Posts Tagged ‘Railroad bridges’

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.

Middle Crossing

April 16, 2021

Norfolk Southern’s New Castle District crosses the White River in Muncie, Indiana, on three different bridges. It is not so much because the river winds all over the place but the railroad does, too.

Shown above is the middle of those river crossings. It is located in a park/nature preserve. Here we see eastbound manifest train 189 rumbling over the bridge on its journey from Oakwood Yard in Detroit to East Point, Georgia, near Atlanta.

It was a warm, but windy day in late March of this year when I caught this train.

Creek Crossing in Somerville

April 11, 2021

Norfolk Southern manifest freight 174 saunters westbound through Somerville, Ohio, on the New Castle District and crosses Sevenmile Creek.

Shortly after this image was made, the train received a hotbox alarm and stopped. Upon inspection, the crew discovered sticking breaks on one of its cars and NS supervisors decided to send a mechanical department worker from Cincinnati to the train.

The crew reported that a brake shoe looked as though it had been welded to the wheel.

The train originated in Macon, Georgia, and is bound for Elkhart, Indiana.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Trucks Keep Hitting CSX Bridge in Suburban Buffalo

February 2, 2021

A CSX bridge in suburban Buffalo, New York, has been struck by vehicles three times this year and at least 64 times since 2000.

The bridge, located in Tonawanda, spans Young Street and has a clearance of 11 feet, six inches.

Signs warn of low clearance and truck traffic is not permitted on the street. But overweight trucks continue to use the street and strike the bridge.

In one instance, the driver of an empty semi trailer truck that had been badly damaged after hitting the bridge continued on his way until stopped by police.

A recent incident involved a truck carrying pre-prepared means bound for Canada while another involved a truck carrying empty Crown Royal bottles.

Tonawanda Police Captain Fred Foels told the Buffalo News that it is difficult to explain why the incidents keep occurring. He began documenting them in 2000.

CSX officials must inspect the bridge, which was built in 1918, after every strike. They said the bridge remains structurally sound.

That doesn’t surprise Foels. “You look at it, it’s a battleship,” he said. “These things were built to last.”

Bids To be Taken for W.Va. Bridge Project

January 14, 2021

Bids are expected to be solicited next month for the replacement of the Grant Street Bridge in Bluefield, West Virginia.

The bridge, which spans the former Norfolk & Western mainline that is now part of Norfolk Southern, has been closed since June 2019.

Closure of the bridge has been an inconvenience for many Bluefield residents who have had to take circuitous routes to reach the central business district.

At one point city officials had threatened to sue NS in an effort to get the railroad to move toward repairing or replacing the bridge.

In a 1940 agreement the N&W had agreed to pay to maintain the bridge and NS had at one point recommended repairs rather than replacement.

A West Virginia Department of Highways official said construction of the new bridge should start in the spring and be done by the end of the year.

The project will receive $10.5 million in federal, state, and local funding.

Once the bridge is completed, ownership of the bridge will revert to the city.

Work Underway on W.Va. Rail Bridge

December 15, 2020

Work has begun on constructing a bridge that will enable the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley to restore rail service between Cass and Durbin in West Virginia.

The bridge will span Trout Run and the project involves the West Virginia Department of Highways, the West Virginia State Rail Authority, D&G and contractors.

Thus far workers have been drilling holes into the bedrock and pouring foundations on the Durbin side of the bridge.

Equipment is is now being staged for work on the Cass side and can only reach the bridge site by traveling 15 miles by rail.

While drilling and foundation work is being performed on the Cass end of the bridge workers will be building forms for the abutment on the Durbin end.

These Used to be Quite Common

July 25, 2020

When I was a child one of the highlights of car travel was watching for bridges carrying railroad tracks over the highways.

Back in those days it was common for railroads to affix their herald to the side of the bridge or, in some instances, paint their name on the concrete arches of the bridge.

The Pennsylvania Railroad seemed to do a lot of painting of its name on concrete or so it seemed at the time.

A few railroads would spell out their names in other ways on the bridges.

But the most common method of identification was putting the herald on the bridge, typically fastened to the plate girders.

Maybe its my imagination, but it seemed like back the early 1960s nearly every bridge carrying rails over a highway had identification on it.

By the end of the decade, though, the practice seemed to be vanishing.

There probably were a number of factors to explain that including how railroads had lost interest in promoting themselves as they increasingly got out of the passenger business.

Cost was probably another reason. But as much as anything, there probably was a change in thinking by railroads and state highway departments in regards to identifying railroads on their bridges.

Some of these identification signs still exist although some of the heralds have been painted over.

It is rare to see a herald or name of a modern day Class 1 railroad on a bridge, although the CSX herald was placed over that of the Baltimore & Ohio on a bridge west of Lodi, Ohio.

Earlier this year I made it a point to photograph two bridges in Dayton that still had B&O capitol dome heralds on them.

I also made sure to get the Norfolk & Western herald shown above on a bridge in Noblesville, Indiana.

This herald is pretty much hidden by a bridge carrying a hike and bike trail over the White River in downtown Noblesville.

In fact I walked past it a few times before I saw it. Photographing it was a challenge because it was obscured by metal work on the trail bridge. That’s why the photo is angled as it is.

This also is the closest I’ve been to one of these heralds, which used to be quite common in N&W territory.

It has been decades since the N&W owned the rails carrying this bridge over a Noblesville street.

The track now ends a short distance away to the left and is used only by a tourist train, the Nickel Plate Express.

This used to be NKP branch line that ran from Indianapolis to Michigan City, Indiana.

Because it was a branch no one thought it was worth the time or money to remove it.

That was a good thing from my perspective because it gave me a chance to relive those days when we’ve be traveling and I’d see a railroad bridge and I would wonder where those tracks led.

The Rio Grande of the East: Part 4

April 2, 2020

The east end of the Wheeling & Lake Erie is known for its many tunnels and high steel bridges.  Probably the best known is Speer trestle over the Monongahela River.

Completed in 1929, Speer is a masterpiece of iron and steel and uniquely was built to house two different rail lines, including the former Pittsburgh & West Virginia on top and the Monessen Southwestern on the lower deck.

The Pennsylvania Railroad objected to this and the lower track was never completed but it makes for a unique design nonetheless. I have caught a coupe trains here over the last few weeks.

The first two pictures are of the Denver & Rio Grande Western pair heading back to Pittsburgh from Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

The last two photographs are of a train heading to Connellsville. The typical operation is a train running Pittsburgh to Connellsville one day and returning the next.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon