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Of Interest To Tugboat Enthusiasts

Posted August 9, 2007, Modified December 6, 2009

The Bumblebee

Photo Above: The former New Haven Railroad tugboat Bumblebee (presently named Cross Harbor I.) is now berthed at the Hinckley Marina in Melville, Rhode Island as a stationary breakwater. (TES News Photo)

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The classic New Haven Railroad tugboat Bumblebee (now Cross Harbor I.) and her sister Cordelia were designed by Joe Hack of TAMS inc. in the 1950s to handle railroad carfloats in the New York Harbor area. By the 1980s they were both still in railroad service with New York Cross Harbor, operating between Brooklyn and Greenville on the only remaining carfloat route in the metro area. Eventually both boats fell on hard times, the Cordelia had a fatal engine failure and was scrapped, the Bumblebee was laid up out of service in Brooklyn, where it was heavily vandalized. The tug was eventually bought by Doug Della Porta of Eastern Towboat in Boston, to provide spare parts for another vessel with similar propulsion machinery.

For a number of years the Bumblebee sat at the Autoport in Charlestown, Massachusetts, facing an uncertain future. Doug had her advertised for sale as a possible houseboat conversion, but found no takers for such a large an immobilized vessel. When it looked like the tug might end up following her sister to the scrapyard, a new need developed for the Bumblebee. She was purchased for use as a stationary breakwater, mated to a retired barge at the Hinckley Marina in Melville, Rhode Island. This marina is part of a newly developed industrial cluster in the former Navy Fuel Depot property, in the area that also served as the training base for PT boat squadrons in World War Two.

In her new location the Bumblebee provided an additional 100 feet of breakwater to plug a gap in the shielding of the yacht basin from the prevailing southwest wind and seas. Aside from some remaining graffiti and a few missing fittings from her encounters with vandals and brass thieves during her layup in Brooklyn, the tug looked very comfortable in the notch of the retired barge, and appropriate to the surroundings. Unfortunately she filled with water and sank at the pier in a storm shortly after her arrival in Melville, and remains there on the bottom with her superstructure visible today, now serving as a partially submerged breakwater.

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Photo Above: A close up of the Bumblebee (closest) moored inboard of the former Lehigh Valley tug Capmoore in Charlestown, Massachusetts prior to her move to Rhode Island. She had been retained for many years as a spare parts boat by Eastern Towboat. Kodachrome by Preston Cook

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Our Railroad Tugs information page has a view from the pilothouse of this tug taken underway in New York Harbor with a loaded carfloat. To access that page please click on the silhouette of the Bumblebee below:

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This silhouette of the Bumblebee underway also appears on the TES home page. Artwork by Preston Cook

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