2017-09-09 Sat


I am using North America as an example, but you can aplly my thin king to almost any developed country, I believe.

Back in 2005 I wrote :

Kinzua railway trestle – do the math “When the Kinzua Viaduct was built in 1882, it was the highest railroad bridge in the world”. So American! But wait! “The original viaduct was 301 feet high, 2,053 feet long, and weighed 3,105,000 pounds”. The original?

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Yep! In May 1900 (18 years after it was first built) it was rebuilt to accommodate heavier trains. The new bridge weighs 6,715,000 pounds.

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So what? The original bridge was built in 94 days by a 40-man crew. That’s back in 1882 when hydraulics weren’t around. The May 1900 rebuild took about 150 men 105 days working 10-hour days. Trade Unions take note.

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I estimated 40 “legs” on the bridge. That suggests an average of 2½ days per leg to erect the thing. Legs run to 300 feet tall. With the platform and rail bed included.

Excellent photos at http://www.route-6.com/pa/mckean/bridge/photo.html or search the web for other information.


The bridge was blown down during a violent storm back in ????, but I had previoulsy visited here when it was still errect, and back then there was talk of turning it into a Tourist Trail.

And no hydaulic back-hoes, Caterpilla “D9” bulldozers or tower cranes either.


Then there was the Great Canadian Pacific Railway (Pierre Berton “The Last Spike”). The contract to build the railway received Royal Assent on February 15 1881. On May 2 1881 construction was ready to begin from Portage la Prairie Manitoba. On November 7th 1885 the last spike was driven at Craigellachie. That is four and a half years. And the railway was built westwards from Portage, and the railway was built eastwards from Portage. Parts of the coast-to-coast line were already in existence, but think in terms of four thousand five hundred miles and you won’t be farom wrong, especially if you include stations, sidings, tunnels, bridges and so on.

That’s a thousand miles a year, or about three miles a day, seven days a week, summer, winter, swamps, mosquitoes.

And no hydraulic back-hoes, Caterpillar “D9” Bulldozers or Tower Cranes either.

High Speed Trains

And then last week I watched once again the excellent YouTube video “TGV speed record 574,8 km_h [360p].mp4” where a French TGV sets a speed record of 574 kilometres per hour, and I thougyt:-

All we really need to do is appropriate some land either side of the existing rail corridor and get going. Despite articles that died in the public newspapers two or three months ago, the people back then had real vision for bridges and railways. They built not for the day, but for generations ahead.

Why don’t we elect politicians today who can roll up their sleeves, stop braying, and get digging? The link between Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto ought to skim off half the buisness of the airlines, if only because rails service offers door-to-door delivery from and to the heart of downtown.

Then extend it to wherever.

But don’t let those Bearded Wonders with their Donkeys and loose women and Rotgut Whiskey and picks and axes and shovels show us up.

The Technology is available (check out Europe and Japan)

The Experience is available (check out Europe and Japan)

The Costing and Budgeting is available (check out Europe and Japan)


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Of the four sets of Plants I Harvested on Saturday, August 26, 2017 only two seem to be thriving. Still, a Batting Average of 0.4 is good considering that I don’t know what I’m doing.

The plant that predominates in this image shows Phenomenal Growth. Either that or I am slowly dragging it upwards by adding a litre of water every two days now.

In the photo above you see that plant growth extends a full three inches above the water-line.

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A photo from above. Some of the strong plants have attracted a form of Leaf-Rot.

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Another side-view of the Strong Plants. I have Notched the Third Leaf of a stalk on each of the two types as a Marker. I shall check, daily, to see if the notched leaf falls to fourth position as I continue to add water on even-numbered days.

If the notched leaf drops to fourth (or fifth) place, then we are seeing New Leaves Added. If however the plant stays three inches above water and the notched leaf remains in third place, then I am probably just Dragging the Plant Out of the Rocks By Flotation.