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Ironton Ferry


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#1 gillespie

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 07:07 AM

The Ironton Ferry upgrades are coming along great. I visited the vessel yesterday afternoon and found the crew working there to be in great spirits and looking to our "deadline" of Memorial Weekend. Obviously many stars will have to align to make this happen but the plumbing systems (hydraulics) and electrical are all being worked on and worked out. Tentatively the plan is to start the engine for the first time on Tuesday, start checking systems, keep putting things together and on Wednesday the Coast Guard is to inspect deck repairs and possibly hydraulic systems if not on Thursday. Static pressure tests require significant time to make sure there are no pressure drops for up to fifteen minutes with lines closed. This ensures that the hydraulic plumbing is pressure and leak free, essential to the durability of the ship.

The cabinet to cover the engine assembly is being manufactured, air conditioning and heat unit has been installed with final assembly when paneling is installed on the interior walls. Things such as lighting, horns and all are being worked on. Believe me there are a lot of people working and there would be more but they would be running into each other! If we get the proper safety equipment and placards in place we may be allowed to run next weekend! Wishful but possible! To conclude the project may be possible during the season with some scheduled down times. This could be arranged to get commuters across as well as noon and evening passages. Comments here will help to put this together. Post your questions or comments, thanks!

#2 gillespie

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:21 PM

Went back on Saturday to take measurements and by then the console had been delivered. Very strongly built it should both protect the engine in a good way and abate noise coming from same. Tomorrow the deck is scheduled to be closed with the new steel plate that was ordered and if all goes well some of the Coast Guard inspections will commence. Much to do. Our installers are doing a great job!!

#3 gillespie

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:57 AM

weather and deliveries have conspired against running the ferry this weekend although the engine startup is scheduled for this morning as well as leak testing for the entire hydraulic system as well as pressure testing and adjustment. The hydraulic engineer who designed the system will be there from Holland Michigan to verify all of the connections and systems. (Not the marine architect). That portion of the rebuild is complete, a huge step! Approval is all that remains.

One big item is that the deck plate that was custom cut to fit the opening left from the wheelhouse was NOT delivered yesterday as promised throwing the schedule into chaos. It is being delivered at 6-6:30 Wednesday morning and will have to be installed after the hydraulic engineer completes his evaluation. Yesterday was the day the Coast Guard had scheduled to inspect the "fit" of the plate to assure that the weld joints were within specification. This is an approximately 8'x12' x 5/16 thick steel plate, fitting it into position with correct weld joints is not simple but is something that the Coast Guard is particular about. That item is now scheduled for Friday as well as system tests and approvals.

In the meantime the electrical system will get a lot of attention in the next couple days giving us the opportunity to get a significant amount of work done on the wiring which helps in the big picture.

We are very close, it may well happen that people will see the ferry moving back and forth at Ironton on Friday during testing. Once again, the crews that have been working on your behalf have really done a fantastic job! It will all be worth it!

#4 gillespie

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:24 PM

Hydraulics are essentially complete, engineer came to town on Wednesday for the evaluation only to find that the hydraulic pumps were ordered correctly but assembled incorrectly at the factory which no one could know until they started the engine which they did on Wednesday and that was when it was discovered that they were backwards! The engineer (from Holland, MI) took them to the factory service center in Grand Rapids on his way back and they are now back and will be reinstalled tomorrow, Saturday. While all of this was going on the Coast Guard arrived along with a rep for the marine engineer today where they did the stability approval and many other basic approvals we need to move forward including the fit of the deck plate which can now be welded in place. The vessel wiring is underway and is going very well according to John Zimmerman, front man for Butch Cone and Truck and Trailer of Boyne Falls. I have to tell you, we are very blessed to have these capable people on this project. Even though we have met some setbacks these guys and our main man Mick Luchenbill from the Road Commission have really done the job. Everything is coming together nicely. Even though we have had these delays it has allowed time to get some long range things completed. The propellers were installed yesterday and if all things work out the Coast Guard will have one more visit to give us approval to sail. Being reasonable and given what we have had in the setback areas it would be fair to say that next Friday given the holiday now upon us would be the smart estimate. Your patience is appreciated! Please remember if this were a road or a bridge it would be the same situation!

#5 gillespie

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

Here are some photos which were actually taken earlier in the week. A lot of things happening to the old girl to put her up to spec. You can see the hydraulic motors that will propel the ship in the below deck area, the engine will sit on the deck in an insulated enclosure which will be very accessible for maintenance.

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#6 gillespie

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:22 AM

From emails:

Hi Folks, Many things going on with the Ironton Ferry project. They have been testing the engine and hydraulics, fine tuning, found that the "charge pumps" that open and close the valves (to make it simple) for oil flow could have been a little bigger, on their way, will be installed by Friday. That will complete the hydraulic system for the most part! Welding is nearing the final stages. The house wiring is coming ahead very well and inspections were to be scheduled for Friday but the Coast Guard schedule conflicted. As you can see from Mr. Hamiltons note to Bob Pawlus yesterday we now have the final inspection scheduled for next Thursday. That should give ample time to tie in the pieces and parts. By that, if nothing else fails, the ferry should be approved and ready to operate. We can only hope so! Thanks for your patience. Please forward to anyone you feel that should be informed. Rich Gillespie




"Bob

Just got finished talking to Mick. Because of the work left to be done such as the wiring, lighting,balancing the intermediate shafts, welding and all the other little things to clean up and last labut not least, the availablilty of the Coast Guard. The final inspection is scheduled for next Thursday

Even if the Coast Guard could have come earlier (which they can't) all the items to be inspected would not have been ready.

The hardest thing to do in the world is to do something for the first time. It is unfortunate, but this has been a learning curve of which we all are paying.

Please let your Captains know what is going on.

Frank"

#7 gillespie

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 12:34 PM

Ferry nearing completion of many of her upgrades. Note the new help station which will look right on to the deck allowing the operator unprecedented visibility. Note the "treadplate" paneling which will last forever and be easy to maintain. The throttle (reused) is on the left of the guage cluster with the two "go" levers to the right, side by side. The operator will push one for one direction and the other for the other direction. Many things will be wrapped up this week and with luck we will be operating!!

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#8 gillespie

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:45 AM

We were there yesterday for the final inspection. A hydraulic fitting parted (faulty) stopping the process. The Coast Guard inspector very graciously offered to come back today, it was later decided he would come Monday morning to allow ample time to verify everything, a couple more days but its important. They did pick us up with it on the Ironton side prior to the start of the inspection process so it works and works well, minor details left! Thanks for your patience!

#9 gillespie

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 05:02 PM

Late today the Ironton Ferry started operating!! Final inspection was this morning and this afternoon the North guide cable was replaced. She was put in service after that and should be on her full schedule starting tomorrow morning! What a relief for all! At some point we will have a re-dedication ceremony to lead her into the next 50 years and turn the original wheelhouse over to the Flywheelers. Stay tuned for news!