6 September 2005
Derailed, so to speak
The city and the Union Pacific Railroad are at odds again over the redesigned Walnut Avenue Bridge. Five months into the project, which is due to be completed next spring, the warring parties are still far apart on who pays how much for what, and the railroad is complaining that the city's design, which eliminates one side track, makes it unnecessarily difficult to switch trains below the bridge. The Corporation Commission agreed with the railroad and ordered the city to come up with an alternative design; the city responded with a design that relocates the single track for greater clearance.
Four years ago, the city wanted to demolish the bridge and put up a grade crossing; I can't help but wonder if maybe someone at City Hall is wishing they'd gone ahead with that plan.
Posted at 7:46 AM to City Scene
A multi-track grade crossing!? With train-switching nearby!!??
Is there ever, like, any traffic on that stretch of Walnut Avenue?
I'm remembering when Roseville, California -- home of the then-Southern Pacific rail yards made famous by an exploding munitions train -- had a whole lot more at-grade rail crossings than it has now. The unmitigated fun of sitting at one of those crossings for extended periods of time while the mile-long train extending across the road goes through switching.
"The train's moving again!"
"Oops. It stopped again."
"Hey, it's backing up!?"
"Now it's going forward -- why's it stopping this time!!??"
Well, not now: the bridge is out.
There was enough traffic along there to justify rebuilding the bridge; in fact, with the increased development at both ends, I expect there will be rather more traffic over Walnut. (South of the bridge it's officially Mickey Mantle Drive; it runs past the ball park.)
Then again, sometimes cities do insane things. Austin used to have a grade crossing across I-35 (north of the 38½ Street exit).