Saturday, February 23, 2013

As the 4:42 crossed the Landon Everard Railway Bridge...

...the tsunami had just passed beneath it! When the passengers saw the roiling waves, the conductor assured them that, "This bridge is plenty strong enough to take that little bit of rough water!"

This cast-concrete parabolic-arch bridge was built in 1908 during the Great Modernization directed by Governor General Alexander Poloustrov. Under the reign of  Czar Nicholas II, Poloustrov built hundreds of miles of new roads, streets, and railways as well as hydroelectric dams and deep-water harbors to modernise New Island. This ambitious Great Leap Forward was intended to tell the world that Russia was also creating a colonial empire to rival that of Great Britain, Germany and the USA. Poloustrov's modernization was surprisingly accomplished with hired labor - a story unto itself!

Landon Everard, a New Island native, later won brief fame for sending the first international  telegraph message to Perth, Western Australia. The railways maintained the telegraph and early telephone systems, so the bridge was named after Everard in 1992.

The Putney Interurban Streetcar Authority (PISA) runs trains every 15 minutes over this bridge from the Downtown Station to the western and northern suburbs. A narrow bike/walking path was added in 2011, but it was a bad idea. The trains ran so close to the path that few people used it, and two 11-year-olds were almost hit by a train while arguing and shoving each other during a rainstorm (a long story). The path was closed late in 2012.

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