Posts Tagged ‘Railroad bridges’

NS W.Va. Bridge Struck by Runaway Barges

May 14, 2022

An NS bridge in West Virginia escaped damage after being struck last Saturday by two runaway barges.

The barges held construction equipment being used to work at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park along the Potomac River.

News reports indicated that the river was flooding at the time the barges broke loose.

The barges traveled downstream and struck a bridge at Shepherdstown, West Virginia, that carries the H line between Hagerstown, Maryland, and Roanoke, Virginia.

NS ordered speed restrictions on the bridge until an inspection found that it had not sustained any damage. The deck truss bridge was built by the Norfolk & Western in 1904.

The barges continued onward but became stuck before reaching two CSX bridges at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

The barges were working at McMahon’s Mill, southwest of Hagerstown. The work included repairing a retaining wall and stabilizing a section of the canal towpath that often is subject to flooding.

Last weekend the Potomac reached a depth of 200 feet, which is five feet above flood stage.

Penn Central Lives On Here

April 17, 2022

You are looking northward on U.S. 31 just west of Bunker Hill, Indiana. This bridge was built during the Penn Central era and featured that railroad’s herald impressed into the concrete. Few railroad bridges today still feature the heralds of the railroads that use them but at one time it was a common practice. Typically the herald was a piece of metal or was painted onto the bridge.

This bridge carried the former Pennsylvania Railroad route that extended from Columbus, Ohio, to Logansport, Indiana. Most of that line was abandoned by Conrail so not only does this bridge pay tribute to a fallen flag railroad it also no longer has railroad tracks.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Pa. Regulators Reject CSX Bid to Raze Bridge

February 14, 2022

Pennsylvania regulators have rejected a CSX request to raze a bridge in Philadelphia.

The decision by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission said demolishing the bridge would not be in the public interest or “be proper for the service, accommodation, convenience, or safety of the public.”

The city of Philadelphia supported removing the bridge only if it is replaced by a new structure, estimated to cost $5 million.

One issue in the dispute is who is responsible for paying to maintain the bridge. CSX contended that if the bridge was necessary, the city should pay the maintenance costs.

But a PPUC administrative law judge found that although the city was responsible for the bridge approaches, the railroad was responsible for paying to maintain the bridge.

The bridge was built in 1961 and is the third structure at the site in southwest Philadelphia on Cemetery Avenue to span the former Baltimore & Ohio tracks there.

City officials said about 5,400 vehicles use the bridge daily.

Trestle Tales: The End Less Photographed

February 9, 2022

Most of the images Ed Ribinskas has made of the former Nickel Plate Road trestle over the Grand River in Painesville were made at the east end of the bridge.

He stayed away from the west end for several years to avoid trespassing on the property of Coe Manufacturing. Another factor was that it would be a tight shot because of tree growth that dated back to the end of the steam locomotive era.

After Coe Manufacturing closed and its building were razed, Ed felt more comfortable scouting for photo angles at the west end.

Nonetheless, it was still a tight shot. The best time of year to photograph the west end of the trestle was during the winter.

“Probably the very few times I photographed there resulted in my best and favorites,” Ed wrote.

The bottom two photographs were made of westbound manifest freight 145 at about 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2014 (Super Bowl Sunday).

With Ed that day were fellow Akron Railroad Club members Marty Surdyk and Craig Sanders.

The top two images were made in early afternoon on May 6, 2018.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: Finding the Out of the Ordinary

February 7, 2022

Rivers are not static. They shift course and their levels rise and fall. These developments can damage bridge abutments as happened in spring 1985 when NS had to reroute some trains and issue slow orders for others until the Painesville trestle over the Grand River could be repaired (top photo).

Over time, some bridge abutments have been replaced, the results of which can be seen in the images of the Triple Crown RoadRailer trains crossing the trestle in April 1989.

The former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo never had the high level of traffic as the parallel CSX and former New York Central route, but it had its share of out-of-the ordinary sightings.

On Oct. 27, 2004, Norfolk Southern sent an Operation Lifesaver train from Rockport Yard in Cleveland to Ashtabula and back.

The encroaching vegetation is evident on the east end of the bridge as compared to what it was in the views recorded 15 years earlier.

Another unique movements that crossed the trestle was the eastbound Lake Shore Limited using the NS route due to a CSX derailment in Painesville. Amtrak Train 48 was photographed on Oct. 13, 2007.

On July 23, 2015, a large crowd of railfan photographs turned out to photograph Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 no. 765 cross another NKP institution on a ferry move from Cleveland (Rockport Yard) to Ashtabula to be in position to pull public excursions between Ashtabula and Youngstown.

Finally, on Aug. 3, 2016, the NS business train led by F units passed through Painesville.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: Vestiges of the N&W

February 6, 2022

The Nickel Plate Road built a steel trestle over the Grand River in Painesville in 1905. It continued to stand through two changes in railroad ownership, the transition from steam to diesel power, and the end of passenger service.

But even a structure as imposing as a steel trestle is not forever. In March 2017 contractors hired by Norfolk Southern began building a new bridge largely constructed of pre-cast concrete.

That 1,318-foot structure opened to rail traffic on Sept. 30, 2018, when eastbound intermodal train 206 was the first train to use it.

The contractor then began removing the trestle, which was located north of the new bridge, and before the end of the year it was gone.

Since 2003 Ed Ribinskas has lived minutes away from the Painesville trestle. He attended Riverside High School, which was and still is a stone’s throw away from the trestle’s location.

The trestle appears in many of his railroad photographs made on the Nickel Plate Road mainline in Painesville.

This is the first of series of articles with photographs showing how the environment around the trestle and rail operations on the ex-NKP mainline between Cleveland and Buffalo have changed over the years.

Today, Ed looks back to the late 1980s during the first decade of NS operation.

In that era, the trestle was mostly clear of trees and brush. The top two images are thought to be train CN 90 and were made on March 29, 1986.

The CN 90 is shown the next day in the third photograph running long hood forward, which was the usual operating practice during the Norfolk & Western era of the 1970s and 1980s.

The last photo shows Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 headed to Erie, Pennsylvania, on a ferry move on Aug. 1, 1986.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

CVSR 6771 in Akron

January 21, 2022

In honor of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad launching its 2022 season today (Jan. 21) we present two views of northbound FPA-4 No. VSR 6771 in Akron on March 22, 2014. The train is on the bridge over the remains of the Ohio & Erie Canal. The unit once worked for Canadian National. The first train of 2022 likely won’t make it as far as Akron, but the National Park Scenic will return to the rubber city on Saturday.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Passing Beneath the Wheeling in Orrville

September 14, 2021

Our Conrail wayback machine has taken us to Orrville just in time to witness the passage of an eastbound on the Fort Wayne Line as it passes beneath the Wheeling & Lake Erie bridge. On the point is SD60M No. 5507. The image was made on May 25, 1996.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Waterfront Line Suspension Extended Indefinitely

September 9, 2021

A Waterfront line car climbs the incline to cross the Norfolk Southern Tracks in downtown Cleveland in September 2017.

Service on the Cleveland RTA Waterfront line has been suspended indefinitely due to the closing of a bridge that spans the Norfolk Southern tracks just east of the Cuyahoga River.

It is the latest setback for the 2.2-mile line, which saw service suspended for several months last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then shut down again last October due to a track rehabilitation project at Tower City.

RTA said in a statement that a consulting firm found that the bridge needs four interim support towers to stabilize the structure.

These would be considered a temporary fix until a permanent solution to the problem is found and implemented.

The consulting firm had found in a 2018 inspection that the bridge has stress fractures. At the time, RTA responded by limiting traffic on the bridge to one train at a time.

Hardesty & Hanover, which conducted the inspection, recommended that RTA not use the bridge until it is permanently fixed, a process expected to take two years.

RTA has awarded an emergency contract for the support towers with that work expected to be finished in late October.

The most recent inspection of the bridge was conducted this past summer ahead of what RTA expected to a resumption of service on the Waterfront Line.

Hardesty & Hanover has begun design work on a permanent solution fix for the bridge, which RTA expects to pay for with $6 million in federal funding granted by the Federal Transit Administration.

The service suspension means RTA will not be able to provide service directly to FirstEnergy Stadium this year for Cleveland Browns games.

The Right Direction This Time

April 20, 2021

About a week ago I was chasing trains on the New Castle District of Norfolk Southern in southwestern Ohio when we wound up in Somerville.

The tracks cross Sevenmile Creek there on a nice looking bridge. I was able to photograph a train here but it was a westbound manifest freight.

The images were fine yet not what I would have ideally wanted.

So last Sunday we got wind that an eastbound was coming and made our way to Somerville to wait on it.

The wait was worth it and the resulting image more what I wanted to get here.

Shown is manifest freight 143 on its way from Eklhart, Indiana, to Chattanooga, Tennessee.