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Old 05-25-2016, 12:49 PM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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Default The Soo Locks

With the encounter group Lakers and some ideas I have been working on, I need to wonder about the state of the Soo Locks after 150 years. The area is reasonably far from bomb impacts and the actual operation of the locks is pretty basic. The entire area is owned, operated, and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They have their own power from a hydroelectric plant north of the Sabin lock, so assuming they can repair after and EMP, the locks should be able to operate normally for a period if they can continue to get supplies to maintain them. The MacArthur and Poe locks are the most used by commercial traffic.

The main areas I have concerns about are the large metal door and their alignment and the degradation of the concrete that makes the walls and floor of the lock, especially around the openings on the floor that allows the water in and out of the lock. Would the continuing operation of at least one of the operational locks be a high enough of a priority to have concrete produced and continued training of engineers take away from food production? The hydroelectric plant does produce about 170 KW of power, so there is that to consider.
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:34 PM
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I am not sure specifically how these things are built, but I would think that the concrete or a steel plate fronted gate would erode in 150 years.

Not that it would be that hard to repair, assuming steel and concrete were available.

This topic is of great interest to me on the T2K side as well. Rebuilding the river traffic on the Mississippi River.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:07 PM
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With the encounter group Lakers and some ideas I have been working on, I need to wonder about the state of the Soo Locks after 150 years. The area is reasonably far from bomb impacts and the actual operation of the locks is pretty basic. The entire area is owned, operated, and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They have their own power from a hydroelectric plant north of the Sabin lock, so assuming they can repair after and EMP, the locks should be able to operate normally for a period if they can continue to get supplies to maintain them. The MacArthur and Poe locks are the most used by commercial traffic.

The main areas I have concerns about are the large metal door and their alignment and the degradation of the concrete that makes the walls and floor of the lock, especially around the openings on the floor that allows the water in and out of the lock. Would the continuing operation of at least one of the operational locks be a high enough of a priority to have concrete produced and continued training of engineers take away from food production? The hydroelectric plant does produce about 170 KW of power, so there is that to consider.
Comes down to the volume of traffic and the tolls. What does it cost to go through the lock? What are they getting in trade for the electricity?
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:52 PM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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I am not sure specifically how these things are built, but I would think that the concrete or a steel plate fronted gate would erode in 150 years.

Not that it would be that hard to repair, assuming steel and concrete were available.

This topic is of great interest to me on the T2K side as well. Rebuilding the river traffic on the Mississippi River.
The construction is pretty basic once you break it down. You have a channel that is cut and you put a few feet of concrete on the bottom and vertical walls. You then put another concrete floor with openings in it above the existing floor. Each end of this channel created under the bottom is connected to the water above and below the locks with independently operated valves on each. The ends of each lock has steel or iron doors with wood fenders on the inside that are open and closed hydraulically. For the sake of brevity, I left out the construction details of building and removing a cofferdam, the hinge details, etc.

Being in fresh water and with free electricity, anti-corrosion systems should be able to keep the doors intact indefinitely. Wear on the upper and lower hinge is a bigger problem. Last summer I was in Sault Saint Marie and saw the MacArthur lock completely drained during the 20 days it was closed to repair the lower hinge on the upstream side door. This was to replace one of the original anchorage linkages for the doors, which lasted 72 years. These are routinely maintained in the winter when the locks are closed and dewatered for the winter. The wear on these components should decrease, as I doubt that there will still be around 10,000 ships annually traversing the locks.

The oak fenders are routinely inspected and replaced as needed and can be done while the lock is in operation.

The water and residual silt abrading the bottom of the lock is the area I am most curious about. Since the locks are dewatered during the winter, damage from ice formation is minimized.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:55 PM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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Comes down to the volume of traffic and the tolls. What does it cost to go through the lock? What are they getting in trade for the electricity?
I forgot about tolls! I am so used to the locks currently being free to use I forgot that in the late 19th and early 20th century there was a toll of 3-4 cents per ton to use the locks.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:35 PM
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In PF02 Damocles, its clearly stated that the Soo Locks are in ruin and the waters unnavigable.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:47 PM
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In PF02 Damocles, its clearly stated that the Soo Locks are in ruin and the waters unnavigable.
Yes, but I have a great deal of difficulty with that. Locks are a simple construction. The earliest locks date to around 1000 CE and were completely hand and animal operated. The first Locks at the St Mary's rapids were built on the Canadian side in 1797 and destroyed in the War of 1812. Without the Soo Locks we basically have two "tribes" of Shipmen/Lakers, those in Lake Superior and those in Lake Michigan, Huron and Erie. St Mary's River cannot be navigated by canoes, let alone ships. Without the Locks, there would have to be docks and a great deal of teamster work to move trade goods from the docks of the Superior Shipmen to the docks of the Huron Shipmen.

It may be that the MacArthur and Poe locks are in ruins, but the smaller Davis and Sabin locks might be more easily converted away from iron and electricity to wooden doors and animal or even water power from the rapids to operate the valves and doors. Locks are Tech Level G at their core and too useful for someone not to operate one where the Soo Locks are.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:35 PM
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If I we're on the Soviet nuclear targeting committee, I'd nuke Sault Ste Marie just to shut down all the shipping on Lake Superior.
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Old 05-26-2016, 10:29 AM
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If I we're on the Soviet nuclear targeting committee, I'd nuke Sault Ste Marie just to shut down all the shipping on Lake Superior.
Regardless of Soviet/Chinese nukes, shipping would likely quickly halt on Lake Superior anyway. Communities would likely harvest the HFO in the fuel tanks of the freighters for things like heating during the cold years following the war.
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Old 05-26-2016, 04:22 PM
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Ok...... So what is the there to trade and who is that trade going to?

The Shipmen need a reason to keep those big ships afloat. It would be far easier to live on land, especially during those winters. Third edition means a small ice age and lower sea levels per Operation Final Watch.

BTW...... that could mean lower water levels for the Great Lakes too........ enough that there is not enough out flow to even use the Soo Locks.
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Old 05-26-2016, 06:43 PM
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The trade would be whatever the Shipmen could buy from the local lakeside communities. In Lucifer its noted that Ashland, WI, is now the "port of the north" replacing Duluth (And I'm guessing Thunder Bay but there must be a Canadian port visited by them too).

Furs are mentioned, I would also think there would be goods coming up the Mississippi from the KFS (Via independent traders), so add percussion caps, black powder, cotton and other manufactured goods.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:10 PM
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With the amount of iron ore, trees and limestone available in the region, I would assume ingots of pig iron would be one thing traded. Depending on the amount of agriculture available, they may be trading food as well again.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:18 PM
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With the amount of iron ore, trees and limestone available in the region, I would assume ingots of pig iron would be one thing traded. Depending on the amount of agriculture available, they may be trading food as well again.
Drag netting fish? Maybe one of their ships is a processor? Jarred, pickled, salted lake fish?

Hauling coal? The industry input for one village? Classic triangle trade....

Something that could make 4E economy system rules work?
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:35 PM
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One thing to remember is that the ships most likely to be used are older and smaller freighters, like this one:

http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/sykes.htm
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:19 AM
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One thing to remember is that the ships most likely to be used are older and smaller freighters, like this one:

http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/sykes.htm
671 feet long a 70 feet wide is a smaller freighter?

I may have to make a trip to the Great Lakes just to look around.
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Old 05-28-2016, 11:58 AM
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671 feet long a 70 feet wide is a smaller freighter?

I may have to make a trip to the Great Lakes just to look around.
Yeah, modern freighters are around 1100' long and 100' wide.
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Old 05-28-2016, 01:07 PM
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Yeah, modern freighters are around 1100' long and 100' wide.
Ok......... All bulk cargo like coal, coke, sand, etc...... or bulk liquid like fuel?

Any containerized (connex) carriers? Any car carriers? Do anything like cruise ships work these waters?

I hear some historical remakes of Brigs, Frigates, etc from the American Revolution and War of 1812 make the "Tall Ships" port tour...... Any of those built there and stay year around?

I have never been to the Great Lakes region myself...

I know two gamers in and around Detroit...... I might pick their brains too.
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Old 05-28-2016, 03:40 PM
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Ok......... All bulk cargo like coal, coke, sand, etc...... or bulk liquid like fuel?

Any containerized (connex) carriers? Any car carriers? Do anything like cruise ships work these waters?

I hear some historical remakes of Brigs, Frigates, etc from the American Revolution and War of 1812 make the "Tall Ships" port tour...... Any of those built there and stay year around?

I have never been to the Great Lakes region myself...

I know two gamers in and around Detroit...... I might pick their brains too.
When I was trying to put secondary communication hub (or an alternate home to Damocles) on this island

http://forum.juhlin.com/showpost.php...96&postcount=1

I looked into what kind of shipping is available on the Great Lakes. I do not think there are ANY dedicated container ships during the times discussed for MP or T2k. There has been some interest in the past 3 years, but I still think it has come to naught.

I would think that container barges would be a possibility during the time periods specified. Or Morrow Development could use the lakes for High Speed test runs of small fast container ships which are capable of trans versing the locks.

The runs would come from the few container capable ports which were mentioned by RN7 here.

In the Mississippi vs Rail thread on the T2k side of the house
http://forum.juhlin.com/showpost.php...8&postcount=13

Perhaps Morrow experiments with 6 small high speed container ships for priority Atlantic and Pacific runs. The ships built in Cleveland are shaken out by making speed runs to their owners reclusive island getaway. Given he is a perfectionist in all things, and only speed will make this venture profitable, he demands on time delivery, offloading and load turnarounds under his watchful eye.

I thought this could get me at least a few hundred conex containers onto the island with out a tremendous amount of attention.


I don't think there are any true car carriers (like the huge trans oceanic ones) on the great lakes, but there certainly are dozens if not scores of ferries which can take at least a few cars.

There are small cruise ships and many dinner cruise ships.
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Old 05-28-2016, 07:43 PM
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The elephant in the room in this thread is Isle Royale. A manned, resupply base. I've been wondering if this might be Prime II. Location is pretty good, more or less central in North America. The strange fact that they came out of freeze and then couldn't get off the island ? Who would put a supply base on an island and not give them boats ?

Yes I've read the stuff on Gary's site about the shore side facility, but really, why not put the boats on the island ?
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:48 PM
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Ok......... All bulk cargo like coal, coke, sand, etc...... or bulk liquid like fuel?

Any containerized (connex) carriers? Any car carriers? Do anything like cruise ships work these waters?

I hear some historical remakes of Brigs, Frigates, etc from the American Revolution and War of 1812 make the "Tall Ships" port tour...... Any of those built there and stay year around?

I have never been to the Great Lakes region myself...

I know two gamers in and around Detroit...... I might pick their brains too.
Bulk cargo is the norm around here. Mostly things like ore, grains, salt and rock.

Tall ships do make regular visits to the Great Lakes and there have been a few that spend some tourist seasons here to let people ride them. Though not as many as there used to be.

There are Great Lakes cruise ships, but the timing is important. They were a big thing in the 1950's and then vanished by the end of the 1960's. Around 1997, the cruise business reappeared on the Great Lakes and has grown since then.

Ferries are the only car carriers on the Great Lake that I am aware of.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:29 PM
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The elephant in the room in this thread is Isle Royale. A manned, resupply base. I've been wondering if this might be Prime II. Location is pretty good, more or less central in North America. The strange fact that they came out of freeze and then couldn't get off the island ? Who would put a supply base on an island and not give them boats ?

Yes I've read the stuff on Gary's site about the shore side facility, but really, why not put the boats on the island ?
Isle Royale is a horrible place for a covert base of any kind. As the entire island is a national park with no wheeled vehicles other than wheelchairs and the few tractors and jeeps used by the park service. Unless you are drilling directly into a cliff from the lake, all the land that is flat or is a reasonable harbor for ships has a ranger station or campground on it. There is no mining or lumber activity that you could use for cover. Unless Morrow completely co-opted the ranger service on Isle Royale, I am not sure how you would have made the base. You would fair much better building such a base on Drummond Island or Beaver Island and hiding the construction as a failed resort.
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:17 AM
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Isle Royale is a horrible place for a covert base of any kind..
Yep, totally agree. However, canon says its there so I'd have to go with the " co opting the Ranger Service" point.

I've looked at Beaver Island, I was thinking of placing a Maritime Assault/ Transport team there. It would be a combined MARS/ Support team with 1 SK-5, 1 X Swift Boat and 1 X St. Lawrence Utility Landing craft.
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:59 PM
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I am totally good with TMP co-opting the Park Rangers, BLM, and positions in the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Defense, Human Services, Interior, and FEMA.

That is for another and probably excellent point- counter point discussion.

As for the Soo Locks.

I think of the big ore carriers and cruise ships as the floating villages of the Shipmen....... smaller ships like fishers, ferries, and pilot boats doing the day to day work.

Then I would like to throw in some wood hulled warships with black powder cannon ........ but, with hidden machinery like a diesel engine concealed below decks like a made for movies hull. Just to have fun with players and the KFS.
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:00 PM
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Wooden hulled sailing ships are mentioned in one of the adventures, so I can agree with the large metal hull ships being the mobile village and the smaller sail boats doing the day to day work.
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Old 05-31-2016, 01:08 PM
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Here is a picture of a freighter, the Roger Blough, that is in the news since it went aground late last Friday. This picture shows some typical features of a lake freighter. You can see the flat hatches over the various holds. The white arm is the self-unloader. This basically has a pair of belts that gets lowered into the hold and will fill the hold from a source on shore or empty the hold to the shore depending on the direction the belts are operated.

There are 5 holds with 21 hatches on the Roger Blough, each hold is probably around 30' deep. The beam is 105' so lets assume 90' to account for the double hull and that each hold is about 1/7 the 858' length and you can build a housing project in the 90'x120'x30' holds containing 30 2-bed apartments in each, and still have room for food storage and trade goods in the remaining ones.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:54 PM
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One of the questions I ask myself as part of this process is whether or not Lake Erie and up are landlocked and unable to enter Lake Ontario and the Atlantic Ocean. To make that trip, ships small enough need to traverse the Welland Canal at Niagra Falls and then the locks on the St. Lawrence River. Both of these passages are not short and consist of a very large number of locks. I will use the Welland Canal as an example. The map here show the two air burst targets close enough to have any effect on the Welland Canal. Thorold is SW of the center of the 1 PSI overlap area. This is the location of the southern most lift lock in the canal. The northern most lift lock is 3 km inland, putting it about even with the top of the 3 PSI ring of St. Catharines. This section of the canal has 7 of the 8 locks. The 8th lock is on the Lake Erie end to compensate for the changing lake level.

Then there is the 43 km length of the canal to consider. Is the entire canal under one parties control or are there many? Chains and cables could be strung across the canal to bar travel until appropriate toll is paid at just about any point along the canal.

The situation on the St. Lawrence River is similar. I really just want to get a handle on how separated the various Great Lake and the Atlantic would be.
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Old 06-06-2016, 05:00 PM
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Getting a ship up thru locks 3 thru 7 is going to be the really tricky part. I'm not sure without electricity this is going to be all that easy. They are all within the blast radius of the St. Catharine's strike, so damage is going to be sustained.
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Old 06-07-2016, 04:57 PM
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Well....... it wouldn't be TMP with out a complicated answer.

I would make them landlocked.... Something only the TMP with pre-War knowledge and no local ties or feuds to interfere with has the exact expertise to bring back online.

The Canal would be there with a trickle running through it, canoes and rafts carry some things down stream. A road, if there isn't one with mules bring people, craft, and material back up stream.

For ease on the PD, I would give the Canal over to one despotic Warlord that funds his villainous campaigns with the tolls from the canal. Give him Roman style forts, such as Mile Forts, like once guarded Hadrian's Wall scattered at intervals the length of the canal. That would give the Warlord a sizeable force, but one in small enough packets that the Team would have some effectiveness.

Some grudging respect or cooperation from the Shipmen, Townsfolk, and Gypsy Truckers because the Warlord does keep the canal open and enforces a local peace.

Some local resistance forces operating in the area of the canals lock because that complicates things further..... "Free the Canal!" "No Tolls on Trade!".

Some saboteurs from out of the area trying to kill the Warlords troops, wreck trade on the water and road, as well as put any functioning locks out of commission. There to disrupt things and hurt the Warlords income and blunt his fighting or ability to go on campaign.

Just to further monkey wrench a Team... make the Warlord responsible for so good works like a Hospital with Emdees, and some guest teachers from a far away University to educate orphans. Make sure the Warlord owns an holds open the safe trade camp, farmers market, and flea market.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:09 AM
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The more I think about it, ships would be land locked by the state of the Canal. Even with the proximity to the blast at St Catharine, the hydraulic pumps could be operated by some other means or the lock door and valves be operated by draft animals if needed. They would not open and close that often. The many bridges that have collapsed into the Canal and the lack of dredging would make it such that only small craft could make the trip, as Sgt suggests, effectively stopping large ships.

I like the warlord concept. Making him actually helpful to reconstruction is a nice complication.
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