High Level Bridge at Lethbridge: longest-highest of its kind in the world

July 28, 2011

High Level Railway Bridge-Lethbridge

I’m in Lethbridge, Alberta this week while my wife attends university. My exploring has taken me to the Galt Museum and Archives (www.galtmuseum.com) which concentrates on the history of the area and it is fascinating.

Today I’ll tell you about the longest-highest railway bridge of its kind in the world, the CP Rail High Level Bridge. Completed in 1909 it was built to replace 20 wooden bridges and shortened an existing route from Fort McLeod to Lethbridge. It spans the Oldman River valley. The construction of the bridge was named a National Historic Event in 2005.

Length: 1 mile, 47 feet
Height: 314 feet
Cost in 1909: $1,334,525

Time to complete: 2-years (some delays due to flooding in 1908)

Unique feature: Railway track is nestled between two girder beams instead of running on top of them. This makes it practically impossible for derailed cars to leave the bridge deck.

This bridge is very much in use today and is inspected regularly.

Recommended reading:
Canadian Pacific Railway High Level Bridge at Lethbridge, Johnston, Dr. Alex, Occasional Paper #46 published by Lethbridge Historical Society, 2008

Darren Clarke – Not just another sports story.

July 20, 2011

Darren savoring victory-photo by Russell Cheyne, Reuters

On Sunday the prestigious British Open was won by Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke. The forty-two years young Clarke was playing in his 20th Open, but golf was not the only story here. The human interest saga behind the beaming face of Darren Clarke far outweighs the golf.

Clarke was probably one of the best golfers never to have won a major tournament. For those non-golfers there are four major tournaments in the world, The Masters, The US Open, The British Open, and the PGA Championship. It is every golfer’s dream to win one of these. In Clarke’s case he won his home country’s Open which made it doubly special.

Darren has had to fight not only the other golfers and the courses over the years, but a terrible tragedy as well.

Five years ago his wife Heather died of breast cancer. Since that time he has struggled on the course and in life. Darren had to raise two young boys on his own while making a living on the golf course. Clarke came through these troubles with strength and dignity. One of the first calls he made after winning the tournament was to his sons. His fiancée stood by him during the tournament. Life is coming together again for Clarke.

British Open champion Darren Clarke is a fine man who deserves to enjoy this win. May good fortune continue to shine on him.

Recommended Reading:

Spare the rod, spoil the child…hell no!

July 8, 2011

Recently my 85 year old mother visited me and my gang. You see I’m a do-it-again dad. We now have a 9 year old son, and twin daughters aged 7. The difference between her generation and mine with regard to child discipline is apparent.

In our house spanking is a definite no no. Children are treated with respect. Sure there is some yelling and fighting but with five individuals including three young ones, there are bound to be conflicts.

Mother gets taut like a spring just watching my active boy have fun. You can sense the urge to step in and bring him to heel. You can cut the tension. Heck he is just being a kid.

Proudly relates this little story to me whenever she visits,

Seems one time when I was a 6 year old kid back in the 1950’s there was I time when I didn’t come when I was called, too busy playing I guess. She came to get me with a flyswatter. She tells how she flicked my ass with it all the way home and boy did that ever make me listen. The point being the next time I was called I came.

Frankly I find this tale a disgusting example of the child discipline of the 1950’s. Talk about lack of respect for a child.
Much as I love my mother I am beginning to realize why I have so much deep seeded anger within my psyche.

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