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Here's a great film of unloaders at work.
Can anyone add any information on the narrow gauge critter about a minute and a half into the film?

Harvey C.
 

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I thought the operator sat in a cab somewhere up on the tip top of the machine, but he rides the scoop itself! Also didn't know the scoop could rotate while in the ships hold.
 

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Thanks, Harvey. My favorite scene is at 5:48 -, the one where you can see the scoop entering the hold with the operator leaning out of the cab.

There's a good write-up on the basic operation of these massive machines, as well as their history and fate, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulett Though not in use anymore, any design that lasts for almost a hundred years is impressive in my book!
 

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That is a fantastic video--thanks for posting!

I don't know what that loco is, but I recognized that great lakes freighter--I think it is the Algoma ...? I like how they drop the 950 in to clean up the bottom.

Keith
 

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Like Mike said.. Never know how it was done... Very interesting...
 

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Hi Jeff, how have you been!??

Ha ha, nope, I've got a long list of things to build and the darn list keeps getting longer every day. That would be a really cool thing to make, though. I could just see it down at the local r/c boat pond...that would be awesome!
If I ever have enough property someday I'd like to build a rotary coal offloader like Deltaport...those are neat too.

Keith
 

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OMG, it was built using a giant erector set
 

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Too cool.

Yes, it does look like erector. Or maybe some euro version.
 

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Harvey,
The coal piers in Baltimore had a small (narrow) loco that ran between the coal cars to push them in the rotary dumper. This looks similar. It had an arm that would swing down between the cars and spot them. It just caught the corner of the car. This way it did not have to be at the end of a cut.
Ti
 

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Can't believe they where sweeping to get the last bit out. Must be desperate. Later RJD
 

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Posted By Dave F on 10 Jan 2010 10:09 AM
What kind of ore was that... taconite?
Yes - pelletized iron ore.
 

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Posted By aceinspp on 10 Jan 2010 09:59 AM
Can't believe they where sweeping to get the last bit out. Must be desperate. Later RJD
It had to go somewhere. The boat's next cargo wasn't necessarily iron ore, so they had to clean out the holds before the next load anyway. Whatever didn't get unloaded at the dock got swept overboard out in the lake.

That was especially true in the final years the Huletts were in operation (they were last used in 1992, though there was another set in South Chicago used to unload coal from river barges until just a few years ago). By then most of the ore cargoes had switched over to self-unloading boats, so most of the "straight deckers" (boats without their own unloading gear, relying on shoreside equipment like the Huletts) by then were primarily used in the grain trade. Canadian boats like the one in the first part of the video would typically take a grain cargo from the upper lakes down the St. Lawrence Seaway for transshipment into ocean going vessels for export, then come back loaded with iron ore from Labrador. The American grain boats usually carried grain from the upper lakes to the mills in Buffalo, but would pick up the occasional ore cargo when the grain traffic was slow.

The Huletts were designed to unload natural hematite ore, but were also capable of handling taconite pellets. However, the switch to taconite pellets was the main reason for their demise. Natural ore tended to clog up the conveyor systems on self-unloading boats, but they handled taconite pellets very well, and could unload much faster and more efficiently than the Huletts could.
 
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