Saturday 22 February 2014


The JOYCE L. VAN ENKEVORT is known as an articulated push tug for the self uploading barge, GREAT LAKES TRADER which I snapped last September up at the Soo.
Sometimes when I speak or reply to a concern, people will say my response was very well articulated. Which is not to say it only happens when I'm operating an articulated bus like #6615 there behind me. The key similarity here is the word 'joining', as in having the ability of joining a group of words in a manner that is expressed fluently and coherent, or when joining or connecting two or more sections to act as one with a flexible joint. Am I making myself, perfectly clear here?. Anyhow, OC Transpo, the transit company I work for currently has 359 'New Flyer' articulated buses that were built in Winnipeg, Manitoba and can each seat 53 customers with a standing load of who knows. At rush hour, every possible nook and cranny is jammed with a person or 30. Add a couple of wheelchairs, walkers or strollers, and the commute to work or home truly becomes an upfront and personal relationship. While most of our fleet are 40 footers, our articulated buses or a.k.a. 'artics', are 60 footers which is basically a 20' trailer with seats, windows and the engine connected to the front section with a pivoted joint and flexible side walls that allows it to bend around a corner like a 'slinky' or an 'accordion' (both acceptable nicknames). Whatever you want to call them, our artics are generally easy to drive however when weather conditions become snowy, icy or both (an almost daily occurrence this winter in Ottawa), if you're not careful the back section, (where the power or drive is located), sometimes will want to slip towards the curb and jack-knife while trying to grip the road for traction on even the slightest grade or when stopped on a hill. It happens but fortunately not to me in the 11.5 years of driving artics. Quickly, knock on wood for me!! c);-b
Meanwhile, instead of joining the tug & barge with a pivot pin to offer flexible mobility like my articulated bus, the specially designed bow of the VAN ENKEVORT is first positioned within a moulded notch at the stern of the GREAT LAKES TRADER and then connected with piston-driven cylinders that are positioned into recessed vertical racks on both sides of the TRADER'S notch. As a result the JOYCE L. VAN ENKEVORT and the GREAT LAKES TRADER has literally been joined together for over 10 years.
The 135' VAN ENKEVORT was built in 1998 by Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for Great Lakes Marine Leasing of Portland, Oregon, while the 740' TRADER was built in two halves at Halter Marine in Pearlington, Mississippi then towed to New Orleans, Louisiana to be joined together. Once outfitted and mated with the VAN ENKEVORT in New Orleans, the pair motored north and arrived in the Great Lakes in June 2000 after transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway. However, since their combined length was over 844', the GREAT LAKES TRADER had to transit each seaway lock independently with the aid of smaller tugs.

Operated by Van Enkevort Tug & Barge of Escanaba, Michigan,  the VAN ENKEVORT and TRADER have carried stone and iron ore throughout the upper lakes but regularly transfers talconite from her home port of Escanaba located at the upper end of Lake Michigan, due south to the other end of the lake at Indiana Harbor, Indiana which they have continued to do this winter despite biting Arctic cold temperatures and an over abundance of lake ice along Michigan's shoreline. Despite being one of the largest vessels I have ever seen, the tug & barge combo appeared dwarf-size as the thousand footer  AMERICAN CENTURY
(         passed by (above) while exiting the Soo's Poe Lock. Enough articulating about that, eh? c);-b 

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