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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Tunnel Vision: 1910

Tunnel Vision: 1910

Detroit circa 1910. "Michigan Central Railroad tunnel." Another view of the electrified tracks going under the Detroit River. View full size.

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Dental Work

Brace yourself. Not only do we have the route canal going into the cavity under the river, but this image is crowned with bridge work going on a bit right of center. At least the debris and powder that was gumming up the tracks below the crest in a previous Shorpy post has been cleaned up. About the only thing missing are canines.


The standard tell-tale design had ropes on 3" centers for a width of 8 feet over the track, the bottoms of the ropes 6" lower than the height of the obstruction and placed 100 feet before the obstruction. Today trains do not have walkways on top of the cars or means to get to the roof.

Mystery pipes

Does anyone know for sure what those vertical "pipes" were, that hang from either side of the bridge from the overhead cable? My guess would be that it is some sort of "low clearance" warning system to protect obstructions on the bridge from high trucks or trains.

[The obstructions don't need protecting. The telltales are there to protect you, if you're a brakeman, from the obstructions. -Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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