Repowers on the Upper Mississippi
On the Upper Mississippi, around Minneapolis/St. Paul, push boats put in only six months per year as the water is frozen for the other half of the calendar. But working 24 hours per day, seven days a week still racks up the hours on a boat’s main engines. With nine boats in their fleeting operation, Upper River Services of St. Paul Minnesota is regularly looking at repowering for reliability and longevity. As they have purchased boats they have taken on engines from a variety of manufacturers, but they have been most impressed with the proven reliability of the six-cylinder Cummins KTA19s. This past spring they repowered a twin screw boat, the Minneapolis, with a pair of 600 HP KTA19s.
Now they are working on a rebuild of a 50 by 25-foot triple screw boat, the Miss Kate, that they bought in 1997 with a three very old engines of the same model. The boat has been laid up for two years, but is now having the three KTA19s replaced with the company’s first IMO-compliant six-cylinder Cummins N14s. "We stripped the boat down a couple of years ago," says company president Lee Nelson, "Now we are bringing it back to life. We are conservative in our approach to repowers and we were initially uncertain about pulling 400 HP out of smaller engines like the N14s, but we have had good results with Cummins."
Five of the company’s nine boats are now Cummins powered. In their fleeting operations Upper River Services move barges the twenty miles between the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. They also service the grain port of Savage, just up the Minnesota River from the Mississippi, "The river is only 200-feet wide and we need a small nimble boat capable of moving six barges at a time," says Nelson, "and we think this triple engine combination with a total of 1200 HP will meet our needs with the required dependability."
The new engines will turn into Twin Disc MG514 gears with a 6.10:1 reduction.
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