The day was a bright, sunny, warm day. It was a perfect day for going for an adventure for a young 12 year-old girl. I live in a small city of Galt, Ontario. It is now known as Cambridge.
On this bright summer’s day, I decided that I wanted to go for a walk along the opposite side of the Grand River, but I did not want to walk all the way around to get to the Queen Street Bridge to get to the other side. I decided that I was going to venture over the CPR train bridge to get to the other side instead.
I was alone. I did not have anyone with me to deter or to encourage my decision to “Walk the Bridge.” Everyone in our small town has ventured across this train bridge for some reason. It seems to cut a lot of steps and minutes off on getting to the other side of the town.
The bridge has a walk-way along the one side and small way along the one side and approximately 3 escape hatches built into the bridge along the way. I found one of these “escape hatches” to be very useful on this day. The trains that use this bridge are freight trains. Usually these trains will seem to have over one hundred cars in tow. To a hapless, lazy adventurer – on this day the train seemed to have 100’s of cars in tow.
As I ventured on to this bridge, it never occurred to me that a train would come. I started my walk across and was enjoying the sites and the sounds of summer. I was listening to the birds and to the sounds of the cars as they grew quieter in the distance with each of my footsteps. Then a new sound was in the distance. That of a train approaching quickly! I was approximately in the middle of the train bridge and when I heard the sound of that train. I looked behind me and I could not go back and I looked ahead and it seemed like miles to run to the other side. I started to run to get to the other side but the train was approaching to fast! To the left of me came one of the “escape hatches” and I quickly got onto one of those. I lay down on my stomach and I held on for dear life. The sounds of the train wheels clacking over the steel rail lines were deafening to me as I prayed the train would come to an end. The train finally came to an end and passed by me. It seemed to take hours instead of minutes to pass by. I got up from my place of escape and I headed back to the safety of land back where I began my adventure on the bridge.
It is now 40 years later and the city along with the CPR have put a very long fence along the side of these train tracks in hopes of deterring others from taking this “short cut” across the bridge. When I think about how scared I was holding on for dear life and hoping I didn’t fall onto the island below, I understand why they are determined to keep people from crossing this bridge.