Noel Weaver wrote:No reason the drawbridge at Canal and maybe others in the area if there
are any could not be automated.
I wonder, are the people down there as impatient with the bridge closings, as they are up here? Look...the CANAL operator closes the bridge for a period of about 3 minutes, every hour from 10AM to sometime around 5PM. Yet, at times when I've been either shooting at CANAL or riding the train, I've had the experience of witnessing angry boaters shouting various obsceneties and displaying various positions of the fingers on their hands (c'mon, you all know what that means) at either the bridge itself or the train crossing the bridge, due to their "inconvenience" for 3 minutes. Remember, this is a bridge that was left always in the open position for about 16 years...some of those boating NIMBYs still aren't over the fact that trains have returned to Cape May and the Canal. Train traffic does not have priority at this location as it does at some others, if there's a ship coming, the operator must let it go first before closing the bridge. The same goes for Delair, which is why this bridge is still not remote control (and probably never will be, although the operator receives a call when the ship is quite a long distance up or down the river).
That said, in a show of why an operator is necessary down there, a boat struck the bridge back in May on that Railfan Day that CMSL had down there at the shore...anyone that was on that excursion can back me on this. Had there been no bridge operator, any structural damage to the bridge may have gone un-noticed...while the bridge damage in this case was mostly electrical, other damage that puts into question it's structural integrity might have gone un-noticed. Actually, this isn't the first time some boat has struck that bridge...it happens about once a year, sometimes more often...and that's crazy, that kind of stuff dosen't happen that often anywhere else to my knowledge, and basically it boils down to a bunch of people that simply don't obey or aren't knowledgeable in the operation and rules of operation for boats...yeah, accidents can happen, but that often? Basically, most of them don't care...that's all. Therefore, no bridge operator on duty and that thing under RC, and chances are those boaters will just ignore the horn and announcement all-together...some dinwit will get stuck in there or something or try to squeeze through and hit something after the bridge closes...