Photo #N27-10Big Valley Roundhouse #1

Just 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.



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