Saturday, 30 April 2016

Ex-HMCS PROTECTEUR arrival in Liverpool

As I was unable to make it to Liverpool myself for PROTECTEUR's arrival on April 22nd at the former Bowater Mersey Paper Company wharf, I sent my Dad on assignment. He returned with the following photos:

Taken from the hill above Moose Harbour, Atlantic Towing tugs Larch and Hemlock bring PROTECTEUR into the harbour. © George McClearn.

 © George McClearn.

Taken from the end of Waterloo Street. © George McClearn. 
Turning the ship prior to heading into the wharf. © George McClearn.

Turning the ship prior to heading into the wharf. © George McClearn.

Tugs back PROTECTEUR into the wharf. © George McClearn.
PROTECTEUR will be broken up in Liverpool by R. J. MacIsaac Construction

Saturday, 23 April 2016

HMCS TORONTO tour: Auxiliary Machinery Tour

My previous post on touring HMCS TORONTO covered the propulsion machinery spaces in both the forward and aft engine rooms. Forward and aft of these spaces are the AMRs, or Auxiliary Machinery Rooms. The primary inhabitants of these two rooms are four 850 kW Deutz MWM diesel generators that provide electrical power to the ship. 

It was an interesting opportunity to be able to photograph these two spaces, as the aft AMR was largely intact, while the forward AMR was in the process of being torn apart in preparation for being handed over to the Halifax Shipyard for refit.

Diesel generators intact inside their enclosures in the aft AMR. The enclosure is covered in access ports that can be opened to allow maintenance access all around each generator. The enclosure contains much of the sound produced by the generators, and is also useful in the event of fire.

Looking along the catwalk between the two generators. 
A memorial in the aft AMR for former crewmember who has "crossed the bar".

While the aft AMR was mostly intact, the forward AMR was in the process of being dismantled prior to refit.

In the forward AMR, the diesel engine inside the enclosure is exposed. 
Warships interiors are cramped, with every available space taken up by some piece of equipment - even the spaces below the deck plates. The bilge in the ship is often a treasure trove of lost tools that are lost by the ship's company during routine maintenance tasks, and they can't be retrieved until the ship is next stripped down prior to refit. As I recall, one of my tour guides was looking forward to retrieving a flashlight lost just weeks earlier.
The power generated in the two AMRs is routed to the rest of the ship to power everything from weapons systems, combat and navigation sensors, and the ship's hotel load (lights, etc) via two main electrical switchgear sets. 

Aft main switchgear.
The two AMRs don't just contain power generation equipment, but also have an assortment of other equipment as well. 

The AMRs also contain other equipment, such as R2D2 here (otherwise known as a fuel centrifuge for removing water and contaminants from the ship's fuel supply).
Another auxiliary machinery space, one deck below the weather deck and to the aft of the ship, is the "tiller flat" where the steering motors are found.

The steering gear is mounted on the rudder post. It is powered by two hydraulic motors, with the starboard steering motor seen to the left through the door.

The port hydraulic steering motor.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Working in India: Anatomy of a Hydro Project - Desilting Intakes (Part 8)

My previous posting covered the underground desilting chambers and tunnels, but including the intakes themselves was going to be a bit much for a single post, so I'm breaking them out into a separate post. I should also note that during my time on the project, the intakes were not completed, so while I have plenty of "before" images, I unfortunately have no "after", only "during construction" photos (and early construction at that). 

When I arrived in February 1999, the intakes themselves had not been excavated, and the eventual tunnel mouths had not yet been exposed.

(Note: I added the image below some weeks after initially completing this post, having forgotten to include it the first time around.)

A plan view of the intakes showing the trash rack and intake bellmouths for each of the intake tunnels. The triangles mid-way down the image in each tunnel represent the transition between square and horseshoe profiles that is mentioned below.
I should note that some of the photos below, especially the ones showing concreting work, are not in chronological order. 

A close-up of the intakes area, taken before the intake tunnels were daylighted to the surface. The rock in this area of the Himalayas is very soft and prone to rock falls - as the Himalayas are relatively young in geological terms, mother nature hasn't had as much time to beat the mountains down (compared to, say, the Rocky Mountains in North America) and the rock has a high content of mica, which is very very soft. It was not uncommon to be able to walk up to a boulder on the side of the road and break off pieces with your hand. As a result of this, the project required a considerable amount of rock stabilization work, as is evident in this photo with row upon row of cable anchors in the rock above the intakes. Horizontal holes are drilled deep into the rock, and cables are inserted into the holes, anchored, and then stressed and tied off to anchor plates that are cast into the concrete on the surface. The dark spots on the concrete are the heads of the cable anchors. The intakes were out of the arc covered by the cable crane, and therefore all work in this area had to be supposed by the crawler cranes. The three tunnel openings to the right of the image are the dam access galleries, and the front face of the dam itself would have been to the left of these tunnels, between them and the zig-zag stairway. The pile of fill has been placed there to allow cable anchoring operations to continue down the rock face. The top of the zig-zag ladder represents the level of the intakes access road, and the top of the dam. Two crane platforms were eventually brought up to this level to allow concreting work on the intakes to proceed. The cable crane used on the dam, and shown in a previous post, did not reach far enough to cover the intake area.

Viewed from a higher elevation, and further upriver, this view from Spring 1999 shows the terracing of rock anchors better, along with the access road and the cable crane location. The road at the top left of the image is National Highway #22.
During my time on the project, as the cable anchoring of the rock face was completed, the fill pile in front of the intakes was slowly removed. The intake tunnels connecting the four underground desilting chambers to the intakes were daylighted, and concrete work began.

A close-up of the intakes area, with a similar viewing angle to the first image in this post, taken after the intake tunnels were daylighted to the surface but before concrete work on the intake structure began in earnest. In this photo, only the concrete foundations for the intakes has been started. An NCK Rapier crawler crane is at work. The intakes were out of the arc covered by the cable crane, and therefore all work in this area had to be supposed by the crawler cranes. Later in the project, when concrete work began in earnest, an NCK was mounted on each of the two concrete platforms (about the same level as, and on either side of, the top of the crane boom in this photo). If you look closely on the left side of the photo, you can make out the many flights of stairs that were required to descend from the road level to the base of the intakes. This was fine on the way down, but the climb back up required a bit more effort (and maybe a break or two to catch your breath)! 
March 14, 2000: formwork is up and concreting of the intakes is underway. The crawler crane has not yet been moved to one of the platforms over the intakes. 

Taken on May 6, 2000, the placement of concrete for the invert of the intakes bellmouth is now complete. The concrete work in the foreground, at the bottom of the image, is the concrete of the dam coming up the right bank. The upstream cofferdam has been breached for the summer months, and the river is flowing through the dam site. 

May 12, 2000: Reinforcing steel (rebar) being installed at the base of the intakes. The beginning of the bellmouth rebar (the vertical bars to the right) is taking shape.
June 5, 2000: These are two ski-jump concrete forms for the crown (top) of the intake bellmouths. I would have rendered these in AutoCAD, so that the Steel Fabrication Shop could build them (which is where this photo was taken). If I remember correctly, the bellmouths were parabolic in shape. I think both forms were required to pour a single bellmouth, but after 15 years I may be mistaken. Due to a flood in August 2000, these forms never saw use while I was on the project. In my time on the project, I spent some time at the Steel Fab Shop making sure work was fabricated per the drawings I prepared.
June 5, 2000: The partially completed intake crown transition formwork, looking from the downstream (inside) end to the upstream (outside) end. Steel was bent to the shape required, as provided on drawings I prepared. Every single rib in this structure was a different shape, and had to be drawn and calculated separately. The far end was the trickiest both to draw and to build. The forms were then skinned with planks and plywood, as can be seen here. The entire transition form could be transported in four parts to reduce the weight. The whole assembly would be propped up by short support towers. The concrete work formed by this formwork would be just downstream of the concrete formed by the ski-jump formwork in the previous photo.

July 8, 2000: The transition of Intake #2 takes shape. Located just behind the yet to be poured bellmouth, the transition section changes from the rectangular shape of the bellmouth to the inverted horseshoe shape of the intake tunnel over a length of perhaps 10 to 12 metres. The designers provided probably 5 or 6 intermediate shapes for the transition, and then I got the job of transferring the designer approved shapes plus the intervening shapes into AutoCAD, along with all the support structural members. In the photo, the concrete walls are poured up to about half height, and the transition overt form (from the previous photo) can be seen in the background.

A worker sprays water on the recently poured concrete that forms the bottom of the intake structure.
There was some concern that flooding on the river might top the concrete shown in the above photo, and end up flooding out the underground desilting works. As such, steel bulkheads were constructed for each of the four intake tunnels, to be installed just downstream of the intake works. Each bulkhead had to be shaped to match the rock profile of each tunnel: we had an advanced (for the time) laser tunnel profile instrument that would provide an exact profile of the tunnel at the location of each bulkhead, which I then imported into AutoCad and turned into a fabrication drawing. The bulkheads were anchored into the rock of each tunnel, and were designed by the Chief Design Engineer to withstand the potential hydraulic head of a large flood.

March 13, 2000: The contractor was worried about the risk of flooding of the intake tunnels and the desilting works behind, and so steel bulkheads were constructed at the inlet to each tunnel. In this photo, the bottom half of a bulkhead is being installed in Intake #2. The bulkhead was cut more or less to the shape of the rock, and then filled in. You can see the shape of the tunnel invert (floor) here, already poured in concrete.

March 13, 2000: The upper half of the Intake #2 bulkhead is swung into place by a small (yellow) Escorts scissor crane that is hidden in behind. The top half is later welded to the bottom half.
March 14, 2000: The partially completed Intake #2 bulkhead, with the top half installed. The lower port in the bulkhead is for man access, while the upper is a fan port. During the August 2000 flood, all the bulkheads held back the weight of water and silt that were thrown against them. Although there was some initial water ingress through the open fan ports (and the fans themselves), the silt quickly built up in front of the bulkheads and sealed the holes shut. The bulkheads therefore prevented the damage to the desilting works from being much more serious than it was.

March 16, 2000: The interior view of the Intake #2 bulkhead. You can see a bit of daylight coming in around the outside of the bulkhead, and this would later be filled in with a combination of steel plating and concrete (if I remember correctly).
As I've alluded to, the construction of these bulkheads was somewhat prophetic considering the flood event in August 2000, but I will cover that flood in a separate post. My next post on this project, though, will cover the 27 kilometre long Head Race Tunnel.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Halifax Central Library

While I'm stuck at home with a child recovering from a tonsillectomy (and quickly overdosing on Barney), I can't actually go out and take photos, so I'll just have to rehash photos from the last year or two. And.... I haven't done a post of my Halifax Central Library photos yet....

Surprisingly, I didn't really document the library's construction all along, which I might have done if I had been more involved in the project - I was supposed to design the Civil and Municipal infrastructure for the building, but we reassigned personnel in the office to better handle the workload we had at the time, and I ended up looking after a different project. So the first photos that I am presenting here show the building mostly complete, but missing some glass panels that were presumably damaged.

Thought the envelope was nearing completion in October 2013, with the exception of some glass panels, it would be more than a year later in 2014 that the library actually opened to the public. 
Workers sealing the joints between the glass panels.
A number of glass envelopes on new buildings in the city recently have provided for interesting photos with the reflections of workers.
Even as the library neared completion, the contractor kept the safety fence up around the building's exterior, which interfered with photography. I was forced to find angles that didn't show the fencing.

Looking at at the south-west corner of the library.

Looking straight up at the north-west corner of the Library. The tree is the same as the one in the next photo.

I elevated this April 2014 view from the north-west corner just high enough to cut out the fence.
In September 2014, I think the fence was still up, and I was still having to keep it out of my photos. In contrast to April, though, the tree had its leaves. As an aside, another possibly interesting comparison involves the gear used in the two photos: the photo above water taken with a full frame DSLR with  a 16-35 wide angle zoom, while the photo below was taken with a 12mm prime lens (18mm equivalent) on an APS-C mirrorless camera. Both photos were taken from approximately the same location, though the angle on the building looks to be a bit different between the two (on the other hand, I may have applied some more lens correction on the above photo).

Still having to elevate the viewing angle to eliminate the fence, this photo was taken in September 2014.
By November 2014, the fencing was fortunately gone. Remembrance Day in 2014 was quite grey, and I ended up converting the following photos to black & white.

Looking north along the west side of the building. The tree has lost its leaves again.
A different angle on the south west corner of the building. High contrast black & white seemed to work well that day.
Finally, in December 2014, the library opened to the public. This next batch of photos is from my first visit on December 29, 2014. Again, I was in the mood to convert to black & white, and the library seems to suit that medium anyway.

Information desk at the main entrance.

Taken from the second floor looking down on the main entrance.
Second floor view again.

Looking down on the south end of the main floor, outside Paul O'Regan Hall.

This view looks up a bit, taking in the upper levels.

I was not the first person to compare the crazy multi-directional staircases and catwalks to something from a Harry Potter movie, and I doubt I will be the last. I think I made a comment presenting the library's interior " all its Harry Potteresque madness..." or something along those lines. Hopefully that, at least, was somewhat original.

With the library open, the interior lights help to liven up the exterior photos as well as the interior.

Over the last two winters (especially 2015), there were a number of opportunities to photograph the library in the snow. There were a number of snow storms during my walk down to the ferry when I was able to stick a small mirrorless camera with a 32mm prime lens into a ziplock bag for weather protection, and get some good shots of Halifax in the snow. The library, fortunately, is on my route to the ferry.

The snow banks were getting particularly high during the winter of 2015. Some of the storms coated the trees nicely.
As an aside, one of the better initiatives taken around the corner of Queen Street and Spring Garden Road, is the removal of overhead power lines so they don't interfere with the view. Except for the odd transmission line installation in the mountains, I hate overhead powerlines and their effect on my photos. 
I look forward to continuing to photograph the library over the coming years.