excellent footage of 2 cuts of cars being loaded, being tied down and the barge shifting sideways to line up the the bridge with the various tracks on the barge.

I'm transferring the video to my computer right now. It'll take a day or two at least for me to edit it and get it posted on YouTube. I shot about 30 minutes of video total so it'll take a bit of time to get it all cut into a coherent video. I'll get a couple of quick screen grabs up later tonight, just to whet your appetites.

Definitely the coolest and rarest catch in the 3 years I've been railfanning...

Todd
 

RacerTodd

New Member
Photos part 1

1 - Big blade crossing the street.

2 - Shoving them slowly in between the other two cuts of cars.

3 - Barge being shifted. There is a lip on the barge that the bridge rests on while loading. The bridge is raised a foot or two off the lip while shifting.

4 - How they shift the barge sideways. In the foreground are two remote-controlled winches (big gray things). Cables run to pulleys on the two large pilings to the left of the barge then to the barge herself. There is an identical setup on the right side of the barge. The right side winches are reeled in while the left side ones are let out. This slowly moves the barge to the right. In the background is the tug that will pull the the barge up to Alaska.

Todd
 

RacerTodd

New Member
Photos part 2

5 - The barge is now lined up with the far left track. On the cars already inside you can see how they are secured to the barge. Jacks are used to get the weight off the springs in the trucks. This prevents the cars from swaying side to side and possibly upsetting the barge. Heavy-duty ratcheting tie-down chains are used to tightly secure each car to the barge.

6 - Last cars going in. Conductor is in the yellow vest. Orange vest guy is, I think, the loadmaster - he looked like he was in charge. To the right the two security guards I chatted with are watching the proceedings.

7 - UP 627 was our engine today. The three tankers were idlers, to keep the loco off the bridge.

8 - There's the lot of them. A dozen blades ready for the trip. AML stacks containers on top of the rail cars in an effort not to waste any space (and maximize revenue, of course).

Todd
 




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