Monday, May 22, 2017

NS/Pennsy OC Bridge over Ohio River in Pittsburgh, PA

(1915 Bridge Hunter, 1890 Bridge HunterHistoric Bridges; Satellite below)

This is known as the Ohio Connecting Railroad Bridge or the Brunot Island Railroad Bridge.

I learned that this bridge is 70' above the water because somehow a woman drove her SUV onto the bridge and then fell to her death when the vehicle landed upside down in 20 feet of water. But her dog and cat survived. [post-gazette] I studied the satellite images and could not find a grade crossing of the rails in the vicinity. No wonder the police were "mystified."

3D Satellite

Street View, 416' back channel span

Ted Gregory updated

Please follow the above Historic Bridges link to read how they used the material in the 416' foot span to cantilever the 525' main channel span during its construction to keep the shipping channel open. The piers were built wide enough for a double track because it was expected that the single-track through trusses would eventually be replaced by double-track trusses.

The Bridge Hunter page for the 1915 bridge shows the main span being floated into place. This contradicts the cantilevered construction technique described in Historic Bridges. So I paged through the eBook trying to find the picture. It turns out the picture on the 1915 Bridge Hunter webpage is wrong, but the picture being on the 1890 webpage is correct. This is how the initial single-track span was built along the shore and then floated in place.
eBook, p 634
Left Half of p634

Right Half of p634


safe_image for Andrew Wisneski 2020 Flickr
Norfolk Southern's ex PRR "OC" bridge over the east and west channels of the Ohio River, and Brunot Island, just west (by timetable) of Pittsburgh. Train in this image is NS train 21Q, a Harrisburg, PA - Chicago, IL domestic stack train. My son's image taken 8/22/2020.

Tim Shanahan shared AltoonaWorks's photo.
6/2017 - A coal train rolls across the OC Bridge in Pittsburgh. It's taking a righthand turn down the Isle Connector heading for the Conemaugh Line.
[OC is the "Ohio Connector"]
Craig Sturgeon posted
Westbound coke from the massive plant at Clairton (PA) passes through one of the giant spans of the Ohio Connecting Bridge over the Ohio River at Brunot Island,PA (near Pittsburgh). September 2001.
[That truss is massive. It makes the locomotives look rather dinky.]
Daria Phoebe Brashear photo
Norfolk Southern "Illinois Terminal" heritage unit makes an appearance heading west out of Pittsburgh today on 554 (though this shot actually looks west at a train crossing a bridge compass east to do it!). Ohio Connecting Bridge, North Side.
Raymond Adomonis shared

Oren B Helbok posted
Not yet 8:00 a.m., and we'd already spent more than an hour overlooking the former Pennsy Ohio Connecting Bridge two miles downstream of the the Point in Pittsburgh. For most of that time, we waited for a train, and then one came, a Norfolk Southern coal drag coming down the Mon Line; it crossed the bridge and then turned east towards the same downtown that it had passed, across the river, just a few minutes earlier. So I have to think of it as an eastbound.
After the head end dropped down the ramp at the east end of the bridge, the train slowed -- waiting for a signal onto the main? -- and another train appeared, coming from the west and climbing away from the main and onto the OC Bridge approach a mile from where we stood. Lined for the same track that the rear of the coal train still occupied, the eastbound mixed freight slowed and stopped before the signal just beyond the 508-foot truss span over the eastern channel -- exactly where you see it here. An eastbound meeting an eastbound.
Once the coal train cleared, the two SD60s on the head end of the manifest throttled up and got their train moving again. Hard to believe that these units have already reached almost 35 years old; NS rebuilt both of them in 2015, adding the wide cabs among many other improvements -- so perhaps they will still roll through here in 2050?
Dan Cupper I hope those rebuilt SD60Es are NOT around in 2050. Or 2040 or 2030. For crews, they are horrible workplaces. Because of a design flaw, the cabs are very noisy, so much so that the engineer and conductor cannot carry on a conversation without shouting.
Oren B Helbok Sounds awful. Do you know what kind of mistake caused this? Any possibility of a retrofit fix? And do all of the "Admiral" cabs share this trait?
Dan Cupper Oren B Helbok Yes. The a/c duct comes from the rear of the cab #under# the cab floor, so naturally it transmits all the engine room noise into the cab. Altoona mechanical bosses shrug their shoulders and say, well, it meets the decibel standard. Easy for them to say, they don't have to sit in it for up to 12 hours. And these are not "Admiral" cabs, those are retrofitted to GP38s and SD40s.
Dan Cupper Oren B Helbok I have been in SD60Es where previous crews have amended the class stencil to read "SD60Earplug Zone" or "SD60Extra noisy." These engines should be restricted to B or trailing unit status only.

J.D. Gallaway As for the west to go east coal train, it came up the Mon Line from teh Shire Oaks area, but is then turning east to travel the Conemaugh Line to Johnstown to go east of Altoona. The Pittsburgh Line from Pitt to Johnstown is pretty steeply graded for a 17,000+ ton coal bucket.
J.D. Gallaway its a little rough to read, but this shows the layout pretty well...
In that Map, you'd have been standing just about the "C" in CP-Isle

Oren B Helbok posted
As of this morning, Norfolk Southern has raised the speed limit on the former Pennsy Ohio Connecting Bridge in Pittsburgh to 79 miles per hour.
Joe Benson April fools

Dennis DeBruler Given the sharp curves on both ends of this bridge, what is the speed limit?
Jack Bobby Lou Mulreavy Restricted Speed-15 mph.

Ted Gregory posted four photos with the comment:
OC BridgePittsburgh, PA.See my comment and links below for details.This bridge had an elevator that lowered coal cars onto Brunot Island for dumping.
Ted Gregory This is literally one of my favorite railroad bridges anywhere.
It was built by my favorite railroad, the Pennsy.
So when the wife and I visited Pittsburgh in July 2015, we made it a point to photograph it.

Note there are two massive through truss structures. The closest truss, and the sideview, is 508 feet long and spans the Ohio River main channel. The second is 406 ft long and spans an equally wide oxbow back channel of the Ohio.
From bank to bank the structures are roughly 2600 feet long. Note that does not include the length of the wye approaches which add another 2000 feet+/- which are mixture of plate girders on concrete piers and steel trestles with steel bents.
There is a mixture of different truss structures in between the through trusses that span Brunot Island.
We are looking southwest in this shot.
Note the junction on the bridge and the wye that spins off to the left (southeast).
There was a similar wye on the opposite end of the bridge, the leg to the northwest has been removed, but the double track main continues to the southeast along the west bank.

1 comment:

  1. I got curious about whether there was railroad service to the island's power station. There was—an article alludes to "railroad tracks" and historic maps show sidings on the island. So how did railroad cars get down from the 70-foot-high bridge?

    Turns out there was an elevated siding, connected to a railroad car elevator. Scroll down for images: