Forged in Concrete – Trains Journal


I had seen each side of the bridge on Maryland Freeway 34 a number of instances, between Shepherdstown, West Virginia and Sharpsburg, Maryland (website of the Battle of Antietam of the American Civil Struggle) earlier than I lastly did one thing about it. topic, photographically talking. He had clearly been round for a very long time after I first noticed him about 30 years in the past, and based mostly on many subsequent views since then, it did not appear to be he was going to be gone anytime quickly.

The attention-grabbing factor about this in any other case run-of-the-mill concrete viaduct, moreover supporting a fundamental railway line, was the steam-era Norfolk & Western herald solid into the bridge construction on each side of the passage underground. This location is, after all, lower than 15 miles from the northern finish of the northernmost level on the “historic” (i.e. earlier than the addition of Nickel Plate and Wabash within the Sixties) N&W in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, concrete grew to become a preferred constructing materials for land transportation modes in the US, together with many highway and rail bridges, a few of which, like this one, served each modes of motion of products and folks. Some railroads, just like the Lackawanna (DL&W), made in depth use of concrete buildings, a notable instance being the magnificent Tunkfhannock Viaduct in Nicholson, northern Pennsylvania between Scranton and Binghamton, New York.

Rising up in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Western Hills Two-Tier Viaduct was constructed utilizing this materials together with the Cincinnati Union Terminal Challenge, and handed immediately over the engine installations. , together with the rotunda, providing a wonderful view of what’s now alongside – the deserted actions of a significant passenger rail terminal.

Subsequently, metal largely changed concrete for medium and enormous bridges, however there are nonetheless many “old style” examples. Lower than seventy miles from this location, on what’s now the Norfolk Southern “B Line” between Manassas and Entrance Royal, Va., Is one other concrete relic with the “Southern Railway” constructed into the now construction. exhausting as a rock, for instance. Just a few years in the past, whereas visiting the Fostoria, Ohio Railroad Park, I noticed a phenomenal depiction of the Nickel Plate Street nonetheless displayed proudly on a close-by higher deck.

So to get proper to the purpose, just lately I lastly made a daring transfer, and… stopped the automotive, acquired out and photographed the east aspect of Maryland’s Freeway 34 overpass. After which, as no practice deigned to pardon me for his or her presence, I returned just a few weeks later, at a extra auspicious time, and I managed to seize the 211 NS intermodal practice on its journey between the north of the New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia; At the moment’s “H line”, at the least between Hagerstown and Entrance Royal, gives the right-of-way for the principle north-south route from NS into the japanese United States. The “& Western” could have handed from the stage, however the “Norfolk” a part of the poured concrete nonetheless applies.

Whereas taking the photograph, one thing surprising occurred: the locomotives and practice weren’t parallel to the perimeters of the bridge. A have a look at Google Earth reveals why. The bridge is actually on a north-south axis. The railroad on the prime runs at an angle, roughly SSW to NNE, within the route of the compass. It seems that the bridge (inbuilt 1939 as a part of a crossing elimination challenge) was meant for the potential of two lanes, and that there could have been a realignment of the monitor (a chance: elimination of an S-curve at this stage). location) thereafter.

Whereas many of those concrete bridges have stood the take a look at of time to this point, you by no means know once they could be changed. Altered site visitors patterns or worse, a lack of site visitors, might trigger them to face their demise. In consequence, shoot them whilst you can. Different issues might change as effectively: whereas I would not anticipate it within the close to future, it isn’t not possible that the “N&W” emblem on the Route 34 overpass could even survive any reference to ” Norfolk ”from the proprietor and / or working entity overheads. Time will inform us.

(Images by George W. Hamlin)

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