Saturday, March 25, 2017

M/V Charleston on the Kanawha

My new employer issued me an iPhone 7, so I've been trying it out before I've had to put it to use for creating a photo worth publishing. Yesterday I saw the towboat Charleston of Amherst Madison easing up the Kanawha River at Charleston pushing one AEP barge.

So, I got a few pictures from a bridge. This is one.

This is an iPhone picture that I did a little HDR work to. Not much, though.

The phone seems to take good pictures, but I'm putting it through a few more tests, of course.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

DP&L says Stuart and Killen will close next year

The announcement came yesterday. Here is what I wrote for my employer's website today.

I wanted to ask the company exactly what unfavorable economic conditions existed. Was it the multiple ownership of the plants? Was it the cost of fuel? Could they not compete with cheaper power on the grid? Was it the cost of repairs to the explosion at Stuart a few weeks ago?

But the company would not comment beyond the state it issued.

All know is that several million tons of coal will not be delivered to the plant by barge 18 months from now. Some people hail that as a victory. Some see it as a calamity.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Catching up, 3/18/2017

Here are a few photos from the past six weeks or so that missed getting on here because I was always tinkering with them.

First, the M/V Steven J. Mason downbound at about Mile 302 or 303.

The M/V Georgetown a couple of miles below the Racine Locks and Dam.

If you want to give someone the idea that a place is dangerous, tell them that it's full of needles left behind by drug users. The thing is, I have heard that about several places, but I had never found a needle until last month, when this one floating was with some drift and trash.

The stacks of the Gavin power plant,

Under the Russell, Ky., side of the Ironton-Russell Bridge, currently in the process of being dismantled.

What was it NBC said back in the 1990s when it wanted us to watch "Seinfeld" reruns? If you haven't seen it, it's new to you? The M/V Chris has been around a while, but this was the first time I saw it here in the Huntington area. At least I don't offhand remember having seen it before.

And here's the M/V Hoosier State passing Huntington one evening as darkness was afalling.

That's about it for now. I've seen where some boats that I'm not familiar with have been passing through my area lately, but not when I've been able to get down to the river. We'll have to see if that changes this spring.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Back this weekend

Things are changing here on the Ross Estate, so blogging has been light. Let's figure I'll be back this weekend once I have the chance to adjust to the changes. Nothing bad. Nothing exceptionally good. Just different.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


I'm no architect, so I can't begin to describe the designs of buildings or dams or bridges without running the risk of using the wrong vocabulary and sounding utterly foolish. But I do notice things sometimes.

Such as the piers of the old Ironton-Russell Bridge. This spring they will be blasted out of the water after the structural steel is removed from them. When I was in Russell, Ky., yesterday to get a look at how the demolition was proceeding, I noticed the bridge piers and found them interesting.

Modern bridge piers feature straight lines and all, but they lack the fine details that designers put into their work a hundred years ago or so. Take a look at the pier closest to the Kentucky shore and gaze at the details that were put into it.

Here is a closeup of the top of the pier.

And here's one at river level.

Remember, the river level is several feet higher than it was than when the bridge opened in 1922. Lock and Dam 30 maintained its pool at 490.5 feet above sea level. The Greenup Locks and Dam raised its pool in 1961 or thereabouts and maintains it at 515 feet, an increase of 24.5 feet.

All that makes me wonder what other details people used to be able to see but are hidden forever now.

That looks like a piece of angle iron or something that's been attached to the pier where the current hits it first. I don't know if it's original equipment or aftermarket.

Friday, March 10, 2017

It's quiet now

For many years, when I would come to this spot at Russell, Ky., to look at the Ironton-Russell Bridge, there was this constant rumble of cars and trucks traveling over the steel grate used as a bridge deck. But since this past Thanksgiving week, the bridge has been silent.

Dismantling work has gone slowly for whatever reasons, giving the remaining steel a few more weeks above the river, as it has been since 1922.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

M/V Chris

About 20 years ago, NBC had a promo for its summer reruns. It went something like, "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you."

I cannot recall having seen the Crounse towboat Chris before, so I guess it was new to me.

This was when it passed Huntington the morning of March 8.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

New AEP logo

American Electric Power has adopted a new logo.

From the news release:

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 8, 2017 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today unveiled a new corporate logo and tagline as part of its focus on providing innovative energy solutions for customers and communities.
"AEP is investing in smarter energy infrastructure and new technologies to provide better service and cleaner energy for our customers. We’re committed to developing innovative energy solutions that power communities and improve lives. The energy industry is changing, and our customers’ expectations also are evolving, so we must adapt to meet those new expectations. As we become an energy company for the future, it’s time to adopt a new logo and a new tagline – Boundless Energy – to reflect that transformation and our aspirations," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.
In addition to the AEP corporate logo, AEP’s subsidiary logos have been updated with the new look. AEP’s seven electric utility subsidiaries serve more than 5.4 million customers in 11 states. Additionally, the company operates separate subsidiary companies that provide competitive electric and gas service in seven states, and custom energy solutions and renewable energy resources nationwide.
The new logo represents AEP’s first logo change since 1987 and is the result of research conducted by engaging customers, employees and other stakeholders as part of an extensive brand review. AEP and its subsidiaries will change logos on their main buildings in the coming months. Full adoption of the new logo will be phased in over the next two years.
The Shipyard, based in Columbus, Ohio, worked with AEP on the brand review and to develop the new logo and tagline.
I have emailed a person at AEP to ask if the new corporate logo will replace the stack logo on AEP's towboats. There has been no response so far. She's usually pretty good at replying to me, so I assume she's pretty busy today with this and other stuff.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gavin plant

The General James M. Gavin Power Plant at Cheshire, Ohio, formerly owned by American Electric Power, now operating as a merchant plant.

This is the back side, as opposed to the side you see when traveling Ohio 7.

Too late

From what I've seen around the web, I may have been the only person who was not at the Racine Locks and Dam yesterday to see the M/V Austin C. Settoon moved through the dam, captured and taken to safety in the auxiliary lock.

In case you were wondering.

Friday, March 3, 2017

A ferry's bicentennial

The Anderson ferry at Cincinnati is 200 years old this year. Here's an article by my former coworker Scott Wartman, who used to work with me at the Huntington paper and who now writes for the Cincinati Enquirer.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Accident at Racine (updated)

There was an accident at the Racine Locks and Dam this morning when a tow broke apart while approaching the locks from above.

This is the second high-water accident I remember at Racine in the past three years. I don't know if it's a coincidence or if there is a problem with the upper approach in high water or what. Maybe something. Maybe nothing. That's for the experts to figure out, if they feel the need to ask.


This just in from the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

(T)he barges are carrying heating oil. It'll probably be at least 24 hours before they're moved - crews want to let the river crest and drop a bit before they move them. The barges and tow are tied off now and secured to the dam.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

After the storm

I was trying to think of something poetic or profound or humorous to say, but it never came out right, so here without comment are a couple of pictures of the 6th Street Bridge at Huntington, W.Va., this evening.

We had some storms move through earlier in the day. The ground is soaked and the river is up. That's about as deep as I get tonight.

Ingram layoffs

Not surprising, given the drop in coal shipments and the number of power plant retirements, but Ingram has laid off 47 people, according to this article in the Tennessean newspaper of Nashville.

Hunt declined to confirm that the drop in business is specifically related in part to a fall in coal shipments and Ingram Barge's reported loss last year of key public utility client The Dayton Power & Light Co.

The Tennessean references an article on about how the business of hauling commodities on the rivers is hurting. The online version of article was short, but it included this:

Even with record-large exports of corn and soybeans, typically a boon for shippers that haul grain to Gulf Coast export terminals, the collapse of coal shipments to the lowest levels in decades has left the dry bulk barge fleet chasing too little cargo.
In pursuit of rising grain volumes since 2014, many shippers expanded their fleets too quickly.

I did a piece a year and a half ago about how Campbell Transportation knew the coal business was in decline, so it was preparing to move into other types of cargo and services.

As for the future, as editorial writers say, it remains to be seen.