Recently I decided to do a scenic 360 virtual tour of a landmark bridge here in my state. The bridge is one-of-a-kind and was built back in the mid 1800’s! It was moved, sometime in the 1950’s, to a public park, where people have picnics and children swim in the stream that the bridge crosses. We wanted to have a virtual tour done as no one knows how much longer this bridge will be around.
So, on July 4th, my husband and I made the 2-hour drive, from our home to the bridge. When we arrived, there were very few people around. I went back and forth between my camera and my computer for about an hour shooting stills and panoramas. Eventually, though, more and more people started to arrive and taking pictures was becoming impossible. I was still looking for “the perfect shot,” though, and was needling my husband for ideas. He suggested that it would be really neat if I could get a picture from atop the railroad bridge that was about 100 feet downstream from the bridge I was shooting.
I went off and, sure enough, found a steep trail in the woods that led up to the railroad tracks. I called my husband to join me (as I am not a stunt junkie), and the two of us (and my camera, of course) made the climb to the top of the tracks. As with all of the railroad tracks that I have encountered, there is gravel in between the railroad ties. However, where the tracks crossed the stream, there was nothing BUT the railroad ties separating us from the 60-foot drop to the shallow stream below. All I could think was don’t get your feet stuck.
My husband went out onto the tracks first and had gotten about halfway across before I started to follow. I am not a HUGE chicken, but the thought of getting stuck between the railroad ties was a little daunting. So I inched my way out, never taking my eyes off my feet, as I carefully thought out and took each step.
Once I had gotten about halfway or so, my husband told me to look up and take my pictures whenever I was ready. I turned and had just lifted my camera to my eyes, when my husband screamed, “TRAIN!! RUN!!!!!” I looked back to see that a train was bearing down on us quicker than I would have ever imagined. The conductor had just seen us and began blowing his horn like mad! I turned and bolted back across the bridge, all the while watching the placement of each foot, saying to myself, “PLEASE, don’t get your feet stuck!!!” I remember glancing back once and thinking that I might not actually make it. Of course, I immediately thought, Well, you won’t if you don’t watch where you’re going and keep your feet out of these cracks!
Once I had reached the other side of the bridge, I dove down into the gravel about 10 feet off of the tracks. It seemed less than 2 seconds before that train came whizzing by me. It was the Express Train, which explained why it was going so fast. We quickly scrambled back down the slope and made a beeline for the car. It was then that I realized how many people had seen us flee for our lives. As we quickly moved to the car, people were asking, “Are you okay?”, “Did we just see that right? Were you almost hit by that train?” We nodded that we were fine and shrugged our shoulders to most of their questions. We had to get out of there! Everyone had seen us! We knew the conductor would have called or radioed in as soon as it happened, so soon the police would arrive to arrest the idiots that had been on the train tracks!
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is actually a Federal Offense to be on railroad tracks. Morale of this story? There isn’t a virtual tour in the world worth dying for! It was truly, an adventure to remember!
By: Anonymous Real Tour Vision provider