Thursday, February 12, 2009

New locomotives get a lift

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MTA Staten Island Railway’s revitalized freight operation recently took delivery of four new locomotives from Brookville Equipment Corp. Normally, domestic locomotives are delivered by rail, but the equipment move to Staten Island required something out of the ordinary—a barge, high-lift crane, and a steerable trailer.

SIR has a rail connection to New sirweb1.jpgJersey via Conrail and the Arthur Kill Lift Bridge. In 2006, the railroad was resurrected for limited service on the west side of Staten Island via the Arthur Kill bridge to the New York Container Terminal, Arlington Yard, and the Travis Spur in 2006. The main line, however, does not currently connect with SIR’s Clifton Shop, which services SIR’s rapid transit cars.

The SIR units’ journey began Jan. 14, when they departed Brookville’s shops on the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad. Following delivery to the Port of Newark by CSX, the four were hoisted onto a Weeks Marine barge for a short ferry to Staten Island. Arriving at Homeport, a Navy dock built to accommodate Navy battle groups during World War II, the barge waited off shore while a Weeks Marine crew prepared the crane for duty.

With the barge secured and a Supor & Sons heavy-duty, 12-axle, steerable low-boy trailer in place, the Weeks crane hoisted the first SIR locomotive sirweb2.jpginto the air and onto the trailer, where it was lashed into place. The trailer guided the 115-ton locomotive through several narrow roads to the SIR Clifton Shop just over a half mile away.

This process was repeated three more times and was completed in about four hours.