This Space for Rent

The Bridge of Terror

Today, when I did the now-traditional (everyone working down there must be thinking "there goes that crazy trainspotter again") #17/Eng!/#70 trip home from work, I got to Haig & 17th and didn't see a thing. After yesterday, and since every time I'd gone down in the past 10 days the yellow menace had started at least one train north around the time that Amtrak 507 came south, I was going to be a little suspicious, so I walked one block south and saw, lurking just behind the Lafayette Toonerville bridge, 4 C44s attached to a long train of container cars.

The view north from here wasn't particularly good (there is a small grove of trees that blocks the view to the north, so if an Amtrak train showed up I'd have about a second for the Pentax to autofocus and get a picture before the train swept by to the south), and this train looked suspiciously like it was ready to go. So I decided that I would go down to the bridge and try to get my photos from there, and if the train started to move I'd be able to get up onto the bridge and have a fighting chance of getting a picture of the Amtrak train.

UP 5354, 5540, 9662,and 5427 getting ready to spoil the view.

As soon as I walked up to the foot of Lafayette street the train went *toot* and started to move northwards, stopping with 9662 parked right under the bridge. So up I went to get into a better position to take pictures. As you can probably tell, the Lafayette bridge is not what you'd call sturdy, and the whole damned bridge was shaking in unison with the diesel motors in the C44Ws. Now, I wanted a good picture, but I've got an attachment to solid ground that stays solid, not ground than jumps up and down at 300rpm, so I retreated to the end of the bridge. The view wasn't so good there, but it wasn't bouncing up and down like the center of that plate-girder span.

While I was sitting at the end of the bridge, this train started to move forward, creeping slowly out of the yard, so I stayed put to wait for the train to clear the bridge. This didn't work out as I'd planned; when there were still 5 cars blocking the view, Amtrak 507 blew around the curve and went whizzing by at track speed.

When I came down off the bridge, a couple of switch engines were moving forward to do some switching, so I got another street-level view before heading back to 17th street to catch the bus home.