Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PoNY Marine Shops Deliver Carfloater™ Prototype

In July of 2012 the PoNY RR Marine Shops proposed an operating carfloat service for interchange operations between pocket terminals. Today the Shops delivered the first working prototype for sea trials in the Port of New York.

Built using an old Metro Shelving TV cart, this first prototype of the Carfloater™ is manual drive with 4 large diameter swiveling rubber casters. The top portion that holds the car floats is constructed of lightweight pine 1x4s and oak 2x2 uprights, and it is affixed to the metal cart top with clamps. The upper portion is adjustable at the moment while the marine standards for the layout are being developed. The temporary float bridge at 149th (the white foam core) will be replaced with a Frenchman River float bridge that is to be installed "soon."

The large cart casters allow the float to easily navigate the carpet, and it is smooth enough that there is no fear of toppling the cars during careful movements at this point. A system for securing the cars on board needs to be developed. Later, the float carrier portion will be wider and modeled as harbor water, which will provide a place for sideways toppling cars to land instead of falling all the way to the floor. This prototype is designed to allow for up to a 36" long car float, and a locking mechanism will be developed during the testing period securing it for transfers.

All I need is a place for the Carfloater™ to sail back and forth to. In the operating scheme, traffic will be dispatched from Jersey City (this is a recent change from the originally planned modeling of Croxton yard) where there will be three lift bridges - no waiting! Jersey City could be thought of as a working staging yard, as this will be the main connection to the rest of the Erie and the United States. Until that is built, this gives me some push to start on the next pocket yard.

Sea trials are scheduled to begin later in the week and continue throughout the summer months.

Existing 149th car float slip.

An old Metro Shelving TV cart, some scrap lumber, screws and a few clamps are the only ingredients.

The temporary foam core float bridge is the only grade at the 1-4-9. A rail on the near track popped up from the ties shortly after installing and has been a rather rude bump while servicing floats. I'm looking forward to the new float bridge as much for eliminating the bump as for getting rid of the white foam core.

The existing car float landing is a piece of 1x4 cantilevered from the bench work providing a precarious perch for a wooden car float model. This 5 minute Jerry-rigged solution has actually worked pretty well.

The upside down float stand being drilled and screwed.

Two oak upright posts with a 1x4 serving as a car float pad. Clamps secure the posts allowing for height adjustment during sea trials and to the cart since this won't be a permanent member of the marine roster. The stand actually made a pretty good work bench while constructing the float carriage, so it may be re-purposed afterward.

There is a little warpage on the top piece simulating how the harbor can get a little choppy on windy days...

The existing float bridge track is laid to match the first float I acquired. You guessed it, this doesn't match the Frenchman River models' standards. Not sure if I simply can't use this nice scratch-built float anymore or if I try to modify it. My fear is that the eBay gods will be getting an offering at some point.

View from downstream. There is plenty of length for a three foot float.

Looking down the sights.

Overhead view of the 6-car scratch-built (by others) float. This is actually a pretty good size for the 149th street operations. Having 2-4 more cars to unload and load on a larger float might get tricky due to track lengths in on shore.

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