Monday, January 13, 2020

NS/Sou 1919 Wells Viaduct and the NS Crescent Corridor

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Satellite)

Bob Freitag posted three photos with the comment:
Last fall, I ventured up to Toccoa, Ga. to try and get shots of the Wells Viaduct. Couldn't get a clean shot much less a train. Built between 1915 and 1919 as part of a project to straighten Southern Railway’s line through northeastern Georgia, this structure is 1,313 feet in length and is supported by ten reinforced concrete piers with heights of up to 190 feet above the North Fork of the Broad River. The base of the double-tracked rail is more than 200 feet above the stream.For cost-savings reasons, the tallest eight piers are hollow. These are oval on the inside, rectangular on the outside, and strengthened by interior diaphragms at intervals of 50 feet. At the top, the piers measure 30 by 34 feet. The wall thickness varies from 4 feet at the base to 3.5 feet at the top.The first bridge of this height to employ hollow piers, it was named for William H. Wells, the chief engineer for the project.
Troy Nolen It’s almost impossible to get a decent shot there anymore because of the trees.
David Hamilton While you're there, visit the Toccoa Military Museum. World War II paratroopers and specifically the 101st Airborne division trained there. Some of the original WWII stables to house the troops are still there. If you're feeling fit, you can run (or walk) up Currahee Mountain.



"Part of a larger Southern Railways project to reduce curves and grades along Southern Railway's Atlanta – Charlotte mainline." [Bridge Hunter]

I wondered if that segment was part of the NS Crescent Corridor project. So I found a map of the corridor. It appears that it is good that this viaduct already has two tracks because it is part of the New Orleans branch.
Norfolk Southern
(new window)   (2013 link from SupplyChain) Another railroad video that claims intermodal service will reduce highway congestion. It does not decrease urban traffic congestion. It increases it.

Screenshot [Whoops, I forgot to save the link. Sorry]
You’ll be watching trains 201 and 202, which started running in January of 2013 between Memphis and the Northeast on the Crescent Corridor.
[Note that this bridge was converted from truss to girder spans because every other pier is newer. I wonder if the New Orleans branch opened before or after this 2013 Memphis branch.]
Joseph Hinson informs us that there is an intermodal train behind the grain train we see on his 2014 Flickr photo, Evidently, they didn't have clearances for double-stack trains back then because I don't see anything peeking over the tops of the covered hopper cars.

Norfolk Southern has been begging for taxpayer money since 2009. Actually, taxpayers helping to pay for the intermodal terminals makes sense. Taxpayers adding passing and double tracks does not make as much sense. I assume the corridor skips Washington and Baltimore so that they can avoid the expense of improving track clearances for double-stack trains. I wonder how many tunnels the corridor goes through and if any of them needed to be expanded.

They got $105m of the $300m they asked for in 2009. "The Crescent Corridor program of projects is estimated to cost $2.5 billion for full development by 2020." [JOC] I have not found a satisfactory explanation of the current status. NS talks about more than $2.5b and 30 new lanes are now open. But what is a lane and how many more are needed?

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