Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Railroad Crossing

Pedestrian railroad crossing at 11th Street in Oregon City.

This pedestrian corral railroad crossing is at 11th Street in downtown Oregon City, on the Union Pacific main line. The crossing was closed at some point in the past and the street terminated on either side of the tracks, yet this curious arrangement remains for pedestrians wishing to cross the railroad here. The 11th Street crossing no longer appears in the FRA's online database of railroad crossing data, but the walking path is still protected by crossbucks with stop signs. Locked gates protect both ends of the street, and on the east side of the tracks, these railings create a zig-zag queuing area, much like you'd find in the line for an amusement park ride.

More often, when I've seen closed crossings, they are completely closed, with no legal means provided for pedestrians to cross the tracks. Two pedestrians crossed here during my brief visit this afternoon, so perhaps this concession was warranted. Currently, there are only two at-grade crossings in Oregon City: 10th Street crosses the main line one block south of here, while Main Street crosses the stub switching lead of the Blue Heron paper mill at 5th Street. Additional pedestrian-only crossings exist along 1st Avenue, in the southern part of town near the Willamette River.


Aaron Hockley said...

I've seen the zigzag queue at pedestrian crossings before. The theory is that as someone approaches, the queue forces them to turn both directions in which case they would hopefully see an approaching train.

LouT1501 said...

Having been on the other side of this crossing, it's pretty amazing that it still is in use. That said, coming through OC at track speed (40 mph for freights), the several crossing in that area and the proximity of buildings and houses makes it interesting.

Whistle, anyone?

Actually, what really 'got' one of my conductors one time was the cars that are often left on the lead to the mill just south of town. We came buzzing around the corner going north. He looked up and all he saw was the end of a boxcar...and flinched a bit...

Thanks for the interesting perspective, Scott!

Charles B said...

I agree with what Aaron wrote. I personally think the corral has it's own safety issues at night or in icy weather, but even those risks pale in comparison to being smacked by a locomotive.

Scott Lothes said...

Thanks for the info, Aaron. Seems to make sense. Curious that only one side of the tracks has the queue at that crossing.

Lou, I could imagine those boxcars on the siding right by the main in OC could make about any hogger flinch! Too bad there aren't very many of them these days. Wonder when they stopped unloading chips at Blue Heron?

LouT1501 said...

Seems like the chip traffic stopped before UP took over