Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Pennsylvania Union RR over Monongahela River at Clairton, PA

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, Satellite, Flickr)

Carl Venzke posted
"The Union Railroad Clairton Bridge @ Monongahela River, commonly known as the Clairton Coke Works Bridge, is a truss bridge that formerly carried traffic between Clairton, Pennsylvania and Glassport, Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Union Railroad which is owned and operated by Transtar, Inc., a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. The structure, which featured a single track, has been out of service since the 1970s, as rail traffic was rerouted to the US Steel Clairton Works as the steel industry began to decline. The bridge is currently slated to become part of the Montour Trail, one of many current Pittsburgh-area bike trails projects."
I'd say that truss should be strong enough to hold bikes and people. More significantly, it looks like it is strong enough to have survived almost a half-century of neglect.

The east end goes into a tunnel. I looked around for its exit, but I could not find it. Since the track has been OOS since the 1970s, the portal and RoW is probably covered up by tree growth. The Montour Trail currently stops on the other side of the steel mill, so I can't use the map to see where the path is in Lincoln, PA. I wonder if the trail plans are just for the bridge or if it includes the tunnel as well.

Update:
One of seven photos posted by James Paiano
Mike Brady View west (downstream right);
View west from Glassport-Elizabeth Rd [Lincoln Blvd];
Clairton Coke Works, US Steel


OFFICIAL NAME:

OTHER DESIGNATION:
Union RR Bridge at Clairton Coke Works 
mcke596-11 

LOCATION:
Clairton - Lincoln 

USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
McKeesport - Zone 17; 0596 4460
CARRIES:
Union RR, railroad (abandoned) 

BETWEEN:
-- abandoned PLE RR connection on right descending bank of Monongahela River 
-- Union RR; USX Clairton Coke Works on left descending bank of Monongahela River 

CROSSES:
-- (RDB to LDB) CSX [PLE RR]; Monongahela River at mile 21.2; Union RR; USX Clairton Coke Works
TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION / DESIGN:
Parker/Pratt through truss; deck girder and pony girder approach spans 

LENGTH OF MAIN SPAN:
482.0 ft 

TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):

HEIGHT OF DECK:
47.5 ft, vertical clearance, channel span 
Lock and Dam No. 2, Braddock, normal pool level 718.7 ft 

YEAR ERECTED / ENGINEER:
c1893; upgraded 1903?
ADDITIONAL INFO:
Long out of service, this massive railroad bridge could be considered for inclusion into the rails-to-trails system as a possible link to the Montour Trail. The Montour Trail follows the former right-of-way for the Montour RR and is planned to enter the Clairton area along Peters Creek.

The truss is wide enough for two tracks, but the deck is in place for only one -- on the upstream side. The rails have been removed from the grade crossing on Lincoln Blvd [Monongahela-Glassport Rd], but the old rails are still found in the wooded area at the base of the cliff on the opposite side of the road. The tracks curve upstream and eventually recrossed the road to meet with the CSX [PLE RR] tracks on the right bank of the Monongahela River. 

FIELD CHECKED:
03-June-2000 

INFO SOURCES:
USACE Monongahela River Nav. Charts

[I recognize this as copied from pghbridges.]



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