Tag Archives: rail

Rails on the End of the Bridge

The railway that runs from Seattle up to Everett and either on to Vancouver or east across the Cascades crosses a bridge that is just outside the locks at Ballard.  The bridge is a bascule bridge and, since there is quite regular boat traffic including sailing boats with high masts, it is frequently opened.  The low winter light does a nice job of illuminating the underside of the deck of the bridge when it is open.  I was more interested in the shapes at the end of the bridge where the rails end.  They are clearly shaped to interlock with the opposite rails on the bridge approach and also to have a shape which allows the wheels to smoothly pass over without some sudden impact forces.  As they stand up in the air, they strike me as rather fascinating.

Elizabeth Line Station

Last year, while we were staying in London, I got to take my first trip on the Elizabeth Line or what was known for a long time as Crossrail.  This is a major addition to the transportation network of the town and appears to have been very successful.  I only took one trip through the core of town and one to the airport.  It was a very quick way to cover a journey that previously was a lot more drawn out.  However, the thing that impressed me most was the stations.  They are huge.  The trains are long from the start, but they have built capacity to have them longer and the platforms are about 250m long as a result.  You need to know which end to get out to make sure you don’t find yourself several blocks from where you intended when you get to the surface.

More Fuselages Arrive

I’ve posted photos of 737 fuselages on the delivery trains before so this is a repeat.  This time it was a collection of five fuselages on one train, possibly the most I have seen at once.  I saw the train across the field but thought I might have time.  I was getting something else and, since the train has to switch off the mainline south of the airport, it often has to wait for the route to be set.  I did get around just before the train moved which was handy.

With that many fuselages, I wanted to get a longer shot with a long lens.  That is something that can only be done well in the winter when heat haze is significantly reduced.  The overcast conditions mean that the green of the protective film on the fuselages looks a bit more vibrant than it does in bright conditions.

How To Move Ships Around The Shipyard

The walk from our hotel in Victoria to a favorite breakfast spot took us alongside one of the local shipyards.  This yard had plenty of decent sized vessels out of the water and being worked on.  I was quite taken by their method of moving the boats around.  They have a lift area in the water and then the ships get put on supports on rails.  There is a turntable in the yard which allows each vessel to be moved to a different part of the yard.  I had seen a hint of this on Google Maps before we went so was interested to check it out when we walked by.

Salmon Bay Bridge

The rail bridge just downstream of the locks at Ballard has been photographed by me many times.  However, recently I found myself on the south side of the bridge for the first time.  Why I haven’t been there before, I cannot say.  It puts you on the better side not only for the light but also for the angles.  The train crosses the road after it leaves the bridge so you can be more in line with the bridge or you can walk down to the shoreline and look back at it.  Needless to say, I did both!

Sounder In the Fall At Picnic Point

One evening, while up near Everett, I had a bit of spare time on my hands.  I had noticed a park along the waterfront called Picnic Park and had noted that I would check it out at some point.  This was a good time to try finding out what it was like.  The weather was not great but, with time on my hands, I headed down there.  It is a small park along the water and there is a bridge across the railroad to reach it.  As I walked across the bridge, there was a nice view down to where the coast curves around and the trees along the shore had some nice fall colors.

With the sun popping in and out on a regular basis, I thought this would be a good place if a train was coming.  As it happened, the Sounder commuter rail train from Seattle to Everett was not far off so I decided to wait for it to come through.  A few minutes later it came in to view.  There was a family with a young child standing on the bridge waving to the crew and, when I looked at the photos at home, I could see both crew waving back.  It was a pretty short train.  The Sounder North has not been too successful and the commuter rail ridership is well down due to COVID.  I guess there is no need for more cars just now.

Old Trestle at Whatcom Falls

A railroad used to run through what is now Whatcom Falls Park.  While the tracks have now gone, a trestle bridge across the water still remains.  I may have lived in the US a long time now, the presence of trestle bridges still fascinates me.  They have a look of Victorian railroads about them but many have survived.  In the UK, old bridges are either iron or brick with multiple arches.  The trestles have a distinctly American feel to them.

There were some barriers around the end of the bridge while we were there.  Checking out some photos online, it looks like the rails used to be suspended across some of the space.  Maybe these have been removed to stop people getting up there.  Fortunately, the majority of the bridge is still intact.  I wonder what happened to the track bed.  The rails are visible up on the top with ties (sleepers) between them but no support which suggests. Train would have had a rough ride.  There must have been more there at some point.

It’s Trains, Not Planes, Honest!

I might be sneaking some planes in to a post that would normally be a non-aviation day but I am going to claim that this is a post about trains rather than planes.  If you don’t agree, I shall refund your subscription fee!  The BNSF main line runs alongside Boeing Field and I saw a train run past the north end of the field heading south with three 737 fuselages on their railcars.  I figured I wouldn’t be able to get around in time to see them up close but then the train seemed to slow.

I figured it was worth a shot and drove around.  The train has stopped but it was also behind another stopped train so I couldn’t see it easily.  Instead, I head further along the track to a location where you could look up towards the train and where you would have an angle on it as it moved again – assuming it did of course.  There was quite a wait for some passing commuter trains before it finally got going.  The three fuselages will probably have been switched out at the yard just south of where I was and then moved to the Boeing factory at Renton.

Cross Kirkland Connector

I was out on the bike doing a short trip to Bellevue to a) get some miles in and b) buy some new cycling gloves.  On the way back, I decided to take a different route and try out the Cross Kirkland Connector.  This is a bike and walking trail across Kirkland that uses an old rail route.  This is part of a network of trails which, when finished will take you from the Skagit county line, through Snohomish, down to Woodinville, on to Kirkland and then via Bellevue to Renton.  It will be a while before it is all open, though.

I have ridden on the connector once when we lived in Juanita.  It isn’t paved so is a little dusty but it is a good surface in the most part.  There is construction underway at one end where a bridge will soon take the trail across a larger road.  It feels remarkably secluded given that it is through some densely populated areas.  One part of the trail has what seems to be a railway halt.  There is a shelter and some old track and signals to show the heritage of what the line once was.  The right of way would be ideal for reintroducing passenger service but I think the objections to that would be strenuous from the trail’s users, even if tracks and trails could coexist.  I doubt it will happen in my lifetime!

Dead Railcar

A short distance from our house is an old railcar that is sitting on spare land gradually decaying.  It has been here as long as we have and I suspect a lot longer than that.  I’m not sure what it is resting on but it does seem to be listing a bit more these days than it was the first time I saw it.  I have driven past it on many occasions and often thought that I should take a picture of it.  I recently happened to be walking along the road rather than driving so figured I should stop and get a shot.  Since it is summer, the plants are grown up around the side of the road so it is a bit harder to get a clear shot of it.  I used the longer lens on the phone and stitched together some shots.  It would be better to shoot this later in the day when the light is nicer but we shall see if I make the effort to go back – and maybe take a better camera?