Launch of Kirby Barge Draws Record Crowd
On May 30th, 2015, a clear, sunny Saturday in Portland, Oregon, a record crowd of nearly 3,000 people flocked to see the launch of Kirby Barge 185-01 at Greenbrier’s Gunderson flagship manufacturing facility on The Columbia River.
Measuring more than 578 feet long, than the length of 1.5 football fields, Kirby 185-01 is one of the largest barges ever built in Gunderson’s storied history. The barge is a state-of- the-art articulated tug barge (ATB). ATB’s can handle choppy ocean water better than traditional barges, which means we get to make them big.
Greenbrier’s Gunderson plant is known for having the longest sideways barge launch on the West Coast, so the launching of this behemoth promised to be really something special, and it did not disappoint. See the video below for the full experience.
In case you couldn’t tell, barge launches are sort of a sacred tradition here at Greenbrier. We take pride in all of the work that goes into building our barges, so we like to send them out in style. This means that every barge is christened with a champagne bottle (wrapped in cheesecloth), a practice that dates back to the Tudors and is believed to bring good luck.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a true ceremony be without music…
And last, but certainly not least, it is preferred that the actual launching of the barge be initiated by those that are pure of heart and of high honor (so as not to cancel out the good luck of the champagne christening).
There’s a lot more that goes into it than that, but we can’t give away all of our secrets here! Come see our next barge launch in person, which you can find out about via social media and through our press releases. The next launch will be for the second Kirby ATB, so do not despair if you missed out on this on. Our one piece of advice: get here early, as parking spaces are sure to be a hot commodity. Stay tuned for more details.