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Author Topic: LANSDOWNE- Ferry Barge Sinks at Erie, Pa  (Read 2020 times)
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Jeff Thoreson
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« on: January 04, 2006, 07:36:20 pm »

Photos of the vessel underwater can be found at:

From Tuesday's Erie-Times News:

New holes found in submerged Lansdowne

The Lansdowne is still sunk.

Eric Guerrein, president of Lakeshore Towing Services, had thought the rusty railroad barge could be afloat as early as Monday. But that changed Friday when his crew made no headway after they started pumping water out of the hull. Workers earlier had patched open vents and drains on the submerged deck and hull of the barge.

After Friday's work, the crew found other openings that were originally overlooked, Guerrein said.

The Lansdowne, the barge that a California company once wanted to make a floating restaurant, has been sitting on the bottom of Presque Isle Bay at the Sassafras Street Pier since Dec. 25.

Guerrein said he hopes to resume pumping water out of the hull of the barge this week after everything is sealed, but he did not know when the vessel might be afloat again.

For now, Guerrein said trying to pump water out of the Lansdowne would be like trying to "pump water out of a colander."

Dennis Stahl, a lawyer with the barge's owner, Specialty Restaurants Corp. of Anaheim, Calif., said Friday that the company is definitely recovering the barge, but he would not comment on the plans for the barge after its recovery. No one from the company could be reached Monday.

As Guerrein's crew worked to salvage the Lansdowne, railroad buffs continued an effort to save the two railroad cars on the deck. The two cars are not submerged, but some people fear the company could scrap the cars along with the barge.

The two cars are believed to be among the six remaining from the Olympian Hiawatha, a train that ran from Tacoma, Wash., to Chicago from 1947 to 1961.

After news coverage of the sinking, Lee Edgar, a transportation historian from Queen Anne's County, Md., who is trying to save the railroad cars, said he heard from about 10 parties interested in the cars.

Some have been private individuals who want to help, and another was a museum from Washington that wants to host one of the cars, Edgar said.

"It's very encouraging," he said. "I'm very pleased and very optimistic of the response."

Edgar said he faxed a letter about saving the cars to executives from Specialty Restaurants on Friday and expects a response today or Wednesday.

Specialty was told by the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority before the sinking that the barge must be moved out of the bay by March 1 because of the ongoing construction of the bayfront convention center.

Specialty pays the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority $1,000 a month rent to dock the barge, which has been in Erie since 1999.
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