Friday, November 24, 2017

East Bank Esplanade

The brand-new Tilikum Crossing Bridge is the first new bridge built across the Willamette River since 1973. It's a unique design with an unique purpose. Only light-rail, bicycles, and pedestrians can use the bridge.

Tilikum Crossing with the submarine moored at OMSI in the foreground
We walked along the East Bank Esplanade from Tilikum Crossing all the way over to the Steel Bridge.

A very enjoyable walk past several bridges. We were not the only ones who had that idea. The nicely built-out bike path was quite busy. Vera Katz, the former Portland mayor who initiated the East Bank Esplanade project, would approve.

The Union Pacific main line runs through town only a couple blocks East from the esplanade.

Union Pacific's Albina Yard is on the east side of the Willamette River, while Portland's Union Station and BNSF Lake Yard is on the west side. Since 1912 the Steel Bridge carries the main line across the river. It is the second oldest vertical lift bridge in the U.S., and the only double-deck lift bridge in the world with independent lift mechanisms for the two decks.

The proximity to the two yards, as well as Portland Union Station makes this a busy place to watch trains ... at least by U.S. standards.

I was here in 2015 for the NMRA convention, and that post has some shots of the extremely tight curves onto the bridge deck from the East. The approach into Union Station is just as tight.

I was quite fascinated by the construction of the rail connection between stationary rails on the approach, the rails on the lift deck, and deck construction.

A true dinosaur doing its duty day in, day out. While walking along the tracks crossing the river, we caught the south-bound Coast Starlight, and a north-bound UP freight crossing the bridge.

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