Having missed the most exciting transportation and engineering event on the Columbia River for 2009, I’ll resort to relying on other people’s accounts of the journey. As an aside, this is a neat example of the current use of traditional transportation methods from previous eras in BC, a province of lakes, rivers and large mountain ranges. Even late last century there were train barges on the lakes around here, as the steep shorelines and passes prevented easy access for rail.
BC Hydro was moving its new 188 tonne, seven-metre wide stainless steel turbine on a journey that originated in South America. The device was manufactured by Voith Hydro and shipped from Brazil on June 17. It has travelled on an ocean barge to the U.S., a truck barge to Northport, WA and the current barge en route to the BC Hydro Revelstoke generating station. Quite a voyage that has taken over a year of planning to ensure it ran as smoothly as it has.
“This piece of equipment will be used to serve the whole province.”
Hamilton says the turbine will increase capacity at the Revelstoke generating station by 500 megawatts and is another step forward in making B.C. energy self-sufficient by 2016.
The photo slideshow below is from one of my Flickr contacts – Arrowlakelass who followed the barge from Castlegar to the Lock at Hugh Keenleyside Dam. Click on the play symbol below to get the slideshow running, (and you can make it fullscreen for real detail too!).
The river has a mystique to it that makes it seem off limits for modern transport. Most people know of the history of barges and sternwheelers plying their trade up and down these waterways, but few imagine it to be feasible or possible in this day and age.
Check out this photo of a sternwheeler down by the Smelter in Trail.