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Penalty of Two Dollars: 1908

Penalty of Two Dollars: 1908

Circa 1908. "North End bridge, Springfield, Massachusetts." Points of interest include the signal light on the pole and sign on the bridge. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Hefty penalty

Adjusted for inflation, that $2 fine would be equal to $50 in 2012 dollars.

A matter of economy.

Trolly cars weigh more than horses. A single track means that only one side of the bridge needs extra reinforcement.

As for the switch, it is most likely a "spring switch". A car coming towards the camera would always be directed to the track on the left. Cars going away would just push the switch out of the way against the spring.

Switches? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Switches

Just a guess, but if the traffic traveled on the left side of the road then these are cross tracks and no switch is necessary. Each trolley would follow the straightest path into the curve taking it off of the single track section onto its respective track.

Answer me this

Here is the fifty cent question that I can't find an answer to: is the bridge still there?

[It was replaced by the current bridge in 1925. -tterrace]

Which way?

It looks like the left set of tracks is for traffic going toward the bridge. The other set for street cars crossing to the near side.

It took me a while- -

but I figured out those tracks from single to double with no visible sign of a switch, the double tracks end in a loop and come back to the single line going over the bridge, I bet.

Oh, the wonders of technology!

The signal light would be for the trolley line. It is single track across the bridge: possibly a franchise requirement, a clearance issue, or to help assure that only one cars weight is on the bridge at any one time. With limited visibility on the approach, at the end of the double track there are trips visible on the overhead wire to detect when a car enters the single track, and which would set the signal at the opposite end of the bridge to stop an opposing car from entering the bridge.

Clever, huh?

Signs and Signals

A close-up.

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