Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Amtrak/PRR Bridge over Susquehanna River

It is interesting, lately I'm posting more bridges over the Susquehanna River than I am in the Chicago area.

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, Satellite, Birds-Eye View)

Screenshot, Walter Dorsett Photography

I do hope that the video link remains permanent. The speed of the video is 2x.

This Pennsy bridge is now owned by Amtrak and trains run over it at 90mph. To support that speed, each end of each of the four rails is fastened with bolts through two joint bars and the rail. Also, the centenary wires must be disconnected. And workers have to have foremen watching them work. So it takes 25-30 Amtrak employees for a bridge opening. Not only are employees standing on the edge of each pier end, there are people standing on the edges of the moving span. I wonder if all of them are wearing harnesses and safety ropes. Especially the ones on the moving span. The sailboat had to contact Amtrak at least 24 hours before the needed opening, and, if he wasn't there at the agreed upon time, they would not wait for him. It opens about 3-4 times a year from April to October. They won't open it in the winter because the rail is cold and and it contracts, which puts the joints under stress. Even if they could get the bolts out, they would not be able to get the bolt holes to line up again. Some of the comments are worth quoting verbatim.

Shaun Hagy This bridge will be replaced in the coming years. They are close to the end of the planning phase. It was finished in 1906. I believe that in another 10 years, this bridge will no longer be used.

Walter Dorsett Photography Are they building a new one in its place and demolishing it or building one to the right?

Shaun Hagy I could be wrong on exact details but from what I've heard floating around is that they plan on building a new bridge next to the current one, put the new bridge into service and pull the old one from service and either build a new one in its place or rehab the old one. But they eventually want 4 tracks across the Susquehanna. It's a major bottle neck currently for the Amtrak's passenger trains running up and down the North East Corridor.

Charles V. Heitz Sr. What a lot of people don't know is that every department on the railroad has people on that bridge to open it, electric traction disconnects the catenary wires, maintenance of way removes the rail, bridges and buildings has men in a boat in case someone falls off of the bridge and operates the controls to rotate the bridge, communications and signals ensures that the signals are working before and after the opening and closure, and the repair department has a mechanic in the engine house in case something brakes down if for some reason one of these departments don't show up the opening is canceled ( not a good thing ) these are the people that open the bridge. Also all the above is departments must have a supervised on duty in case of a problem. This is all completed in a very short period of time and if a boat is late arriving to go out or come in they must wait till the next opening as the bridge opens and closes at designated times and can't wait for anyone.

Joyce Goodman I do remember them opening it for the tubes for the tunnel, that were manufactured at Wileys Shipyard. Back in the day, I've seen it open a few times. Once from the river.

Trisha Treml Mike Warner was you up there

Mike Warner Yeah at 2:30 I'm on the right side of the part that swung open. [People commented about workers being on the side. Looking again, I see them when the span is open up by the cabin.]

Marian Argentino commented on the above posting
Great video. It just happens a friend of mine sent me a picture that hung in a library somewhere in a Delaware of the original railroad bridge. All we see now are the support structures.
So the piers I see in the satellite views and below must be remnants of this bridge rather than construction for the new bridge.

Tim Johnson commented on the above posting
Update: A Norfolk Southern freight using the bridge during off hours.

Street View

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