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Quayside Cranes and Cargo Handling

Quayside Cranes and Cargo Handling

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Published by: gogi_ts on Oct 30, 2011
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Quayside Cranes and Cargo Handling
See also Appendix One - Canals, rivers and coastal shipping for more information on coastal shipping, river and canal barges (includes a description of standard markings and flags used)and Appendix One - Fishing boats and ports for more on the fishing industry and port facilities.Dock side cranes are discussed below but also see Wagon Loads & Materials Handling - Materials Handling - Hoists and Cranes and Materials Handling - Crane Hooks and Lifting Aids for more on cranes and cargo handling gear.
Dock Cranes
People consider dock cranes to be a problem, and the modern type with its tall tower andlightweight construction would be difficult to produce convincingly. Not all docks used their owncranes of course, in smaller ports the ships would use their own derricks or deck mountedcranes. Cranes of various kinds have been fitted to ships since the 1960's but as alreadymentioned for general cargo work the traditional ships 'derrick' is better.The two examples shown below are suggested as the best option for modelling, both beingquite straightforward to construct (the Ratio OO scale lattice mast LNER signals are handy forthis kind of thing in N). The small crane on the left is a hydraulic crane, on the right a largerelectric type, both were in service in the early 1930s and both types were still in use in the1950s, later in the case of the electric example.
Fig ___ Easy to model dock cranes
Docks used every type of crane available, including man-powered, hydraulic, steam andelectric types. Small hand powered and steam rail mounted cranes were used for quays withno fixed cranes, they came in handy for unloading barges or small coastal craft and for movinglarger items about the dock area. If using a steam crane, such as the one in Liverpool's AlbertDock Museum, don't forget the coal bunker somewhere nearby.The problem of reaching over ships sides generally lead to tall cranes, however there werealternatives, the example below is sketched from a small self propelled steam crane in use on
 
Fleetwood Docks. The jib is arranged as a dog-leg, suitably reinforced, there were several suchcranes at Fleetwood and presumably similar cranes would be seen in other docks where thequay was narrow.
Fig ___ Quayside mobile steam crane
Weymouth Quay (served by the GWR) had in interesting arrangement where the quay wasbuilt up to form a platform along the dock edge which allowed goods to be easily loaded intovans. There were a number of small cranes mounted on this platform and this arrangementmakes a pleasantly different model. Each year this small port handled about ten thousand tonsof early potatoes and about twelve thousand tons of tomatoes all being imported from theChannel Islands.
Fig ___ Small steam cranes
 
The larger quay-side crane was generally a quick acting machine, generally with quite a smallcapacity (men were used to load up the crane and this restricted the advantages of largerequipment).General purpose dock cranes, either electric or hydraulic, were originally standardised tohandle 30 cwt. Some larger steam cranes were rated at two or three tons. A standard featurewas level luffing, which meant the load stayed at the same height as the jib was raised orlowered. There were various methods used to achieve this, most subject to patents, howeverthere was a series of articles in The Engineer magazine dated Aug 26th and Sept 2nd of 1927which discussed these in considerable detail.Most dock cranes built up to the 1930's could reach out about thirty feet from the quay wall. Asship size increased in the 1940's this increased to fifty feet and by the 1960's a reach of ninetyfeet was not uncommon. For modelling purposes we can reduce the length of the jib quite a lotwhilst still retaining the general look of the prototype which makes for a more robust model.More modern tall dock cranes appeared in the 1930's, most of these were electrically operatedand most could safely lift up to three tons, although they were still loaded up by hand soexcept when lifting large single items the typical load was a lot less. In the 60's five ton cranesstarted to become more common but soon after this the container appeared and by the mid1970's the general purpose cargo ship was becoming rare.One space-saving arrangement used in real life had an overhead gantry supported at thelandward end by a rail set on the side or even on the roof of the transit sheds, technically thisis called a 'half portal crane' (a full portal type has both rails on the quay). The illustrationbelow shows such a design. This gantry arrangement was not uncommon and in the 1980'sthere were essentially similar electric cranes in use in Bombay.
Fig ___ Electric dock crane
This illustration is loosely based on two electric cranes built by Stothert & Pitt Ltd. and installedat Southampton in 1893 (I based the gantry on an example in Australia as this is easier tomodel). These were I believe the first electric dock cranes in Britain and I understand at leastone survived until about 1953. The suggested basis for the crane cab is a cut-down Pecorefrigerator van body, this as a bit wide but saves you having to make the curved roof. Thegantry spanned two tracks and on the original there was a space about one track width

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