Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading

Presentation on the automation & repair off the NWP Blackpoint rail swing bridge over the Petaluma river to the 3-8-17 mtg of the NCRA.

  • Currently 0/5 stars.

Views: 172


You need to be a member of Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network to add comments!

Join Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Comment by Dave S. on April 9, 2017 at 10:59am

At long last, I think I've figured out that "Conley" refers to Conley Frog and Switch Co. for their patented railway bridge joint:

This patent was applied for in 1946 and granted in 1950 which begs the question, how were these bridge joints closed during Black Point's first 50 years of operation?

Conley was acquired in 2011 by Atlantic Track:

Atlantic Track website:

But I'm not seeing miter rails or bridge joints offered in their Source Book:

Apparently these bridge joints, whether manufactured by Conley, its successors, or others, are informally referred to as "Conleys" throughout the railroad industry, hence the reference in the video.

Here's a really good article on movable bridge automation:

Comment by Steve Atnip on March 10, 2017 at 2:29pm

Here is a good view

Comment by Steve Atnip on March 10, 2017 at 2:23pm

The reference was to, can't guarantee the spelling here, "Connellys" These are the pieces at the ends of each rail that drop to make the final connection. They can be seen in some of the videos of the old and new Haystack bridges. It shouldn't be any MORE of a problem, since they have been dealing with this all along.

Comment by Dave S. on March 10, 2017 at 1:43pm

Here's the accident report at an automated bridge which resulted in a serious hazardous materials spill.  The accident occurred after a series of reliability problems over several months where the "slides" on the bridge failed to lock properly and give the crew a green signal.  This is interesting because it sounds like Black Point may face a similar problem.

All very interesting, but if you read nothing else, see sec. 1.8.2, on p. 20.

Comment by Dave S. on March 10, 2017 at 1:07pm

Great video Steve!  Thanks for recording the meeting.  Love these details!

This is a major milestone for the Black Point bridge -- Full Automation.  No more rowing out there to close the bridge!

I wonder why CalTrans is involved in this project?  Unless they provided funding I don't see why they should be required to sign-off on it.

I will probably play the video again this weekend to catch some of the difficult-to-hear stuff and might have more to say about it then.  For example he says that the hot sun distorts the bridge and the (indecipherable, wedge/bevel rails?) won't go down all the way to actuate limit switches.  This requires someone to go out there and literally jump on them to set them into position to make each limit switch.  Then he brushes this off as only an issue during the daytime and shouldn't be a problem for NWP Co. because most of their moves will be at night.  Sounds sleazy to me, and a board member sorta scoffs at that too.

The other weird thing is that they decided to keep that old drive mechanism (contraption) and engine for emergencies?  Part of the problem is that complex Rube Goldberg mechanism is difficult to maintain and keep operational.  Unless they are seriously worried about the electronics (redundancy is cheap), it would be better to have a standby generator and rip out all that old stuff. 

Would love to know what kind of PLC and VFD hardware they are using.  I assume the bridge will now operate via a coded radio signal from the NWP cab.

Now they need to again put Christmas lights on the Black Point Bridge and celebrate!

© 2017   Created by Mark Drury.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service