Toccoa River Railway Bridge

November 2, 2009

This is the railroad bridge across the Toccoa River just south of McCaysville Georgia. We crossed it earlier today on our trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway on our way to and from McCaysville. The train cleared the bridge on each side by about six inches, and we were warned to keep everything inside the train.

This bridge would have been otherwise unremarkable to us except that Mark had a welding job on this bridge as a part of the preparation for shooting a movie in the spring of this year. After our rail trip we drove back up to McCaysville to have a closer look at the bridge.

The bridge crosses a road as well as the river, so I was able to climb up on the bridge from the road. Here you can see the Toccoa River and a bit of the road from the rail bridge. The steel-railed platform on the left center of the bridge is what remains from the welding that Mark did.

Mark was called while he was working on the movie Get Low to see if he would take a day to travel to north Georgia to weld handrails and a platform on this steel railway bridge. Besides having to load up his generator and welder and take it to McCaysville, the job was challenging because he had to do it in pouring down rain hanging on the edge of this bridge right over the river.

The job involved welding the railings on the platform seen at left plus steel handrails down both sides of the bridge. You can see the torch cuts on the right vertical rail where those steel handrails were later cut away.

In order to weld, Mark had to get his generator and welder up on the tracks and then lay plywood on the crossties in the center of the track in order to be able to roll the equipment out on the bridge. Anything that got dropped through the crossties or off the platform went straight into the river.

Once he got his generator and welding machine out on the bridge, all he had to worry about was not falling in the river and not dropping any of his tools or materials in the river, plus handling the welding in the pouring rain on a wet steel bridge. While Mark had done lots more complicated welding jobs, the conditions of this job made it memorable.

I was viewing the setting in much more favorable conditions on this beautiful fall day. This is the downstream view of the Toccoa River which runs northward into McCaysville.

The road to Horseshoe Bend Park passes under the bridge and we had parked just beyond it for me to walk back to examine the bridge. Sherry and Brenda watch from the car as I climb around on the bridge.

We drove the short distance down to Horseshoe Bend Park which was very pleasant on this beautiful afternoon. The Toccoa River is wide and shallow here with nice rapids over the river rocks.

I walked downstream from the park to get a long distance view of the bridge, which you can see in the distance. I startled this pair of mallard ducks up from the river.

There was another V-shaped collection of rock out in the river here which may be another fish trap.

The sun was now low, which enhanced the beauty of the rapids in the Toccoa River.

We reluctantly left this beautiful area and headed southward through Elijay, enjoying the blue tiers of the mountains in that area. The low afternoon sun really set some of the trees ablaze. We felt very blessed to have seen some of the fall beauty of north Georgia.

Awana boys overnight at Bent Tree

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