bridge walkways

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Mon Feb 28 17:18:10 EST 2005

 Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 17:25:35 +0000
   From: tjackz at
Subject: Platforms

This raises a question for me - what was the original
purpose for those types of [bridge] platforms?  I'm
sure they were not intended to aid trespassers -
perhaps storage or work platforms of some type?

February 28, 2005

Hello, all:

When there were section gangs, some track inspection
was performed on foot.  Bridges required particular
scrutiny for the timbers or beams supporting the
cross-ties.  As already noted, water barrels were
positioned periodically alongside the platform to
catch precipitation and be an avaiable water source if
a hot cinder from the locomotive firebox dropped onto
the bridge and started smoldering.  The buckets hung
on these barrels were conical or had a rounded bottom,
so that people would be less likely to steal them,
since they wouldn't stand upright on the ground.

Also as noted in another email, there were recesses on
the inside of tunnels for trackwalkers to stand when a
train passed.  However, there was a real hazard of
asphixiation, even if one was clear of the passing

Good afternoon,


Dr. Frank R. Scheer, Curator
Railway Mail Service Library, Inc.
f_scheer at
(202) 268-2121 - weekday office
(540) 837-9090 - weekend afternoons 
in the former N&W station on VA rte 723 
117 East Main Street 
Boyce  VA  22620-9639
Visit at

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