Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BNSF/Northern Pacific Bridge over Chambers Bay at Steilacoom, WA

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, Birds-Eye View, 3D Satellite)

From Historic Bridges, Source: Journal of the Western Society of Engineers, 1914
I learned of this 1914 Strauss direct-lift bridge while studying a Strobel direct-lift bridge. But the Illinois River bridge no longer exists. So this is the last remaining direct-lift bridge in America.

BNSF Chambers Creek Lift Bridge near Steilacoom, WA 5/27/17
Oil-Electric provides more information and pictures.

A David Honan Photo
BNSF rebuilt the foundations and much of the steel work in 2004. "When the bridge was built, the average weight of a rail car was 40 tons and the  average length of a train was 50 cars. Today,  the average car weighs 142 tons, the average train 100  cars. After years of withstanding immense tonnage from division rail traffic, the bridge╩╝s seats began  to founder, causing the structure to rock back and forth." They removed the old seats and built news ones. "Cement used to pour new seats was shipped to the job site using cement trucks loaded on flat cars. Each pour produced 18 yards of new concrete." [BNSF Northwest Division News, pp8-9]

One of the new seat sections
Update: Robert Scott took a night exposure of one of the last Amtrak trains to use this route as it crossed this bridge. Scott's comment indicates this route is much more scenic than the new route. The first Amtrak train on the new route crashed because the engineer was going 80mph through a 30mph curve. Amtrak engineers should quit demonstrating that speed limits are real. If you exceed them by a factor of two, you will regret it.

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