Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Top of the Rock II

Letchworth Train 2 (1173, EM5, 11-2-13)

Well, not exactly a “top of the rock” kind of image, but it seemed close enough.  Actually it’s more like a “top of the bridge” image.  The Portageville High Bridge in Letchworth State Park to be exact.  I was down there a couple of weeks ago hoping to see some brilliant fall color (there wasn’t any) and wound up photographing this train instead.  A train that I was surprised to see.  I thought I’d read something this past spring about the bridge, that it was going to be removed because it needed some major repair work (it was built in 1875).  Apparently it hasn’t happened yet. And apparently trains are still crossing the thing.  Very, very slowly I should add.  Personally, I think it must scare the bejesus out of anybody who’s on the train.  I’ve been visiting Letchworth for a long time and the bridge has always looked a bit rickety to me.  You also see people up there on foot.  They’re not supposed to be, but you see them there fairly often.  Not, however, when a train’s crossing.

Letchworth Train 1 (351, 11-2-13)

I’ve taken this picture before, but never with a train up there.  This image reminds me of one of those old movies where the bad guys blow up a railroad bridge just before the train arrives and the whole thing goes crashing down into the river below.  With explosions and fire.  Not this time, though.  The train crossed safely and I went back to my car to go look for some color.  Color that I still couldn’t find.

If they do remove the bridge I think I’ll be a little sad.  I’ve always liked the way it looks there, silhouetted against the sky, above the falls.  It’s the proverbial “Nature / Human Influence” landscape.  Without the bridge, it’ll just be another hole in the sky.


4 Responses to “Top of the Rock II”

  1. TomDills

    That’s quite an amazing structure, Paul. I can see why people might be reluctant to cross it. The close up of the train is nice, but the wider angle view showing the bridge and the falls is really great.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Tom. Yes, I prefer the second image, too. Probably because I’ve always liked the falls and the gorge. The strange thing about me not wanting to cross – or stand on – this bridge is that if I were out west standing on a cliff 2000 feet above the Colorado River I wouldn’t give it a second thought. It doesn’t bother me. But I’m sure I’d be scared s*#%less if I was standing on this thing!

  2. Cedric Canard

    I have a fondness for bridges. Bridges are generally unique, no two exactly the same (except perhaps for a few twins) and they each have a personality. This one is quite spectacular in it’s span and slenderness. It looks like a matchstick model, unassuming and unimposing, modestly playing down its strength while trying to appear as graceful as its surroundings. The scenery is definitely enhanced by its presence.
    Of course all this says something about your wonderful captures of this bridge. Nicely done Paul.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Cedric. You and I are definitely on the same page here. The bridge does add something to its surroundings – one of those rare cases where a man-made structure makes the view better and not worse. The falls and gorge just won’t look the same when the bridge is gone.


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