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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > C&D Canal RR Bridge -Be Aware
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Thread: C&D Canal RR Bridge -Be Aware Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-21-2008 10:23 AM
JimsCAL Here's an "old" C&D canal sea story:

In my younger days (1960s and 1970s), I was a licensed engineer on US flag cargo vessels. I was on watch in the engine room of a 600 ft steam turbine powered dry cargo vessel as we were transiting the C&D Canal on the way to Philadelphia from Baltimore. I suddenly felt some light bumps and then got a lot of frantic "bells" from the bridge on the engine order telegraph, asking for full astern, etc. Seems the canal authoriy had sent us and another ship going the other way though one of the bridges at the same time. Since it was wide enough for only one large vessel at a time, we touched bows and our ship ended up aground. Luckily damage was minor an we were able to proceed to Philadelphia where the USCG met us. Since I was the engineer on watch, I was interviewed and they compared the bridge bell book to mine in the engine room to verify that I had responded properly to the engine commands from the bridge. I was in the clear, but it was a very tense time for a young junior engineer.
05-21-2008 06:46 AM
Sapperwhite
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saracen2 View Post
You may want to watch this video. Turn the sound on.
It's kind of lets you know what a worst case scenario would be.
I can dig up the Transportation Safety Boards investigation if you want it.

w-w-wDOTwaggonerguideDOTcom/__bridge_there.wmv

You guys know what to do with the DOT's. They wouldn't let me post the link.
Here you go www.waggonerguide.com/__bridge_there.wmv
05-21-2008 06:22 AM
Rockter A while back I was motoring into a Scottish port. I was unsure of the approach, and came in too close to the shore... my fault. As I arrived, the harbour master said "I was just about to call the coastguard, you went right over that rock" (a local, and well-known, ship-sinker).
I asked why he did not attempt to call me first. I got no answer, just another smile.

That I gave it a very wide berth in future was not the only lesson learned.

It's a game to some of these port people there guys... a game, and jolly entertaining too it seems.
05-21-2008 02:08 AM
Saracen2 You may want to watch this video. Turn the sound on.
It's kind of lets you know what a worst case scenario would be.
I can dig up the Transportation Safety Boards investigation if you want it.

w-w-wDOTwaggonerguideDOTcom/__bridge_there.wmv

You guys know what to do with the DOT's. They wouldn't let me post the link.

I've operated 3 different swing bridges in the Vancouver,BC region for over 25 years. Only once did I come close to swinging the bridge in front of a vessel.

This vessel was a float plane, planing along the water at a good clip when it came out of the glare from the sun in the early morning.

I did call the company and let them know I wasn't impressed with their pilots actions.

All the best.
05-21-2008 01:27 AM
labatt
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveAndLuck View Post
The people on the schooner were asleep (yes asleep) at the wheel and a barge hit them.
It was a schooner that was sunk, and no - the people were not asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately, the article on exactly what happened is now archived.
05-20-2008 10:35 PM
Freesail99
Quote:
The people on the schooner were asleep (yes asleep) at the wheel and a barge hit them
I started a thread about that accident when it happened last year. I be dammed if I can find it to post here. But I do not remember reading any thing about them being asleep at the wheel. I guess I am from Missouri on this one.
05-20-2008 10:09 PM
LoveAndLuck I have my boat in the Summit North Marina and one night last year near 11:30 PM there was a very large and tall ship (one of the largest I have seen on the canal) traveling east and was just west of the RR Bridge. I heard 5 quick blasts from the ship, as it noticed the RR Bridge was lowered awaiting the nightly train. The RR Bridge was quickly raised so the ship could pass. About 5 minutes later a train passed on the bridge. I would think someone in charge of the bridge would have knowledge of major commercial ship movements and train crossings. This major event was averted just in the nick of time as the ship would have taken out the bridge.


Also last year a 42-foot schooner was sunk in the C&D at 3:30 A.M. The people on the schooner were asleep (yes asleep) at the wheel and a barge hit them. The sailboat went down like a rock. And also last year a go-fast boat hit a wake, went airborne, the occupants went into the water and the boat went on the hard and hit a telephone pole. The boat operator was 2x over the alcohol limit. They we part of a poker run with tons of go-fast boats running 40-60 knots. I know this as I was motoring at 6 knots heading out for a day of fun in the Delaware.

Be extra careful on the canal.

Bob Figgs
s/v Love and Luck
05-19-2008 01:20 PM
brak Many railroad bridges are unmanned - the operator is located in remote center, and has a couple of video cameras and a radio feed.
05-19-2008 01:17 PM
labatt I think it's about par for the course for railroad bridges. We've had the same issue with numerous railroad bridges, including the one in Manasquan - hail a million times and get no response. I'll be very interested to find out how this whole thing works out.
05-19-2008 12:15 PM
jimmalkin Tom - I contacted the Phila office of the Army Corps of Engineers and was directed to Jim Tomlin of their group who works at the C&D Canal. He stated that yachts are not required to contact the Authority when transiting the Canal but that they should have responded to my initial hail on 13.
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