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Feelings crossing the Old Pecos High Bridge between Langtry and Comstock

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"Probably all of those early railroad travelers, if they would admit it, were more than a little scared when their train started a run across the old Pecos High Bridge. Should the girders give, or the train jump the tracks, it meant nearly certain death on the sage-covered rocks below. Yet, through many of the years that the bridge bore freight and passenger trains across the gaping canyon walls, thousands of passengers dismounted to look down at the river below.

Height of the bridge may have challenged those with suicidal tendencies, but only one passenger, so far as is known, failed to continue on her journey. She was an attractive young lady, disappointed in love, who jumped one night as horrified fellow-travelers stood at the guard rail.

The same year, however, 1907, a Texas cowgirl, Ada Upshaw, more fortunate in love, and her sweetheart, the late B.J. McDowell, were married on the bridge. They had always thrilled at standing on the bridge and looking down into the placid water below, so young McDowell gained permission from railroad officials to have the train stopped for the ceremony. Mrs. McDowell still lives in Christoval, Texas.

Passengers were not the only ones awed by the bridge's height. O.B. Strahl, a Southern Pacific engineer for 50 years prior to his retirement in 1945, remembers the phobia of Engineer Mike O'Reilly, a tall and robust Irishman whose large stature belied his fear of high bridges. Mike never mad a run across the Pecos Canyon without first making the sign of the cross and without heaving a sigh of relief when he reached the other side alive. Finally, he gave up years of seniority to take another run."

----- from an Associated Press article from April 29, 1947 describes some of the feelings of folks who traveled in trains across the old Pecos High Bridge, which crosses the Pecos River halfway between Langtry and Comstock, Texas.

Shown here: a train crosses the Pecos High Bridge in the 1890s. It must have been quite a ride for folks who were born, say, in the 1830s, before train travel really existed, and who may have have even SEEN a train until a few years before.



Train on the Pecos High Bridge 1890s SMALL.jpg

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