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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Interesting Intersection, but No Train

For some (most?) of my readers, this post will seem like an anomaly. You may not "get" what on earth about this appeals to me. That's ok. But it's important to me, ergo I share.

Possibly new fact about me. I'm a train nut. I've refrained from posting much about that, largely because I haven't gotten many good pictures in recent years. And there's no train today, either. The thing about this is that it's one of the few places in my county where there is the potential for some interesting train pictures.

This is a spur track that goes north to Manistee. It belongs to the same line as the one that runs behind my house- Marquette Rail. There are very few local places where the track is on anything but a level grade of land. Here's what you are seeing:

railroad bridge

The track parallels Custer Road, traveling north, but the road drops down to cross the Big Sable River. Trains can't do that, so there is a rail bridge above the river. It continues well into the trees on the left of this photo, at least 100 feet long.

road curving up hill with railroad warning

But now the road has to curve back up to grade. Note the signs. There is both a railroad crossing and a stop sign up there! See the railroad on the upper grade?

railroad intersection

Now the road curves back to the right. See the white truck up there crossing the tracks?

railroad grade crossing

This is one of the most odd and dangerous at grade crossings I've seen in a while. At the top of the hill, Treml Road runs east-west, and Custer Road takes a little jog to cross the tracks before heading north again. The railroad runs right through the center of the road intersection! I'm sure something would have been changed long before now if this wasn't so rural.

So how will I get pictures with trains? I guess I'll have to go there and sit around all day with a book and wait. They run regularly, but not on any particular schedule. And I have to figure out where I want to position myself to get interesting pictures. Maybe one of these days...


Don't unplug your hub said...

I get it! I like trains too and there is a track at the bottom of my plot and a level crossing. Occasionally a steam locomotive will come along blowing it's whistle. Wonderful.

rainfield61 said...

It is cool to picture a train right in front of us, on the middle of the railway.

Secondary Roads said...

In Ingham county, there is an oblique angle crossing like the one you illustrate here. The difference is that the tracks do the jog and the road goes straight.

vanilla said...

Joan, the Train Hunter. Sitting in the shade with a good book might not be a bad way to pass some time. Good luck.

Ann said...

I don't think I've ever seen a railroad crossing that didn't have the gate that drops down. that does look like it could be a dangerous spot.

Ferd said...

Trains are cool. I recently got a few pictures along the coal train lines in the W Va New River gorge. Rich with history.

Sharkbytes said...

John- Steam! Really? That's just too awesome.

rainfield- I guess I wouldn't want to be close enough to see it coming right at me!

Chuck- really odd how they used to allow crossings like that.

vanilla- Actually, I have a friend who pays money to go on train chasing trips where steam engines are staged to run at dawn on historic tracks just so people can take wonderful pictures. She's the real Train Hunter!

Ann- we have LOTS with not gates and lights, but they don't usually go right through intersections.

Ferd- Oh, there are some amazing train lines in W VA!

sir rob said...

Every time I saw a railroads I always remembered the quiz that associates with it and it goes like this;

Railroad Crossing, Railroad Cars... spell them without R.

Sharkbytes said...

borris- OK... Xing is common, but not sure about "cars"

RNSANE said...

I, too, like trains and I love travel by train, especially in scenic places. My two visits to Switzerland, my friends and I did a good bit of trekking about by train and, as you can imagine, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

My hometown of Columbus, Georgia had a train trestle crossing over to Phenix City, Alabama ( where I went to elementary school ). To save my lunch money for spending, I'd walk across it instead of catching the bus. There were only three places to run - small platforms - if a train came ( the
trestle was NOT meant for pedestrians ). Once I looked up and saw the light down the track had turned red and I had to race for the next platform. I stood there, terrified, while a very long freight train went past, just a couple of feet from me. I could barely walk the rest of the way over the trestle after that!

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