Mark the day, this morning, Monday June 20 2016 at about eight in the morning construction started on the railroad underpass. Or to be exact, preliminary site clearance started. I knew something was up because when I got to my favorite railroad crossing there was a big white Pan Am pickup parked across the opening in the fence, the truck jammed right up against it. It was blocked. After lunch I headed to the Kentucky Fried Chicken side of the tracks. There was a lot of machinery and a big group of guys taking a break.
“What’s up?” I asked. “I noticed you blocked the hole in the fence.”
“Preliminary work for the tunnel,” said someone.
“I didn’t believe it.” said the young guy, “I never seen anything like it.”
He was home in his big white Pan Am pickup eating lunch, laughing and digging into what looked like his KFC king-size Southwest chicken salad.
“The railroad said there were too many trees blocking the view of people crossing the tracks,” he said, “and they had to slow down to a crawl. So we were cutting down all these trees, and you don’t want trees falling on people.” He gestures to the tree guys sitting in an adjoining truck.
“I hear some noise and I look over and there’s this guy. He has picked up his bike and he is clambering right over my pickup.”
“Well,” I said, “This is Northampton.”