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And the dirty ole' track...was the Telegraph Road

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Before the creation of I-75, The major thoroughfare between Toledo and Detroit was Telegraph Road, and it has quite a long history. Currently carrying US-24, Telegraph Road was immortalized as a song by Dire Straits in their 1982 album "Love Over Gold".  If you have 14 minutes to spare, the song is an awesome bit of 80's progressive rock. Today we're going to do things slightly different, in that I was to discuss the history of both the road and the song, because I think the lyrics do a great job to that end. The modern-day Telegraph Road is one of the major parts of US-24 in Michigan; the other follows the Saginaw Trail , one of the numerous Native American trails that have been incorporated into our infrastructure in some form or another. The trail connects Saginaw with Detroit, and then US-24 heads south to Toledo. Despite US-24 being an East-West US Highway between Colorado and Indiana, it makes a turn in the Toledo area to become a North-South highway and follow

A Railroad into the Clouds: The Mount Washington Cog Railway

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A New Hampshire state legislator in the 1850's suggested that Sylvester Marsh, who was planning a railroad line from the base to the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, should be granted the charter; not just to the summit, but to the moon as well, for how impossible such a railroad line would be. At over 6,200 feet in height, Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in the Northeastern United States, and its summit is well above the tree line, making the ascent feel similar to the much higher mountain terrains in the Rocky Mountains. Despite the incredible prominence of the mountain, Marsh was undeterred, and even put $5000 of his own money towards the project, which helped secure the charter for the railroad. In 1868, Marsh would prove his detractors wrong when his railroad was completed, one of the first rack and pinion railways in the world, and to this day the second-steepest grade in existence. This line is the Mount Washington Cog Railway , which we visited during La

Railbike Explorers: Railbiking Rhode Island!

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Last week, we visited another railbike excursion, this time the RailExplorers: Rhode Island Division . We initially were scheduled to go on the northern tour, but with flooding wreaking havoc on the entire Northeast after remnants of Ida passed through, we were moved onto the southern tour.  Just like with our visit to Tracks and Yaks in Frostburg, MD, we had an incredible time biking and taking in the scenery of southeastern Rhode Island! Luckily, by the time we'd visited, there were nothing but sunny skies and perfect weather, which certainly made filming our experience easier! The railbike tour uses remnants of the former Old Colony & Newport Railroad  line, which once linked Newport to Fall River, MA and points north, such as Boston. Through the product of numerous mergers and acquisitions, like many railroad companies, it would eventually become part of the much larger New York New Haven & Hartford  Railroad. Like the rest of the New Haven, this became part of Penn Ce

Cleveland's Abandoned Pedestrian Bridge: The Sidaway Bridge

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The Sidaway Bridge was a pedestrian bridge built over the Kingsbury Run that connected two otherwise unconnected neighborhoods in Cleveland, OH; namely the Kinsman Road and Jackowo neighborhoods. Despite its length at 680 feet, it was built solely for use as a pedestrian bridge. In fact, it is the only suspension bridge in the Cleveland area. While it still stands today, it has been closed for over fifty years. (Location on our Abandoned Places map) Image via the Cleveland Historical Society . " Spanning Kingsbury Run: This 1966 photo, with a view generally to the north, shows the full length of the Sidaway Bridge. It is 680 feet long with a center span of 400 feet. Its 6-foot wide walkway is located 80 feet above Kingsbury Run. The bridge's two support towers are 105 feet tall. One writer noted in 1978 that, while it won no awards when it was built, it is clearly a beautiful structure. Also shown in the photo are the buildings built by the Nickel Plate Railroad for use as c

US Highway 97 in Alaska

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The Territories of Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawaii were included in the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 , with the latter two, Alaska and Hawaii preparing to become US states, which they would become in 1959.  As such, a question arose as to whether the US Route system could be expanded into these new future-states as well. While a US Highway that entered another state, or was over 300 miles in length would be impossible in Hawaii, it would be easily possible in the vastness that is Alaska, and thus a push was made to give the Alaska Highway the US-97 designation. US Highway 97 has been mostly the same since it was first designated 1934, running from Weed, CA in the south where it started at US-99, now Interstate 5, to the Canadian Border north of Oroville, WA.  But in trying to connect the future State of Alaska to the Lower 48 in a more concise way, the idea of a northerly extension to US-97 gained serious traction, to the point where signs were actually created for the highway. Th

The Abandoned Railroad Map of Washington State (and an App Update!)

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As we've done for the States of Illinois , Rhode Island and Florida , we've completed a static map of Abandoned and Out of Service Railroad Lines based on the abandonments, railbanked corridors, and out-of-service lines in the State of Washington. Abandoned/Out-of-Service Railroad Corridors in Washington State, 2021. FRRandP creation in QGIS using Mapbox Streets v10 as a background and state/county lines from US Census data. Clicking on this image will bring up the map in its original size. This data was gathered by us over the last five years and is available on our Abandoned & Out of Service Railroad Lines Map , and where we had missing/incomplete data, we pulled data from the WSDOT GIS Data Catalog , who maintains a shapefile of railroads active and abandoned in the State. Neither ours nor WSDOT's data is completely encompassing however, as there are numerous logging railroads that have not been mapped, many of which have little/no traces left, similar to our map in

The New York & Brooklyn Bridge Railway

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The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, predating the adoption of the automobile by several decades. As such, it was originally envisioned as a bridge to transport horse-drawn carriages, trains and trolleys. The latter of which was carried over the bridge until 1950.  Today, pedestrians, bikes and cars use the bridge, and it remains a major tourist attraction for the city.  "Bird's-Eye View of the Great New York and Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Display of Fire Works on Opening Night" (1883) The New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway , a cable car service, began operations in 1883, shortly after the bridge itself opened. It ran on the inner lanes of the bridge, between terminals at the Manhattan and Brooklyn ends. Harper's Weekly, 10/12/1895, "The erection of a new terminal at the New York end of the Brooklyn Bridge is a task of far greater difficulty than the erection of the one on the Brooklyn side. In Brooklyn a new station was built directly across the street from the