Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge

One needs only to look at you to see that you take your existence seriously.  Your decidedly military frown dissuades the casual explorer before even they read the signs warning off the unauthorized trespass. 

Oak pilings, layered concrete, granite piers.  As much of the work as possible was done by hand to provide for the unemployed of 1933 when they undertook to lay the foundations for you, graceful monster, giant’s erector set.   Standing astride the canal on your towering legs, you look down on tall ships that pass beneath you. 

Unlike other bridges you are not a simple roadway, a means to an end waiting motionless and passively for the burden of traffic.  You are a machine.  You require reservations and advance notice, permissions and authorizations.  Only proper authority can bid you drop your immense span.  The train must wait for you, but not for long.  After all formalities are met you are ruthlessly efficient, and comply, lowering your two thousand ton span, offset by two one thousand ton counterweights, one on each end, huge steel boxes filled with concrete, in less than five minutes. 

You are amazing, an engineering feat, a work of industrial art.  You are a tribute to those burning to get from here to there.  You are huge, massive, and long-lasting.  

Having gone from useful to disused and back to useful again, you inspire me.  Thank you for being, o bridge. 

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Comments 9 comments

FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

Thoughtful tribute and appropriate personification. Nice article!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Love these old bridges! What a great place to visit! Thanks Tom!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

Thank you FCE!

Thanks so much, Candie! This is a vertical lift bridge. It lifts the rail bed straight up about 200 feet above the water. It's cool.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Hey Tom, do people bungie jump off this bridge? 200 feet!! OOh, I have a strong fear of heights!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

Not that I have heard of, but they certainly could. However, since the rail bed is not designed to be accessed when elevated, they would have to climb the girders with their gear to get there. Also there is the logistical problem of carrying the beer up. :)


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

Great tribute to O, Bridge! Pictures are fascinating too.

P.S. You made me recollect Chekhov's Ode to an Old Family Cupboard (from the play "The Cherry Orchard")


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

Good always to recollect Chekhov! Thank you, ReuVera!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

I don't really like Chekhov (I have my own reasons, YOU would understand me), but this is Russian classics, so.... have to accept it.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

You are right: I would understand you. :)

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