View south on Boundary St
View south on Boundary St;|
View north on Boundary St;
View from Schenley Bridge
RR bridge at Carnegie Institute "Cloud Factory"
USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
Pittsburgh East - Zone 17; 0589 4477
-- Carnegie Institute powerplant "Cloud Factory"
-- Pittsburgh Junction RR [CSX, B&O RR]
TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION / DESIGN:
LENGTH OF MAIN SPAN:
TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):
HEIGHT OF DECK:
YEAR ERECTED / ENGINEER:
c1907 (removed 2012)
Affectionately known as the "Cloud Factory" for the billowing steam from its twin stacks, the Bellefield Boiler Plant is the heart of the 12th largest coal-fired district heating system in the United States. The plant was built in 1907 to provide steam heat for the Carnegie Library and Museum. The system was expanded in the 1930s to service the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. About two and one-half miles of underground pipe in three loops (Mellon, Schenley and Hospital) distribute the steam to a large portion of Oakland. The system is jointly owned by the Bellefield Boiler Cooperative which includes nine separate institutions, such as the University of Pittsburgh, the medical center, Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie and the Pittsburgh Board of Education.
From the Carnegie Library website: "According to engineer Edward Permar of facilities management, the boiler uses more than 60,000 tons of clean-burning, low-sulphur Kentucky coal per year, brought in almost every day in the winter via 70-ton railroad cars. (A combination of
80 percent coal/20 percent natural gas keeps the plant within air pollution standards.) At its peak, the boiler generates 175 pounds of pressure per square inch, or 180 thermal megawatts--in other words, enough steam to heat a small city."
This trestle is one of the few wooden trestles in the county -- and all the more special since it handles almost daily railroad traffic. The other wooden bridges in Allegheny County are pedestrian bridges.
Boundary St squeezes through a small opening in the trestle. The track links to the CSX via the Pittsburgh Junction Railroad line.
To comply with polution regulations, the plant was updated to be fueled by natural gas in 2009. With coal deliveries no longer necessary, the wooden rail trestle was removed in 2012.
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