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Bridge Blogging: Thomas Viaduct

by Jerome a Paris Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 06:32:25 PM EST

PeWi hasn't been around for a while, but s/he is missed, and even more so the regular Bridge Blogging. I've been taking advantage of this holiday week to sift through an amazing book I bought myself a couple years back (yes, how geeky), the Spans of North America, by David Plowden, and that book pointed me (among many others) to the world's oldest stone railroad span still in service, the Thomas Viaduct. Update [2005-12-29 15:44:5 by Jerome a Paris]: This claim of being the oldest is apparently erroneous. See the comments below, thanks to DoDo.


Back then, in 1835, it was the first multispan railroad masonry bridge in America. It has a 4 degree curvature which makes for impressive pictures:

Here's one of its 8 spans:

The pictures come from this page created by Curtis Flippin with the help of Lighthouse Publishing, which has more pictures and some interesting explanations. I especially enjoyed the tidbit that the bridge cost USD $142,236.51 to build...

More info here from structurae.

Previous Bridge Blogging (by PeWi, unless indicated otherwise):
Calatrava's Twisted Mind (by DoDo (Dec. 1)
wobbly(Nov. 3)
parallel lines(Oct. 27)
Galloping Gertie(Oct. 19)
animal bridges(Oct. 13)
Remagen(Oct. 6)
transporter bridge in Middlesbrough (Sept. 29)
Lyonel Feininger edition(Sept. 22)
Activities on Brooklyn Bridge (Sept 15th)

Bridge of Alcántara (Sept 8th)
Tyne Swing Bridge(Sept 1st)
Muengstener Bruecke (Aug 25th)
Mostar Bridge (Aug 18th)

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Maybe this beautiful bridge will lure PeWi out of hiding.  It's my favorite -- Deception Pass bridge.  

This shows only one of the spans and captures the beauty of the setting more than the bridge.  But the bridge itself is also very beautiful.

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Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 07:43:49 PM EST
I grew up a few miles from this structure: the Joso Bridge. Finished by the Union Pacific company in 1912, it spans the Snake River Valley for a length of 3920' (1195 meters).



This is not nearly as nice a picture as that linked above, but it also shows on the right the Lyons Ferry bridge. It spanned the Columbia River at Vantage, Washington from its construction in 1927 until 1963, when it was disassembled and stored. In 1968 it was reassembled at its current location, replacing the ferry that had carried autos across the river previously.

All this attendant on the river rising some 60+ feet at that time as a result of being dammed. The typo damned is difficult to resist, but that is a story for another day.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 09:19:45 PM EST
Jerome, thanks for mentioning the structurae site. It is new to me, and turns out to have very good photos of both the structures I mentioned. (Hotlink to the Joso ones.) Also pictured is the desert in which I live again now; we get less than 11 inches of rainfall annually.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 10:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the Cape Cod Canal railroad bridge. Cape Cod was separated from mainland Massachusetts in 1914 by a canal that was dug using equipment left over from the Panama canal. This cut a lot of dangerous sea mileage from the trip to New York from points north.

There are currently three bridges over the canal, two four-lane automobile bridges and one single-track railroad bridge. The bridge is usually in the "up" position, but comes down for train usage once in a while.

by asdf on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 11:25:35 PM EST
I've been waiting for Friday Bridge Blogging to reappear so that I could post this link to a blog which was recently (and somewhat controversially) named Australia's best blog.  Singing Bridges can be variously looked upon as a travel blog, an unusual music or art project, or a collection of interesting bridge photos.  Enjoy the bridges, anyway!
by canberra boy (canberraboy1 at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 12:03:13 PM EST
Beautiful bridge, but:

the world's oldest stone railroad span still in service, the Thomas Viaduct

...this is the third erroneous US claim of world's oldest bridge in some category I see... and I find the fourth on Wikipedia1, where another, one year older Baltimore & Ohio bridge is given the erroneous title.

Built for the world's first non-mining locomotive-pulled railway (the Stockton & Darlington line, opened 27.09.1825 with Stephenson's "Locomotion"), the Skerne Bridge in Darlington is still in service today.

  1. If you don't see it, that's because I already corrected it at Wiki.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 01:36:44 PM EST
By the way: that bridge is featured on the 5-pound note!



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 02:40:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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