I got to check one off the bucket list the other day.
With all the LRT construction in #KWAwesome, it was inevitable that I become obsessed with trains, as I am a six year old boy at heart. Most days I drive and/or walk through some of the LRT construction, watching the changes slowly take shape over the days, weeks, months.
I know all about the different styles and approaches to track, clips, fishhooks, and spikes. I’ve read up on the different gauges of track, even where to buy some. Track gauges are measured typically in height and pounds-per-yard, and I picked up a piece of 175-lb track for an anvil project that I am slowly working on.
During my research I came across some beautiful photos of abandoned railway lines. Typically the photo is of an old trestle bridge. But a few were of just plain old lines, long forgotten, and enveloped in a forest that grew up in and around them. I wanted to see that scene with my own eyes. So, I took to Google Maps, and combed over all the railway lines in Waterloo Region.
What I looked for were railway lines that I did not know existed. I covered the main line through town and followed any spurs to their end. When I would find one that didn’t seem to have a purpose (not through an industrial area, or in a disused area), I went for a walk in search of them during lunch. Pretty simple approach. And I found one:
Walking along a section of track nominated for investigation, I came across some railway ties that were too long, an indication that there was once a switch there.
Walking a little further along, investigating the area, sure enough, on the same side of the extra-long ties, was the abandoned track, embedded in growth and all.
It is odd to think of an abandoned railway line. On the one hand, it seems so wasteful. All this metal and wood, and the effort that went into putting it there, just left to the elements. On the other hand, the cost to remove it is probably prohibitive, and it may one day serve a purpose again, so why not leave it in place?
This is another one of my special places in #kwawesome, but unlike uWaterloo’s Secret Swings which I wrote about earlier, I won’t reveal the location of the abandoned railway line. That is an adventure for you to have on your own.