Thursday, June 29, 2017

1903 Light Rail/Conrail/Pennsy/Panhandle Bridge over Monongahela in Pittsburgh

(Bridge HunterHistoric Bridgespghbridges; no B&T; 3D SatelliteBirds-Eye View)

The official name is Monongahela River Bridge.
"Built 1903; raised in 1912-16 grade separation; rebuilt 1982 for light rail." [BridgeHunter] The main span is 351' with 44' of clearance. [pghbridges]

BrooklineConnection via BridgeHunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)
Replacement of one of the plate girder extensions on the Panhandle Bridge in May of 1955.

The BrooklineConnection also has a photo of the 1863 bridge.

BrooklineConnection, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)

AltoonaWorks added
A PRR passenger train crosses the Monongahela River at Pittsburgh on the Panhandle Bridge. This bridge is used by the Pittsburgh Light Rail today.
Pennsylvania Railroad posted
Gilbert Silva shared

Ian Bowling commented on the above posting
Here’s an older picture of the Panhandle Bridge

A different exposure of the older picture.
BrooklineConnection via BridgeHunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)
1933 photo looking northeast

Mark Hinsdale posted
"Distinctly Pittsburgh"
If Baltimore & Ohio's "Trailer Jets" between Chicago and Philadelphia were both on time in the late 70's and early 80's, they tended to meet each other in the Pittsburgh vicinity in early afternoon. Such is the case here, as the eastbound CPTT (Chicago-Philadelphia Trailer Train) roars east on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie main line in Pittsburgh's West End. If you look closely, you can just make out the crewman on the rear platform of the caboose on westbound CHTT, the Chicago Trailer Train on the other main track. Conrail's impressive ex Pennsylvania Railroad Ohio River Connecting Bridge looms large in the background, with the broad Ohio River to the right. August, 1980 photo by Mark Hinsdale
[I think it is the Monongahela River on the right.]

Henry St George Tucker posted two photos with the comment: "Former PRR Panhandle Bridge, now used by Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County Light Rail system."

2, cropped

Jimmy Braum posted the comment: "Testimony to the quality of PRR construction. The Panhandle bridge in Pittsburgh took a direct hit by a runaway barge this morning, and is still standing without any preliminary damage visible."
Tim O'Malley Is this portion of the Panhandle now used by Norfolk Southern, or some other railroad?
Jimmy Braum Tim O'Malley PAT port Authority transit light rail.
Alexander Mitchell Last report is Panhandle is still closed as a precaution, however.
Lance Myers Seems to be a recurring problem.

Mark Hinsdale posted three photos with the comment:
"Panhandle Bridge"
To access Pennsylvania Station in Pittsburgh PA, Pennsylvania Railroad passenger trains to or from the "Panhandle" (serving Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and St. Louis) utilized a bridge across the Monongahela River situated between the Smithfield Street and Liberty Bridges. This "Panhandle Bridge" as it was known, was the route of key PRR trains, such as the "Spirit of St. Louis," the "Penn Texas" and the "Cincinnati Limited." As rail passenger service faded and Amtrak assumed most intercity operations, only Amtrak's "National Limited" continued to use the bridge on a regular basis. Conrail had no compelling freight need for the bridge, and also planned on the eventual downgrading of the "Panhandle" route west of Pittsburgh. The bridge was sold to the Port Authority of Allegheny County in the early 1980's and rebuilt for use by PAT's light rail system. It was quite rare by the time I worked in Pittsburgh (1979-80) to catch a move on the bridge, as the National Limited ran in the wee hours both ways, and was, itself, discontinued by Amtrak in 1979. However, the sporadic freight move still occurred if there was a derailment or maintenance curfew on Conrail's Monongahela Branch that ran along the south side of the river. That was the case here, as a couple of westbound trains used the bridge and waited at "MONON," the junction with the Mon Branch, for a signal to proceed west. It would only be a short time before Conrail terminated its use of "Panhandle Bridge." Today, PAT light rail vehicles cross it frequently. September, 1980 photos by Mark Hinsdale

Steven Schorr Was there a complete wye at the end of this bridge or did it only connect to the mon line northward?
Mark Hinsdale In the 2nd image, you can barely make out the trestle carrying the east eye in the distant background. It was used by commuter trains PRR once operated between Pittsburgh, Homestead and Brownsville.
Tom Umpleby Thank you for post; worked that line to Columbus and been across bridge on truck trains and empty grain trains like the one pictured.

Mark Hinsdale shared
Chris Osterhus Aside from a lack of traffic, the other issue that doomed the bridge, was the rather tight tunnel under downtown...and the station's reconfiguration in the early 1980s. Several tracks, including those used by the National Limited, were combined to make room for the parallel busway.



David Gulden posted
[This bridge is in the background. The foreground bridge is the Smithfield Street Bridge.]

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