Thursday, October 27, 2016

PRR Bridges over Susquehanna River at Rockville, PA

1849: (Bridge Hunter)

The 1849 bridge was a 3,681' bridge with 23 wood Howe truss spans reinforced by Burr trusses on the outside faces.
The 1877 bridge appears to be made of iron.
The 1902 bridge is a stone arch bridge.

The Enola Yard is just south of this bridge on the west side of the river.

An album of construction pictures for the current stone arch bridge, the worlds longest. The comments are also interesting.

"Constructed between April 1900 and March 1902 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, it has forty-eight 70-foot spans, for a total length of 3,820 feet." [Comment for a share by Christopher Esposito]

I start with a photo of  the current (1902) bridge as the signature photo of the post.
Jack Stoner posted his photo
A Norfolk Southern manifest rolls across the 1902 vintage Rockville bridge from Enola yard September 19,2015. At 3820 feet it remains the longest railroad viaduct of stone arch construction in the world. Not the first structure on the site; the bases for the piers of the 1849 structure owned by PRR and used by the Northern Central (trackage rights) after abandoning their Marysville bridge, can be seen from above the locomotive consist following to the west shore of the river.

Then we have images of the 1849 wooden bridge.
Paul W. Faust posted
The Rockville Bridge just north of Harrisburg, Pa. is the longest stone arch railroad bridge in the world - and this is the original first RR bridge that was in that location. Most of the piers are still standing next to current one.
This is looking from the west side of the river (Susquehanna) towards Rockville.

Paul either doctored his copy or found a better copy.
Paul W. Faust posted
The first Rockville Bridge, Harrisburg, Pa.
year unknown

A photo of the iron bridge that reused the old piers.
Via Bridge Hunter, Published prior to 1923

Larry Stultz posted
A little more history of the Rockville Bridge. The year of the photo and originator are on the picture. Enjoy.
3D Satellite
The line of "green dots" is the piers for the previous wooden and iron bridges.

Larry Stultz posted
The old Rockville bridge, near Harrisburg Pa., being dismantled now that the new bridge is in operation. Taken from the Rockville side of the river looking over toward Marysville, Enola. Enjoy.
Richard Colby What year would this have been taken?
Larry Stultz Richard Colby, new bridge was completed 1902 with the old bridge being removed shortly thereafter.
Steve Fermier Every so often pieces of the "new" bridge fall off. It may be soon a newer one will be necessary.
Kevin Morris That "new" bridge has seen better days, unfortunately. It's down to two tracks located pretty much in the middle. The outer edges are slowly failing.
The bridge has seen an unbelievable amount of traffic in its lifetime. And replacing it would be a monumental task.
Dan Cupper There were only three bridges:
--1849 wooden single track
--1877 iron double track
--1902 stone/concrete 4 tracks.
Keith Pomroy The Northern Central abandoned its own river bridge between Marysville and Dauphin and began using the Rockville bridge. Originally, there was no southeastern wye track off of Rockville Bridge into Enola, so N.C. traffic had to be dispatched out of the small Marysville Yard to the west of the bridge, and then back down across Rockville and then back up to Dauphin on the east shore. Or simply come up the east shore the whole way through the city of Harrisburg.
Keith Pomroy The wye from Enola onto the bridge was only built in 1939.
Matthew Sichel Longest stone arch railroad bridge in the world!

David Moyer posted two photos with the comment:
Rockville, Pennsylvania, United States
Completed 1902
"The greatest forward movement in the building of stone railroad bridges in America began in 1888, when the Pennsylvania Railroad company, under the direction of chief engineer William Brown, commenced replacing its wood and iron bridges with permanent ones of stone and concrete..."  
- Henry G. Tyrrell, History of Bridge Engineering, 1911
The third bridge built on the same site to carry railroad tracks across the Susquehanna River just north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge, at 3,820 feet long and 52 feet wide, is believed to be the longest and widest stone-arch railroad bridge in the world. A central link in rail travel between New York City and Pittsburgh, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge accommodates four lines of railroad tracks, today serving both the Norfolk Southern and Amtrak lines.
At the time of its construction, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge represented the high point of the Pennsylvania Railroad's program in the late 19th century to replace all wooden and iron bridges with stone and concrete structures. It also demonstrated the successful evolution of stone-arch bridge-building in America, placing 48 spans of 70 feet each across the flood-prone Susquehanna and eliminating a significant bottleneck on the main Pennsylvania Railroad line.
With a concrete core encased in stone facing and stone arches, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge was built in manner resembling the acqueducts of the Roman Empire. Serving its purpose for a century, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge has survived not only record-setting floods but also substantial increases in load weights.
The Rockville Stone Arch Bridge replaced an iron, two-track bridge built in 1877, and an earlier, wooden bridge carrying a single track, completed in 1850. The wooden structure, based on the Howe-truss design with added Burr arches, comprised 23 spans for a total of 3670 feet.  
Top photo is looking from the west Perdix and Enola towards the east Harrisburg Pa.   Bottom photo is looking from the east, Harrisburg towards the west Perdix and Enola Pa.

Cindy Bowers: Also a nice view of Rockville Tower, which closed in 1985.



Larry Stultz posted five photos with the comment:
Progression of the PRR's Rockville Bridge spanning the Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg Pa. from the first one to cross to the present. First and last photos are from my files the others have no originator nor dates but appear to be from a booklet on the Rockville Bridge. Enjoy.






Jim Pearson posted
Norfolk Southern 4414 leads a freight train westbound across the Rockville Bridge over the Susquehanna River at Rockville, Pennsylvania on the NS Pittsburgh line as they head for Enola Yard at Enola, PA on November 5th, 2021.
According to Wikipedia: The Rockville Bridge is the longest stone masonry arch railroad viaduct ever built, with forty-eight 70-foot spans and a total length of 3,820 feet (1,160 m). The bridge crosses the Susquehanna River about 5 miles (8 km) north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The eastern end is in Rockville and the western end is just south of Marysville. Completed in 1902 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, it remains in use today by the Norfolk Southern Railway and Amtrak's Pennsylvanian route.
The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1979.
The first bridge at the site was a one-track wooden truss. It opened on September 1, 1849, when the PRR began operating over it. The Northern Central Railway began to use it after abandoning their Marysville Bridge. It was replaced in 1877 with a double-track iron truss bridge.
The third and current bridge was built between April 1900 and March 1902 by Drake & Stratton Co., which built the eastern half, and H.S. Kerbaugh, working from the west. The laborers were Italian or local.
Control of the bridge passed to Penn Central after the PRR merger in 1968, then to Conrail and finally the Norfolk Southern.
Tech Info: DJI Mavic Air 2S Drone, RAW, 22mm, f/2.8, 1/1000, ISO 100.
Jim Pearson Photography

Alan Furler posted three photos with the comment:
When the Pennsylvania Railroad had a traffic surge and leased 9 Reading Class T-1 4-8-4s in 1956, my dad shot this series at the Rockville Bridge of RDG No. 2114 on a PRR freight crossing the Susquehanna River and heading into Enola. This was the last regular service for most of the leased T-1's. The original 35 mm Kodachrome slides are being archived in the Donald W. Furler collection at the
Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Very good photos as usual. Trying to figure where he as standing to take this set of photos. Suppose on the other leg of the wye, but it seems elevated. No matter, brings back the memories.
I'm not sure what he was standing on Bob, but he did climb signals and other structures for elevation. 
Dan Cupper
, my friend who wrote the definitive Rockville Bridge book, any ideas?
Alan Furler
 In those days of our more youthful thinking we did climb railroad equipment and structures to get those perfect photos that these days would never happen. Have a feeling your Dad climbed a signal mast. Won't tell anyone.
Yes, a signal bridge.
Raymond Storey shared


Leased Reading T-1 No. 2114 in 1956 on Pennsylvania Railroad freight heading to Enola Yard.
looks so different without trees
And according to my father who worked for the Reading bet the hell out of them. Most came back scrap ready.
Norfolk Southern Corp posted
Norfolk Southern offers transcontinental guaranteed service between the West Coast and both the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about shipping with NS:
Pictured: as westbound train 21T departs Harrisburg Yard with over 12,000 ft of intermodal equipment, it meets train 22W crossing the Susquehanna River on Rockville Bridge.
Bill Kalkman posted
Norfolk Southern W/B train 11-N is rolling across the "World Famous" Rockville Bridge, over the Susquehanna River. Completed in 1902, it is the longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge in the world. 6:01PM on 9/7/21 in Marysville, PA.

Jack Stoner posted his photo
September 19, 2015 at 8:11am, NS eastbound Roadrailer eases across the venerable Rockville Bridge. According to reports from Norfolk Southern, this train may be but just a memory by the end of the year.

Jack Stoner posted his photo
A firey red sunrise illuminates a Norfolk Southern Intermodal train crossing the 3820 foot, 113 year old Rockville Bridge October 24, 2015. This dramatic lighting lasted only minutes and was gone. Lucky to get a train at just the right time!

Jack Stoner posted his photo
Frank Clement posted
I took this in 2008 from atop the north bluff of the Blue Mountain looking over the Rockville bridge with Amtrak crossing to enter Harrisburg.

Carl Venzke posted
Amtrak train 40, the eastbound Broadway Limited behind E9A 424, E8A 447 and E9A 438, looms out of the fog at the east end of Rockville Bridge, minutes away from it's station stop at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, 16 July 1978. Photo by Bill Wilcox.

Norfolk Southern Corp posted
Did you know that Norfolk Southern has 4,920 employees, 2,560 railroad retirees, and 2,400 miles of track operated in the Keystone State? #DYK#Pennsylvania
Pictured: Hopper train 595 crosses the massive Rockville Bridge across the Susquehanna River, departing Harrisburg, Pa., with the Illinois Terminal heritage unit leading.
Bill Mason Those rocks above the bridge is where I caught 32 small mouth bass in the 80's. Got to watch trains all day and caught a ton of fish... loved it!
Randolph Caruso Is that an Amtrak train heading east?

Steven J. Brown posted
Amtrak Pennsylvanian #43, crossing the Susquehanna River on the Rockville Bridge at Rockville, Pennsylvania - July 2, 2001.
Andrew Michael Bowe: great train too bad it hasn’t run since 2005.

Norfolk Southern Corp posted
Train 35Q crosses the Lurgan Branch Bridge and the Susquehanna River.
David Andrew Wieting Next to the Lurgan Branch bridge are the remains of the unfinished bridge begun in 1885 by the South Penn RR, and the PRR Cumberland Valley Bridge, which was once part of the route to Hagerstown. It was also electrified in the 1930s and used as a way to ferry light engine moves between Enola and Harrisburg as needed, and the way that passenger trains from Baltimore approached Harrisburg after coming north on the old Northern Central.
David Andrew Wieting Lurgan Branch is kind of like NS' own RF&P - links North and South, using both PRR and Reading tracks, linked at Shippensburg. CSX still has rights into Harrisburg from Hagerstown, of a sort, but that is all that remains of the old Alphabet Route. Brothers Wayne and Bill Reid, of Indiana, I believe, have immortalized the route with their N scale Cumberland Valley RR, depicted both the PRR and Reading lines. It has been featured in numerous articles and on video. The former PRR section from CP SHIP south has been modernized almost beyond recognition, with signals and sidings that Conrail never got around to installing, as part of the Crescent Corridor improvements. But many landmarks remain, including some stations, masonry, old handrails, and bridges.
[I assume the Lurgan Branch Bridge is also the Rockville Bridge. What are the odds that NS would have two really long stone arch bridges with a dam in front and abandoned piers behind?]
Norfolk Sothern Corp posted
Pictured: Train 13r crosses the Rockville Bridge and the Susquehanna River in Marysville, Pennsylvania.
Art Kemberling The photo shows NS train crossing the Susquehanna river on the Rockville Bridge which happens to be the longest stone arch bridge in the world.
Ronnie Cathcart Nice to see that SD40-2 behind the lead engine chipping in with some power...nice!!
Zack Boone That SD40 looks so small.

Dave Blaze Rail Photorgaphy posted
Dramatic background skies help to make a couple drab black mundane GEs interesting as Norfolk Southern train 23Z-01 (intermodal Croxton Yard, New Jersey to 63rd Street Yard, Chicago crosses) approaches CP MARY at milepost PT110.9 on NS' Harrisburg Line, the former mainline of the mighty PRR as it nears the west shore of the wide Susquehanna River.
The Rockville Bridge was constructed between April 1900 and March 1902 by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The bridge has forty-eight 70-foot spans, for a total length of 3,820 feet and is the longest stone masonry arch viaduct in the world.
Marysville, Pennsylvania
Sunday August 2, 2020
Roger Riblett posted

Norfolk Southern Corp posted
Doug Koontz, a Norfolk Southern foreman, is no stranger to photography. Before joining the railroad six years ago, Koontz was a newspaper photojournalist in Maryland.
Near the end of a freezing winter day, Koontz happened to be near Fort Hunter Mansion and Park just north of downtown Harrisburg when he saw this NS merchandise train passing over the Susquehanna River on the Rockville Bridge. He took advantage of the colorful sunset view just in time.
The icy waters of the Susquehanna, juxtaposed by fading sunlight, serve as a reminder that NS runs 24/7, in all weather conditions. Koontz recalls a saying he once heard about our around-the-clock service: “A sunset on the railroad is a pretty light show in the middle of the day.”
The train pictured, NS H53, operates in local service, working in tandem with the North Shore Railroad System, a group of six short line railroads that connect with NS. Through short line partnerships, NS extends our network reach and expands markets for customers served by the short lines.
2020 NS Calendar photo by: Doug Koontz, foreman, Harrisburg Terminal, Pennsylvania

Glenn Geisheimer posted
Charles Crawford The interior of the Rockville Viaduct is cement!

Norfolk Southern Railroad posted
Jack Stoner
Robert Wanner posted
The set up of Pennsylvania Railroad facilities and bridges on the West Shore between Enola and Marysville, Pa. in the early years. Lots to see and observe. Unknown photographer or Historical Society.
[From the comments: the second bridge reused the piers of the 1849 wooden bridge.]

Two of the four photos posted by Raymond Storey.

Keith Pomroy Note the absence of the connection from the bridge to Enola. That wasn’t installed until 1939. Freight traffic for Williamsport left out of Harrisburg Yards.

PennLive has additional photos in their description of this 1977 wreck
Cars and engines from two Conrail freights lie twisted on the tracks after an early morning accident on the Rockville Bridge, Aug. 28, 1977. The car in the river was full of rolls of newsprint. (Allied Pix for The Patriot-News)

Larry Stultz posted
Here we are, coming off the Rockville Bridge heading toward Harrisburg. Official PRR photograph, do not know the year. Enjoy.
Zack Childress How long did that engine stay in that paint scheme? And 6110?
Will Heller Yes. 6110 and 6111 were the 2 prototypes and the only ones to have the lower cladding with yellow painted lines near the wheels and the razor nose.
Thomas C. Ayers This photo by Baldwin is of PRR engine #6111.

Larry Stultz posted
Found this in my files the other day along with the T-1 I put up. I do believe that it too is heading to Harrisburg on the Rockville bridge. Do not know the year nor the originator. Enjoy.
Kenneth E. Carden Nice photo over Rockville but that would be a K4.
Keith Pomroy commented on Larry's post
One clue as to which way the river is flowing (and therefore which direction the train is heading) is the icebreakers at the foot of each pier on the upriver side of the bridge. They’re not visible here, which means we are looking at the downriver side of the bridge, and the train is therefore headed east across the bridge.
Here is the upriver side, with sloping components to keep river ice from scouring out the piers.
[Looking at a map, Harrisburg is on the east side of the river.]
Mike Salvatore posted
Heavyweight Pullman cars trail Pennsylvania Railroad train 72, the eastbound Juniata, at Marysville, Pa., in 1952. The train, which is about to cross the famed Rockville Bridge over the Susquehanna River, is en route from Detroit to New York City.
Philip R. Hastings photo Times have changed.....
I never noticed until I saw the above photo how sharp the curves are at the end. Note the cut stone retaining wall.
 This is a later addition.
Ted Gregory posted
The Pennsy was an amazing railroad.
Everything in this screenshot speaks of high speed, high density railroading.
We all know the Rockville Bridge all too well but this is the junction on the west end with the intricate wye, deck plate girder flyovers and a set of tunnels.
Were the tunnels a rail line at some point in the past? To Marysville, PA maybe?
C Kent McKenzie
Here's an interesting summary of the bridge itself, also noting that the diverging track to the south on the west side (to Enola) was added in 1937, which included adding a plate-girder span (mostly hidden by trees in the photo above) on the south side of the east end of the bridge itself.
Charlie Easton
The thing that amazes me about this bridge, and others like it, is the massive size of the stones that went into it. I often wonder if two men could even lift one of these or did it all have to be done by crane. Here's a photo I snapped maybe 15 years ago of the east end right by River Road.
Dennis DeBruler
Let's see of Facebook calls this spam and deletes the comment like it has for some of my other Google Maps URLs.
James Wieman: Hurricane Agnes wiped out a bunch of bridges on the Susquehanna in 1972, but the Rockville Bridge never budged.
Charlie Easton commented on Ted's post
Construction photo 1901

I've been passing up photos of this bridge because it is so popular and there have been so many of them. But photos of the shady side which has the ice breakers on the piers are rather rare.
Keltz JnManda posted
Amtrak 07T. the Pennsylvanian, running west across the Rockville Bridge outside Harrisburg, PA. February 14, 2016.

safe_image for RailPictures.Net Photo by Jim Johnston
On a frigid January 16th, 2022 morning, Chicago bound intermodal NS 21J crosses the historic Rockville Bridge over an icy Susquehanna River following days of below freezing temperatures in central Pennsylvania.. -Jim Johnston
C Kent McKenzie: The dynamics of ice formation and movement on rivers is fascinating to me. I spent three days several years ago in a US Army Corps of Engineers class about the management of river ice jams. Ice jams can be a big problem and have lead to flooding of several neighborhoods in a county adjacent to us over the years...

safe_image for a YouTube video

(new window)  There is evidently a serious stone arch railroad bridge further downstream by Harrisburg. Another drone flyover of the river.

Trackchart from pc.smellycat

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