Posts Tagged ‘Railroad bridges’

Work to Progress on New Lift Bridge on Amtrak Route in Albany NY

December 28, 2022

Replacement of a bridge in Albany, New York, used by Amtrak will advance to the final design phase after winning approval from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The bridge is owned by CSX but leased to Amtrak, which uses it for its Lake Shore Limited and Empire Service trains.

The FRA determined that replacement of the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge would have “no significant impact” on the environment.

The movable swing bridge over the Hudson River was built in the 19th century and has a top speed of 15 miles per hour.

New York State Department of Transportation officials said the new bridge will be a lift structure with two tracks on a parallel alignment.

As part of the project changes will be made to the triangular ju8nction of tracks on the Rensselaer side of the river to help facilitate train turning movements.

Officials said the new bridge will better serve maritime traffic and provide pedestrians and bicyclists with access across the river.

Boaters Upset Over NS Handling of Drawbridge

November 20, 2022

Boats wait for an NS train to clear the drawbridge on the Chicago Line near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in Sept. 24, 2017. The view is looking northward toward Lake Erie.

A Cleveland TV station recently reported that boaters and Great Lakes freighters operating on Lake Erie are disenchanted with Norfolk Southern’s handling of opening and closing its drawbridge over the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland.

The I-Team of WJW-TV said it was told by the U.S. Coast Guard that the bridge being closed when boats want to pass has been a chronic problem for years.

Blair Stanifer of the Coast Guard told Channel 8 that the agency has seen delays of two hours and even three hours when the bridge was closed.

He said if a train isn’t coming close to going over the bridge it must go up for boats and ships.

 “Once you make a request, provided it’s safe to do so, the bridge is supposed to open promptly and fully.,” he said.

The Coast Guard has the legal authority to fine the railroad up to $30,000 per complaint.

However, the WJW report said that it can take months and even years for the Coast Guard to hear and decide on complaints with some complaints filed in 2019 having been dismissed.

“They open when they feel like they want to . . . not by the law which is a requirement when a signal is sounded by a vessel coming through,” said Eric Peace, vice president of of the Lake Carriers Association, a shipping industry trade group.

“You bring a 700-foot ship, and you put them inside this break wall, they have to be able to hold position if they can’t get through that bridge. You actually have to tread water. It becomes a safety problem.”

Peace said the only way to get NS to be more responsive to boaters is to continue to raise the fines.

In a statement NS said it works with the Coast Guard and others to ensure that rail and marine traffic keeps moving. The statement said the railroad seeks to balance the needs of both.

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