Side haul railway dry docks
Ship transfer machinery
Chains, rollers and maintenance
Bridles roller system
Restoration & enlargement
Vertical lifting vs. inclined ways
From 1854 to 1935, over 180 railway dry docks had been constructed in the United
States, Canada and abroad by the first four generations of Crandalls.
Since 1935, Crandall Dry Dock Engineers, Inc. has designed and
installed with conspicuous success more than 75 railway dry docks
both for private concerns and government agencies, at home and
To those interested in the origin of the railway dry dock as
distinguished from the English-type slipway, mention is appropriate
of the innovations introduced in 1854 by William Hazard Crandall
and his son, Horace J. Crandall, on an installation in East Boston.
These included higher keel blocks and a deck over the cradle,
which provided a working platform under the vessel for more efficient
work at all stages of the tide. Previously men had worked from
the ground, over and around the cradle beams, which were often
submerged at high tide. Docking platforms, or "plank walks," were
introduced, supported by uprights fastened to each side of the
cradle; these platforms were above water when the cradle was lowered,
so that men could walk along them while handling lines for warping
and centering vessels and pulling the bilge blocks.
Also, this railway dry dock at East Boston was probably the first
such to use steam as motive power instead of men and horses, and
it undoubtedly was the first one to have a pile foundation.
This facility, which may be called the first railway dry dock,
was still operating in 1950, having passed through several reconditionings
in its 96 years of service.
Next: The basics