Valley Roundhouse #1
outside the town of Big Valley lay these haunting concrete ruins. Wandering
at night through the remaining maze of straight and curved walls intersecting
at odd angles, it is hard to get your head around what sort of function
this structure once served.
While one's first impression might be that they have stumbled across
central Alberta's answer to Stonehenge, these are actually the remains
of a roundhouse used to service locomotives. The building was constructed
in a semi-circle, centered around a turntable. A locomotive was placed
on the turntable, then lined up with the tracks going to one of ten
service bays, each complete with a pit where the underside of the locomotive
could be accessed. What you see here in the foreground are concrete
gears, used to rotate the turntable into position.
Although this is presented as the first photo in the roundhouse series,
it was actually the last shot I had taken this night. That's the sun
coming up behind the distant wall. After completing this shot, I packed
my gear back to the van and found a quiet side road where I could catch
a few hours of sleep.