Neglected Reminder of the Erie Railroad

Looking down the tracks where rails used to be on an old Erie Railroad bridge near Kent.

Looking down the tracks where rails used to be on an old Erie Railroad bridge near Kent.

The view of the old Erie Railroad bridge over Breakneck Creek as seen from the Portage Hike and Bike trail.

The view of the old Erie Railroad bridge over Breakneck Creek as seen from the Portage Hike and Bike trail.

When a railroad line is abandoned, the railroad and/or salvage company generally removes anything that might be of value.

Most notably, it pulls up the rails, ties and ballast. In many cases, though, bridges are left in place because they cannot be easily removed, particularly if a bridge is quite large.

Along the Portage Hike and Bike trail is one such example. The bridge shown above probably carried a set of lead tracks into the yard in Kent over Breakneck Creek.

It is located adjacent to what used to be the westbound main and judging by it looks of it it has not been used in several decades.

The Erie Lackawanna greatly diminished operations in the Kent yard well before the EL became part of Conrail in 1976. In fact, the Kent yard was rationalized quite a bit in the middle 1960s as the financially strapped EL cut back on yard operations in a bid to save money.

It’s doubtful that EL executives at company headquarters in Cleveland concerned themselves with the fate of a bridge over a creek. The decision to leave this bridge in place was made much lower down the chain of command.

Boards have been placed at both ends of the bridge to keep trespassers off, but the barriers are not substantial enough to deter someone determined to walk out onto the bridge.

I would imagine that has been done before and maybe some people still do it. Myself, I would not want to find out how sturdy this bridge still is. The metal supports are probably strong, but the wood boards show signs of advanced deterioration.

It was enough for me to observe this bridge from a safe distance while wondering what tales this structure could tell about about times past.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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One Response to “Neglected Reminder of the Erie Railroad”

  1. Jonathan Caswell Says:

    Watch your step!

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