S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Big Cranes Continuation Page 1 keywords = crane lift derrick hoist wreck breakdown hook Berlinerwerke railroad RR maintenance way MoW model X45 X99

Updated:   09 Apr 2018 ; 15:20  ET
[Page created 06 Mar 2005; converted 01 Aug 2011

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/bigcran1.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/bigcran1.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Big Cranes
Continuation Page 1


"DERRICKS", etc.



These pages are, so far, basically unindexed, except for the following:

On the main Big Cranes page:
  Dalien LK3 Big Hook.
  Big Crane Bibliography.
  Bay Crane.
  On the Spott.

On this Big Cranes Continuation page 1:
  Tunnel Cranes (double-ended).
NYC X45 Tunnel Crane (double-ended).
    (Moved from Berlinerwerke Apocrypha page 2 on 02 Jan 03
        and from the main Big Cranes page on 06 Mar 2005)

  PRR Tunnel Cranes (double-ended)
    moved from the main Big Cranes page on 06 Mar 2005).
  Hadeed Disaster.
  Weeks Marine.

On the Big Cranes Continuation page 2:

I know that this page is about BIG cranes and such but "big" is relative, it's nice to have a frontispiece, and the following makes such a perfect frontispiece for this page:

RSCC - Wayner 12
(from Railroad Work Equipment and Special Service Cars, Robert J. Wayner, NY, ca. 1989)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image.]

That's Ralston Steel Car Co.'s crane lifting a tiny 4-2-0.  Note rail clamps in use for stability.  [Just look at all those truck springs piled up; try THAT with model truck or coupler springs!  Also note the clowns in the loco cab and on the hoist and boom - no OSHA then!]

These pages are intended to coordinate my previously-scattered coverage of heavy lift equipment, both roadable and railroad, plus any related material that turns up, and to provide links to major sites on the same subject.

Tunnel Cranes


The Big Hooker (Moved from Berlinerwerke Apocrypha page 2 on 02 Jan 03
and from the main Big Cranes page on 06 Mar 2005)

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, though I can't remember exactly when (ca. 1970?), a flyer for a book on the New York Central came in from Wayner Publications and caught my eye; it had a weird NYC╣ crane pictured on it, with two booms!  They stuck out on each end of a fixed cab (no rotation).  Incredibly, I was able to go right to my storage dresser at the layout on 16 Nov 99 and find not only the Athearn box with all my crane scrap and such but even the original (undated) Wayner flyer!  The book was "The Great Steel Fleet", by Robert J. Wayner, himself, and a magnifying glass shows the crane is almost certainly #X45.

NYC X45 2x250ton Tunnel Crane
(Photo by S. Berliner, III, of detail from ca. 1970 Wayner flyer - 16 Jan 99)

1 - That crane was assigned to the CUT ca. 1935-36 and Cleveland State University Library would like to have a better photo of X-45; can any one out there help?  Please let me know.

The picture of the crane was only a small part of a small photo of the book cover, only 3-3/8;" long, but it really caught my fancy.  Without researching the prototype at all, but after carefully disassembling my ancient, metal Athearn 200-ton big hook* for detailed analysis (I DID reassemble it), I immediately bought two plastic Athearn 200-ton big hooks, a pair of brass 8-wheel Buckeye trucks, a zillion brass Athearn scale sheaves (pulleys, actually 42 of 'em by my current count!) {ol' Irv Athearn was really intrigued!}, and a spool of braided 5-lb test NYLON fish line.  Soaking the line in black RIT dye (not intended for NYLON) resulted in a fairly good rusty look; braided so it would lie flat, spool freely without fuzzies, and not curl permanently around the sheaves.

Not having the foggiest notion how the booms should work, I invented a set of pivots for stiff legs, using the cut-off rotating rings from the Athearn chassis's for the bases, extending the hinged flap over the internal rigging for an upper pivot, and shortening the small ends of the booms to approximate 250-ton booms.  After an agonizing few days of spooling the line through all those sheaves, using a microscopic hook ground into the pointed end of a pin, she scooned!

At a subsequent meet of the Sunrise Trail Division, Northeast Region, NMRA, I set it up on the abutment of an unfinished bridge and ran the big hook down to grade.  Later, I dropped the small hook all the way from the benchwork to the floor.  Someone took photos of all this; does anyone out there have them?

On 05 Mar 2005, I found some old snapshots I took of the Big Hooker; they had been printed on 01 Sep 1974:

Big Hooker 74-5

Big Hooker 74-6 Big Hooker 74-7

Big Hooker 74-4

Big Hooker 74-3
Big Hooker 74-1 Big Hooker 74-2
(cropped from 1974 photos by © 1974, 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

More recently, ca. 1990, one of the booms was accidentally pushed down, breaking the stiff leg off at the base and snapping off the upper pivot and throwing yards of line off the sheaves at one end; she sits today in that condition.  I dragged her out of the basement on her travel track (she is screwed on for travelling) and took some digital shots on 16 Nov 99:

BW 2x250ton Tunnel Crane
Poor sick ol' model!  She's old, cranky (!), busted, dusty, and sprayed with hot fat!

BW 2x250ton Tunnel Crane
A detail view of the left end showing the stiff leg (without travel stays).
[Note the two MILW flats numbered 6711 and 7116;
Isn't it simply amazing that I have a third,
behind my original metal Athearn big hook, numbered 67116?
See below.]

BW 2x250ton Tunnel Crane
A detail view of the left end showing the boom traversed left.

BW 2x250ton Tunnel Crane
A detail view of the right end showing the damage to the stiff leg
and a block of wood holding the boom in place.

BW Crane Parts
(Photos and   1999 by S. Berliner, III - 16 Jan 99 - All Rights Reserved)

Wonder of wonders, not only did I find the flyer,
I even found the pillbox with the boom and windlass cranks
and the microscopic boom stays I made
(yes, Virginia, I DRILLED holes in the cast-on straps on the boom and deck for the stays!).

* - That old, metal, Athearn "Big Hook" was the very first HO model I aquired as a pre-teen (11-12?), after my childhood "chooching" on O and then HO.  I traded a giant O cardstock freighthouse my father had carefully assembled and which was now surplus (ca. 1945-6, I having switched to HO in 1941) for the Athearn.  As related somewhere on this site, it sat on a single section of steel Flextrack (still around; the Big Hooker, above, sits on half of it) on top of a desk for many years until I bought a Ken Kidder Convertible Tank Engine (see my Model RR page and an MRC power pack ca. 1960 (both still in use) to run it back and forth on the 36" track.

I finally dragged that old metal Athearn 200-ton crane out of the cellar and photographed her for you.  She's just 60 years old (or more - she wasn't new when I got her) and has seen better days, but she's still serviceable.  That crane was the very first HO car I got as an adult.  I didn't bother cranking up the boom for this picture:

Athearn metal 200t
(17 Jan 05 photo by, and © 2005, S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

Like the double-ender, she is re-rigged with the smaller sheaves (lots of them) and braided 5# test line and can lift incredibly heavy loads - she's still all metal except for the internal spools and the top cover/flap which replaced failed die castings.

According to notes in my own handwriting on the flyer, Bill Edson of NYC Equipment or Paul Brustman of NYC Cranes told me that there were two 2x250-ton tunnel cranes, X45 and X99, and they came on the road circa 1935 or 36 and one (or both) was (were) shipped to Russia during WWII on a ship that sank at sea on the Murmansk Run (deep-dive salvage, anyone?).

On 22 Feb 00, Aaron Falis e-mailed news that the X45 still exists, up at the nearby Danbury Railway Museum with a picture, no less, and the information that she rides on four two-axle trucks and has two 120-ton booms (as contrasted to my free-lanced double 250-tonner on two four-axle Commonwealths) and is electrically-powered from third-rail shoes.  Aaron said he had to shoot into the sun to get this picture and it was one black blob, so I enhanced it heavily to show the details (note an LIRR FA-1 (or -2) Power-Pak in the background):

NYC X45 2x120t Tunnel Crane
(Photo, 2000, by Aaron Falis; all rights reserved)
[image heavily enhanced by S. Berliner, III - 22 Feb 00]

Here is another Danbury view in MetroNorth blue (it's since been repainted black, as shown above, but the idler flats remain MN blue) from Jeff and Josh Lubchansky's great site via the Cranes page on Clint Chamberlin's comprehensive NorthEast Railfan site:

MN W001 (ex-NYC X45) 2x120t Tunnel Crane
(J. Lubchansky photo 21 Aug 98, by specific written permision - © Jeff Lubchansky 1998; all rights reserved)
[image heavily cropped by S. Berliner, III - 01 Jan 03]

The crane is on semi-permanent loan from MN; it saves paperwork and may also leave the unit available for use, if necessary.

Jeff advises that there was a second unit that tipped over in Sunnyside Yard and was cut up on the spot; that certainly differs from the account of Edson and Brustman, who ran X45 and X99.  I wonder if X99 went down and a replacement was fabricated and later bought the farm?

Here's X99 in CUT (Cleveland Union Terminal, a NYC subsidiary) livery and in basic black (or an identical twin with the same creases in the panels):

X99 CUT 2x120t Tunnel Crane

PC (X99?) 2x120t Tunnel Crane
(images heavily cropped by, and from the collection of, S. Berliner, III - Jan 2005; all rights reserved)

Now, I received these as sepia postcard views which I cropped away to save bandwidth but the originals are identical to B&W shots on Clint Chamberlin's NorthEast Railfan site, so, just to play fair with a buddy, I got Clint's O.K. as well.

Both photos are dated 1920 on Clint's site.  If you'll note the underbody detail, you'll see that these are opposite sides of the same crane (or an identical pair).

The PRR Hookers

Here's a much smaller² and somewhat older (evidently ca. 1923) double ender for Pennsy tunnel service, rated at only 50 tons² at 17 foot boom extension:

PRR 2x70ton Tunnel Crane
(Photo from pg. 997, Car Builders' Cyclopedia of American Practice, 11th ed., 1925,
Simmons-Boardman Publishing Co., New York)

2 - it sure looks like #490797, below; perhaps the rating is mis-stated or only applies to the auxiliary hook.

LIRR and NRHS/LIST buddy Bob Sturm loaned me his slide of this big Pennsy double-ender, #490797, at Sunnyside Yard on 10 Oct 1966:

PRR 2x200ton Tunnel Crane
(Image from slide courtesy of R. Sturm - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for a larger image]

This photo is cropped a bit and heavily enhanced; click here to see the very-dark original slide.  This apparently was a Class W50A Tunnel Crane.

An older photo of derrick #490797 at Sunnyside Yard in Mar 1960:   added (18 Dec 2013)

PRR 2x200ton Tunnel Derrick
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for a larger image]

Unfortunately, I can't find any other provenance for this picture.

Ibertren Spanish Heavy RR Crane
in N Scale (1:160)

. (Moved from Railroad Schnabel page 2 on 02 Jan 03)

For another model Big Hook, here is my N scale Ibertren (Spanish) #471 model of a heavy RR crane on which everything works (at 1:160)!

Ibertren #471 N Crane travel

Ibertren #471 N Crane emplaced
(Photos by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - 03 Dec 99 - all rights reserved)
What a fantastic model!

Hadeed Disaster [received 03 Nov 2006] - this is another horrible example of what happens when the rules are not followed (from Bechtel sources) - a very serious crane accident on a construction project in Jubail, involving TWO DEATHS AND OTHER VERY SERIOUS INJURIES!

Hadeed Disaster
[Photo from e-mail - click on image for much larger (844Kb) picture]

The accident occurred at the Hadeed project in Jubail, KSA , next to the Chevron, Sipchem, and Sharq project sites and involved a nearly-new 600-ton Manitowoc crane owned and operated by al Mojil (MMG),  They are one of the most professional and safety conscious contractors in Saudi Arabia.  It seems that, during a routine simple lift, the sling holding the load snapped; this instantaneously dropped the load and the entire crane jib flipped back over the cab.  The jib landed on a pipe rack and into the PMC offices KILLING TWO STAFFERS!  The crane is also a total wreck and the entire site was closed down.

It also seems that the crane had just been inspected but nobody had bothered to inspect the slings - they looked OK.......

You might also be interested in my railroad and highway heavy loads pages (heavy cranes have to have SOMETHING to lift besides wrecks),

    Railroad Schnable and other Giant Freight Cars, et seq., and

    Road Loads (highway equivalents), et seq.
        (gigantic highway and off-road trucks and trailers).

Heavy haulage, indeed!

Now, one great supplier of heavy crane models is Kibri Spielwarenfabrik GmbH in B÷blingen, Germany.  My only complaint about Kibri models, some of which are shown scattered throughout this site, is that they (normally) are not already built and there are a gazillion (at the very least) tiny pieces to bond together.  When you look at one of their big cranes or giant road trailers, it is daunting, to say the least, and I tend never to finish any of the ones I have.  They are also frighfully expensive for unassembled plastic, especially now that Walthers gets its cut.  Here is one of their latest, the HO 16000 "Swietelsky" 100-ton Gottwald railway crane with telescoping boom:

Kibri 16K 100t RR Crane
(Image from Walthers Terminal Hobby Shop Jan 03 flyer)

Weeks Marine, of Cranford, New Jersey, sent me these shots (thanks) of their pride and joy, their largest floating crane, #533, a Model 52 Clyde on a 90' x 300' barge, on a salvage job they did in Newark:

Weeks533-165 Weeks533-176
[Photos courtesy of Weeks Marine, Inc., by permission - all rights reserved]
(Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]

Weeks is over seventy-five years old and is into all sorts of marine construction and dredging, as well as heavy lift and salvage (as in the Jumbo ship Stellamare which capsized in the port of Albany, NY, on 09 Dec 2003, when she was loading a 308-ton GE generator).  The 533 has a lifting capacity of 750 tons and 500 tons full rotating and is the pride of the Weeks fleet.

Speaking of the Stellamare, guess who lifted it?  Also, guess who lifted GE generators similar to the two that sank with the Stellamare?  Weeks, of course:

Weeks-11 Weeks-035
[Photos courtesy of Weeks Marine, Inc., by permission - all rights reserved]
(Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]

The railcar is GE's GECX 80003, the world's largest drop-center flat car, which was pierside in Albany.

Some of Weeks's heavier lifts include 533 hoisting a heavy pressure vessel at Mirant Corp.'s Bowline Point power plants in Haverstraw, NY, and huge pressure vessels for Phillips-Tosco's Bayway refinery:

Weeks-13 Weeks-20
[Photos courtesy of Weeks Marine, Inc., by permission - all rights reserved]
(Click on left two thumbnailed images for larger pictures]

Notice the giant yellow multi-axle road trailer under the silver vessel; others like it are featured on my Road Loads page, et seq.

For the Tosco Bayway lift, here's a lo-res. overall view - it IS impressive; 533 also dabbles in (relatively) lightweight loads, such as this old ALCo S-1/2/4 {?} ~115-ton switcher locomotive:

Weeks-21 Weeks-9
[Photos courtesy of Weeks Marine, Inc., by permission - all rights reserved]
(Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]

More info. on these lifts and others should follow.

From MNCR buddy Wayne Koch, on 16 Dec 2008, come these two images (heavily cropped) of a big crane working (at the Harmon shops?):

WKoch8913 WKoch8914
[Cropped from photos by, and courtesy, of W. Koch - all rights reserved]

Hey; that's a Weeks crane (see above)!  I'll have to get more info. on this.

Whil(e)(st) researching Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point and abandoned Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne in New York harbor, I ran across reference to Craven Point (now subsumed into Liberty State Park) and from that to the Greenville Terminal and discovered that right next to Greenville is Weeks' marine terminal:   new (09 Apr 2018)

(Click on thumbnailed image for larger picture]

Will you look at all those huge floating cranes!


{More to follow.}


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

U.S.Flag U.S.Flag


THUMBS UP!  -  Support your local police, fire, and emergency personnel!

Contact S. Berliner, III

(Junk and unsigned e-mail and blind telephone messages will NOT be answered)

prevpage.gif    nextpage.gif
of these Big Cranes pages.

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018  - all rights reserved.

Return to Top of Page