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Under the Donnersbergerbrücke
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Train Derails on Bridge
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I was in Kahnawake visiting my friends Mike and Jeff looking at the lift bridge over the St Lawrence Seaway as a train was passing over the bridge and on to Montreal. I left to go down by the bridge to take pictures of some of the graffiti on the bridge piers.
Little did I realize that the train I had been watching never made it all the way across. While I was underneath one end of the bridge taking pictures, the extreme wind conditions (111 km/h, or 67 mph was recorded at Dorval, 3 miles away, but winds on the bridge are always much higher)Apparently, the extreme winds had blown the rear end of the train right off the tracks, and the rail cars had gotten jammed between the two spans of the bridge.
I did not find out till a few hours later what had transpired, although it was in plain view of the Mercier Bridge, which I used to go home to Dorval an hour later. Mind you, I was too busy making sure I did not get blown into the guard rails to be doing much looking around on the bridge.
The next day (this morning), I went over and took some pictures of the accident. Here they are, along with some background shots.
I managed to climb up near the edge of the bridge to take this shot this morning
Another shot from the same location
A wider view from 100 yards downstream
A closeup of the same shot
Me on the bridge right around the left end of the derailment site (as viewed from the previous picture), but in 1995
The view of the lift bridge as seen from Jeff's porch, 2004. Note the commuter train crossing.
The lift bridge as seen from the upper span of the Mercier Bridge in 2004. (I just like this shot and wanted an excuse to post it)
The Kahnawake end of the bridge section where the train derailed, also seen from the Mercier Bridge in 2004, again with a commuter train.
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Guy McLaren: 19th Feb 2006 - 13:35 GMT
When I was a kid I saw the aftermath of two steam engines that hit each other head on.
EvilGentleman: 19th Feb 2006 - 18:18 GMT
Thanks, all. I just wish I could have gotten there before all the media attention had been generated. As far as I know, that is the first derailment on that bridge since it was built 121 years ago in 1885 (it was mostly rebuilt in 1913) Since that bridge was the main (and only) link between our area and Montreal Island, the people of Kahnawake have always used this bridge as a footpath. For many of our world-famous high steel ironworkers, this is the first structure they can remember climbing as a child. Call it an ironworker nursery, if you will. (I took these shots from the Montreal side of the bridge, which is why I have credited them as Montreal, and not Kahnawake)
Guy, that sounds gruesome, yet incredible. Yikes!
Peter: 21st Feb 2006 - 18:37 GMT
great entry. you got some comprehensive and great shots, thats for sure. also: i love bridges. and train wrecks :)
Catherine Penfold-Waxman: 1st Mar 2006 - 17:10 GMT
It's like a car crash...I can't look away. Interesting shots, good info. Thanks.
Mike - Sept.2006: 9th Sep 2006 - 15:49 GMT
A rail fan for years. Just saw the pictures today.The picture you added is really special, it shows peace and serenity. Those shots of the train derailment would be an interesting article in the magazine" Branchline" Canada's Rail News Magazine. It is just awesome to see how wind could be so strong that it derails trains.Thanks for sharing your pictures.
EvilGentleman: 9th Sep 2006 - 21:21 GMT
Thank you, Mike. If you liked that, then I also might suggest the 2nd, 3rd and 4th articles of this series involving the bridge derailment. The 4th article is actually a walk on the bridge among the wrecked railroad ties. The damage was quite extensive.
EvilGentleman: 9th May 2007 - 02:57 GMT
The section of the bridge the derailment ocurred on. I took most of my pictures from the small rail overpass at the N end.
And the lift bridge on the Kahnawake side.
MIke-cycle: 7th Sep 2009 - 03:17 GMT
Thanks for the info and pictures on the bridge. Crossed the bridge with my wife yesterday, pushing our bikes (Kahnawake-Lasalle). Being afraid of heights this traverse can be characterised as terrifying for me...1 and a half kilometer journey of tension and fear. I love biking that area (Kahnawake to Beauharnios), and I would love to see a pedestrian/bike bath built into the train bridge.
The Bigger E: 7th Sep 2009 - 12:25 GMT
I remember that derailment...Mr Bigger E and I live on Highlands Avenue, right near the train bridge. There were all sorts of people hanging around at the end of Highlands Avenue and LaSalle Boulevard gawping.
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