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Saturday, September 4, 2010

10-09-04 PHOTOS: Flugtag Philadelphia

Last Labour Day weekend the Red Bull Flugtag event came to the Camden waterfront, just south of the Benn Franklin Bridge. As I was traveling home from my previously documented trip to New Englande I had the opportunity to attend the event by walking over the BFB instead of taking my usual PATCO train from 8th and Market. Now normally I wouldn't be posting about an event that barely qualifies as transport related let along rail transport related here on this forum, but where the Ben Franklin Bridge is involved PATCO is involved as well.

Unfortunately the Flugtag organizers were setting the "flights" off in conjunction with eastbound PATCO trains running across the bridge so it was a bit difficult covering both, but I did the best I could and cam away with some pleasing results.

This set of photos is a lot smaller than normal, but you can see the whole thing here.

The southern pedestrian walkway on the bridge wasn't too crowded, but there were was a healthy crowd all along the suspended span watching the proceedings. Here you can see the west anchorage complete with a traffic jam on the bridge and one of the iconic signal gantries spanning all 7 lanes.

While still ascending the bridge the first PATCO train passed and I was able to get an ok picture of it with the large mass of boats on the river in the background.

After moving closer to the action I staked out a spot and sent my friend ahead to find a better one. At this point another PATCO train passed. They were running 6 car trains that day on a roughly 10 minute headway.

I also got some video of its passing.

My friend called in with a better spot so I moved ahead pausing to take a picture of the east tower and its integrated signal gantry. I am not sure I am aware of another bridge with such early examples of integrated traffic control structures.

From the Bump Out where the tower interferes with the regular position of the walkway I was able to get a much less obstructed view of passing PATCO trains such as this shot of a train as it crests the summit of the bridge arch also showing the extent of the crowd that lined the walkway.

Here is a reasonable close up shot of PATCO #287 as it descends the grade eastbound.

Same train continuing on towards the east anchorage with more people lining the walkway.

The Bridge Line was originally built with fully ballasted roadbeds, but was converted to an open tie design when PATCO rejuvenated the tracks across the bridge in the 1980's.

PATCO trains weren't the only large vehicles on duty that day. Here we see a tug, named Duty, working the port.

 I should mention that the crowds weren't limited to the Bridge with thousands of people filling the normally deserted Camden waterfront. Large display screens had been set up so that people set back from the water could still see.

The launch ramp had been set up on a couple of barges not far from the Battleship New Jersey.

If you remember what I said about the trains being timed with the launches you can see in this video the frustration of trying to catch both a "flight" and a PATCO train.

As the eastern end of the Bridge curves to the right, the eastbound set of tracks duck left to enter the tunnel portal under the roadway. I considered waiting around that location to get the shot of train entering the tunnel, but I had to use a restroom and decided to bail out ASAP.

Fortunately there were not yet huge crowds clogging the City Hall and Broadway stations and I was able to get to my final destination in a reasonable amount of time. Anyway, sorry for the "filler episode" but my Empire Builder trip sort of blitzed my normal time to process photos and post a photo essay. Next week tune in for a trip to New York City in order to ride the ACES train before it was canceled by the struggling NJ casino industry.

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