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Under 680…

Under 680

…stopped at a bridge.

The Capitol Corridor crosses the Carquinez Strait at a Union Pacific railroad drawbridge between Benicia and Martinez. Occasionally—say 1-in-10 trips—the bridge is raised to allow cargo ships (car carriers to and from Benicia and oil tankers for Pittsburg) to pass through. When the bridge is up, train traffic is held up anywhere from 5 minutes to half-an-hour.

Imagine the joy of train commuters as they sit for 20 minutes and watch an oil tanker creeping towards the raised bridge at 5 knots. If looks could sink ships, the Carquinez Strait would be blocked with the carcasses of scores of ships sent to the bottom by frustrated Capitol Corridor commuters.

But, since I can’t sink a Pure Car/Truck Carrier (PCTC) with my gaze (I can make little kids cry, though), I’ll occasionally look out the windows at whatever other scenery the stopped train has to offer. Last week a cargo ship held up the train under the I-680/780 interchange, where I had a lovely time pondering the massive concrete blandness of raised freeway support structures. If you’d like a taste of the tedium that a raised railroad bridge has to offer, look no further than our rebar-reinforced 5 Under 680 photos.

Uh oh, I see a PCTC in the distance.

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