River Crossing Railroad Bridges
I marvel at our hardest working bridges.
When paddling down the Mississippi River or a remote narrow tributary in our north woods, when I see a bridge ahead I pause to admire its marvelous design and engineering. I am most fond of our railroad bridges, especially those that either swivel or lift.
Whether they cross a narrow river, deep valley, or lift above a channel to allow a 1,000 foot freighter passage, these bridges are a brilliant solution where nature gets in our way. Buffeted by winds from above, challenged by the fast flowing river below, or pounded by heavy loaded cargo all day long, it's a miracle that they stay upright as long as they do.
The railroad bridge is unique in their design, purpose, and even odor.
When passing under a railroad bridge its distinct odor of creosote used to treat its ties and pier pilings is undeniable. As noxious as it is, the tar-like scent adds to the wonder and romance of the passage above.
I can’t help but be excited by the earth shaking, deafening roar of the mighty diesel passing above. In a hurry to complete its transcontinental journey, I wonder what’s in the 20, 30 or the 100 railroad cars being pulled behind. Is it gravel to build a new highway, coal to fuel major industry, or salt to make our roads safe during the cold slippery winter months?
Whether the bridge above is being used by BNSF, CSX, Union Pacific or a small railroad company ferrying passengers for a scenic valley tour, these marvelous structures always awe and impress.