Monday, November 30, 2020

1884 Viaduc de Garabit Bridge and 1889 Eiffel Tower

Eiffel's Bridge: (Satellite)
Eiffel Tower: (Satellite)

Both of these iron structures were built by Gustave Eiffel. (These structures were built before steel was developed.) This video taught me about this bridge. Note that he built the bridge five years before he built his famous tower in Paris.

He chose a lacy truss to offer less resistance to the strong winds in the valley. "The viaduct was constructed between 1882 and 1884 and opened to rail traffic in November 1885. The structure is 565m (1,854 ft) long and the span of the principal arch is 165m (541 ft). The 448m (1,470 ft) long metal deck is flanked by two masonry viaducts of 46m (151 ft) and 71m (233 ft) in length and is supported by five wrought iron piers the two tallest of which are 80m (262 ft) high. It carried a single railway line 120m (400 ft) above the Truyere River and was for many years the tallest bridge in the world. However, the construction in 1959 of the Grandval dam on the Truyère created a 28km long reservoir and the raised water level is today 95m (311 ft) below the bridge deck.​" [BridgesOfDublin

This view shows how the arch narrows and deepens as it rises.
CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

"The largest and highest railway arch bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1884, Eiffel’s Garabit Viaduct was completed just 5 years before his famous tower in Paris. Eiffel had previously designed the Maria Pia, the world’s longest steel [sic] arch bridge in 1877 in Oporto, Portugal. The opening of the Garabit Viaduct made it the only time in history that the world’s 3 highest bridges were all within one country. The highest was the 1839-built Charles Albert suspension bridge. In second place was the 1882 Pont Chatelet arch bridge. Garabit was the third. That feat will be repeated again in 2010 when China finally opens the Balinghe bridge which will join the Siduhe and Beipanjiang (2003) bridges as the world’s 3 highest. (Assuming you don’t count the Hegigio Gorge Pipeline span as a bridge)." [HighestBridges]

HighestBridges, this site has many more images of the bridge, both old and new
Garabit Viaduct postcard.

The train helps provide scale.
Garabit Viaduct postcard.

Jean Michel DHAINAUT, Mar 2017

Highway Engineering Discoveries posted
The Garabit viaduct is a railway arch bridge spanning the Truyère, near Ruynes-en-Margeride, Cantal, France, in the mountainous Massif Central region. The bridge was constructed between 1882 and 1884 by Gustave Eiffel, with structural engineering by Maurice Koechlin, and was opened in 1885.

After seeing this post soon after I saw the bridge, I was motivated to research both.
safe_image for Origins and Construction of the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel's company won a contest to build a monument for the 1889 World's Fair. It was actually designed by his employees Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier. At 300m (984') high, it stood as the tallest structure in the world until the Chrysler Building was built in 1930 in New York City. At first, many hated it because they thought it would fall down and/or it was an eyesore. But it proved to be a very popular exhibit. It was supposed to be removed after 20 years, but because of its popularity and its usefulness as a radio antennae, it survived. [LiveScience] "It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year. Some 500 employees are responsible for its daily operations, working in its restaurants, manning its elevators, ensuring its security and directing the eager crowds flocking the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights." []

Street View

Eiffel Tower fun facts

  • Gustave Eiffel used latticed wrought iron to construct the tower to demonstrate that the metal could be as strong as stone while being lighter.
  • Eiffel also created the internal frame for the Statue of Liberty.
  • Construction of the Eiffel Tower cost 7,799,401.31 French gold francs in 1889, or about $1.5 million.
  • The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet (324 meters) tall, including the antenna at the top. Without the antenna, it is 984 feet (300 m).
  • It was the world's tallest structure until the Chrysler Building was built in New York in 1930.
  • The tower was built to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up, the top moves as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) away from the sun.
  • The sun also causes the tower to grow about 6 inches.
  • The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons.
  • There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower.
  • The French have a nickname for the tower: La Dame de Fer, "the Iron Lady."
  • The first platform is 190 feet above the ground; the second platform is 376 feet, and the third platform is almost 900 feet up.
  • The Eiffel Tower has 108 stories, with 1,710 steps. However, visitors can only climb stairs to the first platform. There are two elevators.
  • One elevator travels a total distance of 64,001 miles (103,000 kilometers) a year.
history Season posted
Construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. June 1888 – November 1888.

Jean-Jacques Marchi posted four really nice photos. And a comment by Jeff Lewis has a photo of Eiffel's predecessor bridge in Porto, Portugal.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

1955 132mw Gavins Point Dam and Lewis & Clark Lake on the Missouri River

(John A. Weeks IIISatellite)

The three Kaplan turbine units have a total capacity of 132.2 MW. The discharge capacity at the max operating pool (1,210') is 345,000 cfs and the max discharge capacity at 1,221.4' is 584,000 cfs. The record flow was 160,200 cfs in early July of 2011. [USACE-facts] "While most of the Missouri River plants are used for peaking or semi-peaking purposes, which means they generate more energy during the hours of highest demand, Gavins Point Dam is the only dam consistently used for baseload production, which means the plant provides a continuous energy supply." 726 GWH or 68,000 homes. The Kaplan turbines are variable pitch and turn at 75 rpm. [USACE-hydropower]

Massman Construction Co. posted six photos with the comment:
Gavins Point Dam is the dam furthest downstream on the Missouri River and is one of six major dams authorized by Congress in 1944 as part of
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters
' Pick-Sloan plan. As part of a joint venture, we broke ground in 1953 and had, by 1957, completed the main spillway, earthwork, and powerhouse substructure and intake. In recognition of the structure’s importance, over 8,000 people attended the opening ceremony.
Located near Yankton, South Dakota, the dam impounds Lewis and Clark Lake. Today, the dams assist with the conversation, control, and efficient use of water resources in the Missouri River Basin, with the Gavins Point hydroelectric plant generating enough power for nearly 70,000 homes.






John Weeks



USACE, Omaha District posted three photos with the comment:
Gavins Point dam is the smallest of #USACE Omaha District's 6 major dams along the Missouri River. This dam is 8,700 feet long and 74 feet high, and the typical waterfall of 45 feet. The spillway is 664 feet long and features 14 tainter gates (the part that goes up and down and controls the water flow). Each gate spans 40 feet wide by 30 feet tall. 
The power plant within the dam has three generators each with a capacity of 44.1 megawatts, for a total maximum output of 132.32 megawatts, and create enough electricity to supply the needs of 65,000 people.
(Photo credit: Samuel Weldin, Public Affairs Specialist, USACE Omaha District)
Delta Mike shared



"Gavin's Point Dam at Yankton, should be removed first. The dam is the least useful structure of the Big Six across the main stem, and it is fast filling in with silt." [RapidCityJournal]

(new window)  March 15, 2019 via yankton (paycount 3). If I understand the article correctly, the flow we see here is about 100,000 cfs, and it was enough to cause flooding downstream.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

1910 McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River at St Louis+Venice

(Bridge Hunter; Historic BridgesJohn A. Weeks III, John Marvig3D Satellite)

The bridge was built by the Illinois Electric Traction Association in 1910. Auto traffic was added during the 1930s and rail traffic ended in 1987. Finances and the complexity of multiple city and state governments caused it to be closed in Oct 2001. The governments came up with a plan to refurbish the bridge into a free, modern 2-lane crossing with a trail on the south side. Work began in 2004 and it reopened to traffic in 2007. [John Weeks] "This bridge is a massive through truss. It was designed by famous engineer Ralph Modjeski and is among the earlier of his surviving bridges." [Historic Bridges] The reconstruction cost $46m. [Jayne Matthews comment in Bridge Hunter] Both approaches were replaced by the refurbishing..

Post Card View provided by Joe Sonderman via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

safe_image for The “Rededication” of a Bridge Between Missouri and Illinois
This was the original bridge for the 1926 Route 66 (US 66). Four years later the route was moved to the Chain of Rocks Bridge.
Photo Credit: LittleT889 (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at

This panoramic photo taken in 1910 by A. W. Sanders shows the bridge while it was still under construction (notice the falsework under the third span). via Bridge Hunter
Street View

USACE broke their link

Illinois Terminal switcher eases out over the McKinley Bridge, May 1973, by Gary Forshaw via Bridge Hunter

Street View

MWRD: Enclosed Electrical Switchyard

(Satellite, the building is long gone. The powerhouse now sells the electricity to the grid.)

Because the MWRD built a powerhouse in Lockport, IL, it helped pioneer the transmission and distribution of electrical power. What is now done in an open switchyard, they did in a building. Many of the photos have the 8-track bridges in the background.

MWRD posted
The Sanitary District’s (now MWRD) electrical power station at 31st and Western along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Chicago on August 15, 1925, viewed from the Western Ave Bridge. The area is now home to the Richard J. Daley Park boat launch. 
MWRD posted [same comment]

This photo provides a good view of the power lines that came from the Lockport Powerhouse.
MWRD posted on Apr 26, 2023
Construction of a new dock wall at the MWRD's electrical power terminal station property located on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, looking west from Western Avenue with the 8-track railroad bridge visible in the background on October 29, 1923.

MWRD posted two photos with the comment: "Interior and exterior views of the Sanitary District's (now MWRD) electrical power station at 31st and Western near the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Chicago on November 2, 1917."


MWRD posted
A maintenance truck and crew outside of the MWRD electrical power terminal station at Western and 31st in Chicago on June 19, 1922.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Dennis DeBruler shared a MWRD posting
Historical photo of the week: The 8-track rail bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Western Ave is seen opened for passage of tanks bound for Dickinson Seed Company on February 27, 1917.
[Note the power lines on the left that terminated at this building, which would have been to the left of the photographer.]

MWRD posted
Repairs to the deck of the Western Avenue Bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Chicago, looking west, on June 10, 1924.
Dennis DeBruler: This photo helps establish the location of the now gone MWRD power station that is in the left background.

MWRD posted on Dec 1, 2022
A maintenance truck and crew outside of the MWRD electrical power terminal station at Western Avenue and 31st Street in Chicago, Illinois, on June 19, 1922.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Lost/Pennsy Bridges over Susquehanna River at Wrightsville-Columbia, PA

(Bridge Hunter; Satellite, the piers are still left)

The road bridge next to it was the 1930 Lincoln Highway.

It continues to amaze me what they did with wood in the 1800s.
Robert Wanner posted
Photo of the original covered Pennsylvania Railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrighsville,Pa. Also carried horse and buggy/early auto traffic at first until later daylighted to remain in PRR rail service until mid or late 1950's. Once the route of rail car service between Lancaster and York, Pa. Photo from John D. Denney Collection.
[Some comments indicate that this view is from the Wrightsville side.]
Kyle Klinger: The original bridge was burnt in 1863 to prevent the confederate army from crossing the river.

"Built in 30 days in 1896 to be 'temporary' replacement for destroyed covered bridge, with intent of road being added to upper level; neither replacement nor upper deck ever built. Removed 1964" [Bridge Hunter]

Postcard from collection of Scott Mingus, York, PA. via Bridge Hunter via Wikipedia, Public Domain

The Bridge Hunter site has several construction photos.

Trail/SP/various Goat Canyon (Carrizo Gorge) Curved Wooden Trestle

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Satellite and Satellite)

The bridge was last used in 1976, but it still has rails on it.  Evidently wood does alright in a desert.

Bridge Hunter has street views taken by a hiker going across the bridge.

Jonathan Haeber Flickr via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
The tallest curved trestle in the U.S. dates to 1932, when an earthquake collapsed an adjoining tunnel. The trestle was the only other option for crossing Goat Canyon. The trestle stands 200 feet tall and 600 feet long.

Eric Polk posted
The Goat Canyon Trestle in eastern San Diego County is the world's largest wooden trestle. It was built in 1933 after a tunnel collapse led to a realignment of the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway. By the 1930s, metal and concrete were the preferred construction materials for railroad bridges. Wood was chosen for this bridge due to the extreme temperature fluctuations found in the Colorado Desert. The railroad no longer runs on this trestle and it can be visited by day hikers.
Forgotten posted
16 mile hike to an abandoned Train track bridge in California, USA
Carter Neusbaum: This is Goat Canyon Trestle, it is a wooden trestle in San Diego County, California. At a length of 597–750 feet (182–229 m), it is the world's largest all-wooden trestle. Goat Canyon Trestle was built in 1933 as part of the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway, after one of the many tunnels through the Carrizo Gorge collapsed. The railway had been called the "impossible railroad" upon its 1919 completion. It ran through Baja California and eastern San Diego County before ending in Imperial Valley. The trestle was made of wood, rather than metal, due to temperature fluctuations in the Carrizo Gorge. By 2008, railway traffic had stopped using the trestle.
Warren Burkholder shared
Sherry Bonneau posted
Goat Canyon Trestle, aka the impossible railroad.
They built this giant bridge after one of the tunnels collapsed. The railroad was suppose to connect Arizona to San Diego, built by a train car owner, the railroad never recouped its original investment but was operational as late as 2007. It has about 12 or more tunnels and a series of trestles all throughout a few miles of track.
It's no longer in use, but I don't believe it's abandoned either. It's still maintained as a hiking trail.. It is plumbed with water pipes which doused the whole structure whenever steam locomotives crossed otherwise it would catch fire and burn to the ground because steam locomotives threw alot of sparks.
Credit: Steve P. Jolliffe
Russell Courtenay shared
Fernando Aragon commented on Sherry's post
You should look into the trestle in Albuquerque. It's the largest all wood structure in the world. That's a bomber on top.
They would turn the engines on and shoot EMPs at the plane. The wood was invisible to the EMP so it was a safe way simulate flight.
[If someone he provided GPS coordinates, it would have gotten its own notes.]

Ian Gove commented on Warren's share

Photo taken by Mahat Tattva Dasa via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

Trent Reeve posted
Goat Canyon Trestle is a wooden trestle in San Diego County, California. At a length of 597–750 feet (182–229 m), it is the world's largest curved, all-wood trestle.
Mark Harold AdamsGeorge Parrino shared
Lydia Thompson posted
The Goat Canyon Trestle, located in San Diego County, California, is the largest wooden railroad trestle in the world. Built in 1919 as part of the Carrizo Canyon Trail, it is more than 600 feet [182m] long and 186 feet [57m] high. The bridge was constructed of redwood beams, a testament to the engineering prowess of the time.
Marc Chapuis: and a testament to redwood as a building material.
Steve Mudge: Marc Chapuis old growth redwood like this was stronger but redwood now is pretty soft. I suspect they used redwood for the trestle because of durability to the elements--old growth was amazing at resisting insects/rot.
Rob Little posted
The Goat Canyon Trestle, located in San Diego County, California, is the largest wooden railroad trestle in the world. Built in 1919 as part of the Carrizo Canyon Trail, it is more than 600 feet long and 186 feet high. The bridge was constructed of redwood beams, a testament to the engineering prowess of the time.
Bridges Now and Then shared

John Kosiba commented on Lydia's post
Actually built in the 30,s as it was a reroute for the original right of way that was severed by an earthquake that made a tunnel impassable. The bridge was built in 100 days and if you have ever been to this location you can appreciate what a task it must of been. In the photo I posted you can see a white line on the right beyond the bridge is part of the original right of way. My photo. You can see the damaged tunnel to the left of the bridge on original photo.

Dave Arganbright commented on Lydia's post
could be reopened again...obviously, it hasn't as of yet.
[Dave provided 4 more photos from that day in more comments. (It is a public group.)]
Did you know that? posted
🚂 The Goat Canyon Trestle, located in San Diego, California, is the longest wooden railroad bridge in the world. Built from redwood beams, this impressive bridge spans 185 meters and reaches a height of almost 57 meters. It is part of the stretch known as the Carrizo Gorge, a section of the railway route that received the nickname "the impossible railway" in 1919 due to the extreme technical and logistical difficulties involved in its construction. This emblematic bridge is a testimony to the engineering of the early 20th century that remains an architectural marvel today.
Bob Kinstrey shared

(new window)  In southern Anza Borrego Desert rests the largest freestanding wooden trestle in the entire world: the Goat Canyon Trestle.  Built in 1932, this engineering marvel requires a 16+ mile round trip hike across (as of this writing) abandoned railroad tracks, through train tunnels, and over smaller wooden railroad trestles.  By the time you see the trestle, it's clear why this railroad was deemed "the impossible railroad."
[The YouTube AI offered at least eight more videos.]

Thursday, November 26, 2020

1877+1911 NS/CNO&TP/Sou/CS High Bridges over Kentucky River near Wilmore, KY

1877: (Bridge Hunter) A cantilevered truss
1911: (Bridge Hunter; Historic BridgesHAERSatellite)

To explain the title, Cincinnati built and owns the Cincinnati Southern route, but it now leases it to the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (CNO&TP), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norfolk Southern.

The 1929 successor bridge is documented here.

The original bridge was opened by President Rutherford B. Hays in 1877. At that time, at 275' tall, it was the highest railroad bridge in the world. Gustav Lindenthal designed the 1911 replacement. The track of the new bridge was 33' above the 1877 track so that the new bridge could be built around the old one while the old one continued to carry traffic. It was double tracked in 1929. Until the 1950s there was a walkway on the west side of the bridge because excursion trips were run to the bridge until the 1930s. [Bogart]

Gary Miller posted two images with the comment: "Southern RR bridge over Kentucky River known as HIGH BRIDGE. The second postcard shows old arches & depot. The arches & depot were demolished when the bridge was rebuilt in 1911."
David Morse: That is after High Bridge was rebuilt.


In this photo, the new bridge has been opened but they have yet to remove the old truss.
Henri Charles shared
[1877 Bridge Hunter identifies this as "Louis Edward Nollau High Bridge Photographic Collection, University of Kentucky."]
Bridges Now and Then posted
Working on the High Bridge, Kentucky, November 29, 1910. (The Louis Edward Nollau High Bridge Collection)
Dennis DeBruler: This 1911 bridge was built around the 1877 bridge. Note the railroad tracks down in the middle of the new truss., p49

We can see one of the suspension bridge towers that Roebling started in 1851 for a different railroad. The Panic of 1857 terminated the construction of that bridge. When the original railroad resumed construction, they picked a different route that had a lower crossing of the Kentucky River. The CNO&TP acquired the charter for this route and finished a bridge. [Bogart] "It is the first cantilever bridge built on the American continent. The large twin towers were torn down in 1929." [Anonymous comment] The towers were removed when the bridge was double tracked. [Ed Hollowell comment]]
Elmer L. Foote Lantern Slide Collection, Lexington Public Library via 1877 Bridge Hunter

The longest (1125 feet) and highest (275 feet) cantilever bridge in the world when built in 1877. It was the highest bridge of any type in North America until 1888 when Young's High Bridge was built to 283 feet a few miles away. A new bridge was built around this bridge in 1910-11 which was 308 feet tall, surpassing Young's High Bridge. The 1877 bridge continued in use during construction of the new bridge around it and was only dissembled sometime after the 1911 bridge was in use. The Cincinnati Southern Railway was and still is owned by the city of Cincinnati. Contract cost for bridge was $390,000. Final cost of the bridge was $404,856.58. Cincinnati Southern Railway built and owns the bridge. Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (CNTP) leased and continues to lease the line from Cincinnati Southern though CNTP is owned by Norfolk Southern (formally Southern).
[1877 Bridge Hunter]
This photo has been moved to "1929 NS/Sou/CNO&TP/CS"
Look at the base of the tower and you can see that the two cranes have started constructing the new tower around the old one. A concrete layer has been added to the cut stone pier.

Louis Edward Nollau F Series Photographic Print Collection, University of Kentucky via BridgeHunter-1877

They added temporary supports next to each tower to help balance the trusses while they were cantilevered during construction.
Louis Edward Nollau F Series Photographic Print Collection, University of Kentucky via 1877 Bridge Hunter
The deep truss allowed it to be built around the old truss. Note the engine under the traveler on the right to get a sense of scale.
Engineering Record, Vol. 62, 1910. Digitized By Google. from Historic Bridges

Elmer L. Foote Lantern Slide Collection, Lexington Public Library via 1877 Bridge Hunter

I knew that L&D #7 was part of the Kentucky River System, but I did not realize that there was such large fleeting areas for barge.
OnlyInYourState, Facebook/Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
"Many people gathered for the dedication in hopes of seeing then President Rutherford B. Hayes, who was in attendance. Notably, also in attendance was General William Tecumseh Sherman."
"In 1911, a new bridge was built around the existing one and then in 1929 it was expanded to two tracks."

HAER KY,57-HIBR,1--1

SteelRails posted
Norfolk Southern, NS 4824, Rebuilt GE AC44C6M, lead NS28C over the NS high Bridge  in Wilmore, Kentucky on the NS CNO&TP Second District, also known as the Rathole, on June 8, 2024.

SteelRails posted
On June 8, 2024, Norfolk Southern, NS 1834, Rebuilt EMD SD70ACC, lead NS29F over the NS high Bridge on the CNO&TP Second District, also known as the Rathole in Wilmore, Kentucky.