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Voyages of Andrew - Creque Marine Steam Railway

 
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kusuchi


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Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 5862

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Location: St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:28 am    Post subject: Voyages of Andrew - Creque Marine Steam Railway Reply with quote

Andrew took me to Hassel Island in his boat today to visit the Creque Marine Steam Railway.  Accessible only by boat, in nearly 20 years on St Thomas, this was the first time I had ever visited.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a camera as I didn't think it would be calm enough to make the crossing.  We'll try again next week.  Although largely in ruins this is a fascinating historic site.

The steam powered marine railway was commissioned in 1843, hauling out ships from 300 tonnes to 1200 tonnes during it's peak in the 1860's.  Today it is probably the oldest steam powered marine railway in existence.

There used to be a repair shop on the site with all the tools driven by surplus steam from the main engine.  Much of the machinery is still present.  Les will love these accessories, which include an 8' tall drill press, full size lathes, bowsaws, etc.  All bearing an uncanny resemblance to their Toy Steam counterparts.

In the meantime here are some archived photos.



Postcard from the 1900's.  The large cradle ran on four rails which ran 280' into the water.  Built from Greenheart hardwood the original members are still there today.  



Postcard from the 1900's.   Although the steam plant failed in 1911, the railway continued to be used until the end of WW II.



Aerial View.  The roof was destroyed in the great Hurricane of 1867 and again in Hurricane Marilyn in 1995.  On the top of the hill is Fort Shipley, built by the British in 1802.



The primary and secondary wood burning boilers, (center,) were reputably made in England.  Unfortunately, the name plates have long since been removed.



The Walking Beam engine made by Bolton Co. in Hamburg, c 1840, showing the steam cylinder in the foreground.



Another shot of the Walking Beam showing the 14' diameter flywheel in the background.



The winch gears, also by Bolton, with the Beam Engine to the left.

On our next visit I'll take our own photos, including the 'accessories' and two Dive Bells used in 1854 to repair submerged sections of the rail.

Engineering drawings of the original configuration:





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Click to download file
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Richard

http://www.youtube.com/user/kusuchi
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Les


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Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 47447

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Location: Bournemouth, Dorset, England.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds and looks to be a fascinating place, pity you did not take the camera but looking forward wth eager interest to the return visit.
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Les - Don't panic - it's your round next.

http://www.bucketofsteam.co.uk/
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fcrammond


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Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 1621

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Location: Leicester

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you come to STIA we'll show you some REAL Beam Engines. Makes yours look like a tiddler. Incidentally are you sure about the engine attribution. It looks very English to me.

Cheers

Fred
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