Walter Strong


image 181. A Southern Railroad box car is waiting the idler flats to couple on for the trip across the ferry apron. Business in Whittier was brisk on this winter day, as you can see another rail barge and tug standing off waiting her turn at the ramp.
image 182. Alaska Railroad flat 2819 is loaded with a tank transporter. Military cargo has been a big part of the freight stream on the railroad. A Union Pacific box car is on the next track.
image 183. Alaska Railroad fish belly flat 2470 with the other half of the tank transporter.
image 184. Another Pennsylvania Railroad waffle side gon loaded with pipe if followed by a large transformer on a flat, finished lumber, and an Alaska Railroad box in interchange service. All these loads were protected from the salt spray and weather on the closed deck of Alaska Steamship Company's Trainship Alaska III.
image 185. The loaded PRR gon is being used as a handle on the barge apron. Four crewmen can be seen on the deck at the rear of the ship.
image 186. Numbers 186 through 193 provide more detail of the mechanical systems used for joining and aligning barges with the apron. The clothing worn by the crewmen reflect the bone chilling cold of the wind and marine environment in winter.
image 187. In the background can be seen caboose 1080 and the old steel coach assigned to the Whittier mixed train. The caboose was painted blue with yellow lettering. The coach is a faded baby blue with a yellow window band hard to distinguish in black and white photos. The end of the barge at the left is fitted with a shelf for the apron to set on.
image 188. This cable will be used to move the barge side to side for alignment.
image 189. Chain binders with screw ratchets are used to pull the barge and apron together.
image 190. More screw binders and wheel chocks are used to secure the car to the deck with chains over the coupler shank.
image 191. The outside track here is aligned for unloading. During the loading and unloading process, the tidal range could be 12 ft and the barge could be drawing more or less water as it is being loaded or unloaded. Timing is everything.
image 192. Three track apron deck viewed from an approaching barge.
image 193. Three track apron deck showing its range of vertical motion on the scale board on the outer tower. In the background can be seen the two finger piers that served the U.S. Army and Union Oil tank farms.

Special thanks goes to the Walter Strong family for providing these images!
Thanks also to Pat Durand for the extended commentaries.

Page created 3/24/11 and last updated 3/24/11
© 2011 Walter Strong collection unless otherwise noted

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