The Alaska was renamed Munaksee to go along with all our vessels with Inuit names, we had a terrible time trying to remember them, could not relate to anything. Yes the machinery space was gutted, steam turbines, gear boxes, boilers and all steam accessories. New larger gen sets and control panels were installed to accommodate electrical heating for the entire ship as well as power for pneumatic pumps for transferring mud and cement to the supply tugs for drilling support. The machinery space was filled with water makers as well as sanitary system to accommodate environmental concerns. I removed all trackage which left quite a mess and covered both the main and lower deck with asphalt to allow a better surface for forklifts to operate as well as provide a better frictional surface for storage greatly reducing lashing. I had electrical driven tugger winches on the rear deck and used the motors to power the steam driven anchor windless. I required a large covered deck opening on the rear deck to accommodate heavy lifts from the storage area, to save money and time I had the welders take the extra time to cut the deck exactly the dimensions required and then fabricate a hatch combing to accommodate, if this was performed in a regular shipyard they would have scrapped the cut out and built a new hatch cover $$$. Black oil tanks were cleaned to accommodate diesel fuel (what a mess) as well as manifolds, sea chest not used were capped and foam filled. Other than the owners forward cabins the accommodations were gutted and new crew and galley quarters built (all well insulated), the wheelhouse was also rebuilt to support air traffic controllers as well as marine dispatchers. A big problem arises when trying to tow a ship it acts like a water skier shearing from side to side, to remedy this, resistance is provided by skegs or fixed rudders opposite to each other, this drag reduces speed as well as cost 15-20% in fuel costs, to remedy this a central tow point swivel was fabricated with a potentiometer installed and connected to the steering flat, now the ship would always chase the towing vessel, it worked so well the two assist tugs never touched her all the way out to the light ship on the main arm of the Fraser river. I will try and get some photos of her out this coming week.
Something I heard was that at one point, CN actually wanted to stop using train ferries and went to as far to actually look into running track from Fort Nelson to Alaska to make connection with the Alaska RR, but apparently projected the project would take 15 years...
The Alaska-Canada rail link is still being looked at. The most recent Alaska State funded study was, I think, only 2012. More important than studies, we recently built an almost $200 Million beige over the Tanana to get the Railroad to the south side, and onto easier to build land for the push East. We don't have rail to or from that bridge yet, but the idea is to push the line to Delta, which will be of certain utility to the State and to the military for getting to training grounds, but the real reason for the bridge is to get us just that much closer to the border.
The era of mega-projects is over, so we have taken to doing them in steps. We no longer talk about a road to Nome, we talk about a road to Tanana (on the same river, but a very different location than the bridge), after which we will talk about a road to Ruby, then to Galena, and at that point we are so close to Koyukuk that we may as well... so on until we get to Nome.
Going the other way, using the same model, we have crossed the Tanana, pushing to Delta Junction makes sense, as it will connect the major military installations in Alaska by rail. There is no timeline for when it will happen, and there is no funding allocated to make it happen, but with the bridge built, it will happen. Then, the discussion between Juneau and Whitehorse (it won't be driven from DC or Ottawa) about connecting Yukon mineral resources to the deep-water Port MacKenzie becomes perhaps a billion dollars easier.
It will take much longer than 15 years to do this way, but only 6 years or so will be active construction.
Wow, that's good to hear! I know during the era of BC Rail, there was that big push to do a mega project to link Alaska "once and for all" so to speak, but it fizzled out after the line to Williams Lake got built. I actually think if the rest of that line got built, BC Rail would be still alive...
The last time I saw the "Alaska" I was watching a documentary of somebody sailing into the Arctic and in the background I instantly noticed the outline of the Alaska, she was aground but looked as "pretty as a picture" standing upright, from what I gathered but could be corrected I am positive he was sailing on the Russian coastline, I always had a great love of this vessel, beautiful lines, a real ship. If it was not for the manning problem we would have faced while in the Arctic I would have dropped a couple of 3,600 hp EMD's into her and made her a real speed boat, at the time you could pick them up for $30K out of locomotives, we put one in the Island Commander, I think her original power was 150 hp steam as a Scottish trawler. As I had mentioned in an earlier post I was working out of Whittier, Alaska and saw her many times, I was Chief on Betty Hutton's old yacht the "Sextant" renamed the "Gypsy Queen" the forerunner to the 110' subchasers, she was triple screw and originally had three pancake gas radials in her but had been switched out to diesels, sorry I digress sign of old age, to many stories in my background. Please bare with me as I try to post pictures.
I do hope you enjoy the posted pictures of the SS Alaska - Munaksee and any more questions I would gladly try to answer. Kevin the materials removed were all weighted to be sure that we could provide the stability to the hull with replacement of the new equipment. Regards
a central tow point swivel was fabricated with a potentiometer installed and connected to the steering flat, now the ship would always chase the towing vessel, it worked so well the two assist tugs never touched her all the way out to the light ship on the main arm of the Fraser river.
So, if I understand this correctly, if she were to veer out of line with the tug, the tow-line would pull the swivel which would then engage the rudder to bring her back in-line?
Thank you for all of the photos.
Last Edit: Jan 4, 2016 20:24:44 GMT -8 by Name Omitted: fixing spelling.
Yes the rudder would instantly react to the swivel movement, faster than a helmsman, the idea was proposed to some of the barging companies as fuel costs were starting to take a real bite out of towing profits, but they felt that handling abuse would cause them to much down time. Glad you liked the photos.
I really enjoyed the pictures. The ALASKA was originally built for my cousins, owners of The West India Fruit & Steamship Co. as THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. I've recently been following the ferry after it left there ownership. Is THe MUNAKSEE still in use? Again, thanks for the great pics.