Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wheatland Ferry

Time for another engineering post for the guys at the Wednesday luncheon. I took a drive over to take a look at the Wheatland Ferry that crosses the Willamette River about 10 miles north of Salem, OR. It only travels about 600 feet (depending on the height of the river). It can carry 9 cars or a max. of 40 tons.

What I found to be very interesting is the fact that it is powered by electricity. The ferry has a diesel engine to power a generator, but they found they could save about $1,500 a month by running it on electricity. They rigged up a trolley affair over the river and is pulled back and forth over the wires by the overhead guide cable. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

A crew of two just have just enough time to collect the $2 per car before the ferry touches shore on the other side of the river.

Pedestrians can ride free so I rode back a forth a few times taking pictures and talking with the crew.

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