Saturday, February 23, 2008
I'm A Nuts And Bolts Kinda Guy
Things like bridges, structures with visible struts and so forth, fascinate me.
In some of my early engineering courses we learned to compute the forces at various junctures of such things and ever since then I've looked at the world through different eyes.
When I see the massive high voltage line thingamajigs, that hold the heavy cables high above the ground as the power lines go across the countryside, I always look at how they are built.
Since taking those classes and learning about why they are built in certain ways to carry huge weights and to withstand heavy winds and other weather, I see that things such as this train trestle, which on one hand looks rusty and rickety, also looks to be so over engineered that I also understand why the thing still stands up to the years of hard use without collapsing.
The trains that pass through this part of Florida, heading north or south along the coast, are usually very long. Many of the cars are open topped boxes that are heaped high with sand.
I tend to take these trains for granted now, but when we first moved here, I marveled at the four or five engines pulling 150 cars full of sand. These trains fly through here doing 50mph easily. I am still amazed that such massively heavy loads can be brought up to these speeds by the obviously powerful engines.
Rusty or not, this bridge takes a beating from the loads it carries several times a day, and also attacked by the corrosive salty air of the Atlantic Ocean.