Bridge replacements on RRs

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Bridge replacements on RRs
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, November 13, 2017 8:20 PM

Article about various bridge replacements around the USA.  ( although canada and Mexico should have been inclued ).  The article does not cover the many wooden bridges needing replacing either from actual fires or possibility of one.  Another factor is the requirement of replacement bridges to have more lateral clearances over navigation waterways and not be swing bridges ? 

UP certainly has had its hands full with several bridge failures this year. 

It is amazing that so many present bridges were either built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Can we guess that the RRs are building  

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/mow/article/Railroads-navigate-engineering-challenges-to-repair-replace-century-old-bridges--53210

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 13, 2017 9:25 PM

blue streak 1
Article about various bridge replacements around the USA.  ( although canada and Mexico should have been inclued ).  The article does not cover the many wooden bridges needing replacing either from actual fires or possibility of one.  Another factor is the requirement of replacement bridges to have more lateral clearances over navigation waterways and not be swing bridges ? 

UP certainly has had its hands full with several bridge failures this year. 

It is amazing that so many present bridges were either built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Can we guess that the RRs are building  

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/mow/article/Railroads-navigate-engineering-challenges-to-repair-replace-century-old-bridges--53210

Most bridges were built during the era of railroad expansion.  We are not in that era.  We are still in the era of railroad contraction.  Bridges cost big bucks and railroads don't desire to spend much these days.

         

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, November 13, 2017 9:34 PM

Many of the railroad bridges from the days of expansion were significantly overbuilt - the days of computers designing structures that are "just strong enough" had yet to arrive.

As tired as some railroad bridges look, they've still got some life in them.

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, November 13, 2017 9:36 PM

BaltACD

 

 
blue streak 1
Article about various bridge replacements around the USA.  ( although canada and Mexico should have been inclued ).  The article does not cover the many wooden bridges needing replacing either from actual fires or possibility of one.  Another factor is the requirement of replacement bridges to have more lateral clearances over navigation waterways and not be swing bridges ? 

UP certainly has had its hands full with several bridge failures this year. 

It is amazing that so many present bridges were either built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Can we guess that the RRs are building  

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/mow/article/Railroads-navigate-engineering-challenges-to-repair-replace-century-old-bridges--53210

 

Most bridges were built during the era of railroad expansion.  We are not in that era.  We are still in the era of railroad contraction.  Bridges cost big bucks and railroads don't desire to spend much these days.

 

Especially when the man at the top seems trying to milk the road as much as possible.

I wonder: if the expansion of the Virginia Avenue tunnels had not been begun when it was, could it have been begun this year?

By the way, I looked for the catenary support masts last month--and did not see any. As  I recall, they were still there this past April.

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Posted by Norm48327 on Monday, November 13, 2017 10:06 PM

Johnny,

IMO rairoading will never be the same as it was in the steam era.That was a different time.

I watched and photographed removal of a short wooden trestle being replaced with a pre-stressed concrete bridge over a small river (not even a creek by western standards) near me a few years ago. They had to keep the line open for traffic during the process and acconmplished that goal.

The civil engineer who oversaw the project liked the photos because as he said "They tell a story from start to finish". The concrete bridge with a ballast deck was designed to last at least 100 years.

Everything built by man has a lifespan.

 

Norm


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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 13, 2017 10:53 PM

Deggesty
By the way, I looked for the catenary support masts last month--and did not see any. As  I recall, they were still there this past April.

On my trip back from Jacksonville to Maryland in August, I drove I295 past Benning Yard.  Catenary poles were still standing at that time.  I suspect they are now carrying power for commercial use, otherwise I suspect they would have been removed long ago.

         

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 11:11 AM

This is more in PDN's wheelhouse than mine, but:

(1) The Class 1's are doing just fine as are the regionals (Class 2's), especially with their steel bridges. If there is concern, and there is considerably less than in years past (thanks to FRA's Bridge Management Program), is the shortlines. The ones with the "we run trains" mantra are the scary ones and FRA finally woke most of them up. (and hint: Cooper's rating system was a steam era creation, but it still works well and creates some unwanted dynamics that will accentuate where there might be a problem)...Wooden bridges are fine, but you have to respect how wood deteriorates and the number of cycles which speeds up the decline of service life. You can run 315K loads instead of 286K (or 263K) in many cases, but you just shortened a bridge's remaining lifespan (a concept over the heads of so many operating bubbas of the "we run trains" persuasion)... The yellow peril is having issues with non-structural issues outside their control in the cases sited above, usually caused by changes upstream in drainageways or by foreign objects hitting the bridge. (Joe K has the CSX equivilent of the Enid "Can Opener")

(2) If you must worry, don't worry about the railroads, worry about the county and local level road bridges and hopelessly overweight trucks on the most deficient of those bridges. (just dealt with a concrete truck that dealt-in one of those in rural CO...and the truck didn't float.)....We still have 4+ lane federal highways out here running on timber bridges that the motoring public is blissfully unaware of... but the local media in many places is obsessed with rusty railroad steel structures)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 11:52 AM

You also need to remember this about the locomotives.  What did a big steam engine weigh in at well over 400K lbs was normal weight.  The Big Boy is well over 1 million lbs fully ready to run.  That is a lot of dynamic loading with the thrusting going back and forth with the drivers and rods.  A modern GE or EMD is half that.  

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 11:59 AM

Shadow the Cats owner

You also need to remember this about the locomotives.  What did a big steam engine weigh in at well over 400K lbs was normal weight.  The Big Boy is well over 1 million lbs fully ready to run.  That is a lot of dynamic loading with the thrusting going back and forth with the drivers and rods.  A modern GE or EMD is half that.  

 

Now go run those beasts on lightweight track and bridge structure (with limited throw couplers thrown in at no extra charge) and see what that does to your physical plant. The canary in the coal mine will be the backtracks,curves and switches, followed by the least capable bridges as your shortline self-destructs.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:51 PM

Norm48327
Everything built by man has a lifespan.

When in France a few years ago, I drove to see a Roman Viaduct that has stood (per Wikipedia) since 40 AD.  It is very impressive. While it dosn't carry water anymore, it still stands. Wonder what it's lifespan is?

Pont du Gard BLS.jpg

Wonder how B&O's original viaduct and PRR's masonry bridges are holding up? The British Railroads have some magnificent structures also and they appear built to last.

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:55 PM

(and it took how long to figure out what the Romans were using for mortar and their version of concrete mix?)

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:12 PM

Electroliner 1935
 
Norm48327
Everything built by man has a lifespan. 

When in France a few years ago, I drove to see a Roman Viaduct that has stood (per Wikipedia) since 40 AD.  It is very impressive. While it dosn't carry water anymore, it still stands. Wonder what it's lifespan is?

Pont du Gard BLS.jpg

Wonder how B&O's original viaduct and PRR's masonry bridges are holding up? The British Railroads have some magnificent structures also and they appear built to last.

Thomas Viaduct at Relay, MD is still carrying all the traffic of CSX's Capital Sub between Baltimore and Washington - Freight and Passenger.  Lord only knows how much EHH will allow for continuing maintenance.  It was opened in 1835.

Carrollton Viaduct in Baltimore still stands and is still handling yard traffic at Mt. Clare Yard.  It was opened in 1829.

         

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:26 PM

mudchicken

(and it took how long to figure out what the Romans were using for mortar and their version of concrete mix?)

Wasn't there a similar issue with the concrete used by the Lackawanna on a number of their bridges?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:41 PM

Electroliner 1935

 

 
Norm48327
Everything built by man has a lifespan.

 

When in France a few years ago, I drove to see a Roman Viaduct that has stood (per Wikipedia) since 40 AD.  It is very impressive. While it dosn't carry water anymore, it still stands. Wonder what it's lifespan is?

Pont du Gard BLS.jpg

Wonder how B&O's original viaduct and PRR's masonry bridges are holding up? The British Railroads have some magnificent structures also and they appear built to last.

 

PRR's stone bridges have had some problems.  I remember the photo some years back in Trains of a partial collapse of an arch on the Rockville bridge.  Many photos of PRR stone bridges show steel bracing.

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Posted by Victrola1 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:21 AM

The first bridges over major rivers in the upper midwest were not in service long. Many of these bridges over the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were replaced in the last decade of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th century. 

Many of these second bridges are still in use, or have been recently replaced. A century, or more service is a tribute to those who built them. 

What is the expected service life of new rail bridges spanning long distances? 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:34 AM

Victrola1

The first bridges over major rivers in the upper midwest were not in service long. Many of these bridges over the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were replaced in the last decade of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th century. 

Many of these second bridges are still in use, or have been recently replaced. A century, or more service is a tribute to those who built them. 

What is the expected service life of new rail bridges spanning long distances?  

Dart board/ moving target: For openers, how many loading cycles and bridge material?

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Posted by smayham on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:51 AM

 

I can’t help but be reminded of some monumental bridges and the engineers who designed them.  Gustav Lindenthal designed three still-used-today railroad bridges that I’ve seen and admired:

 

  • Hell Gate in NYC (1917)

  • Sciotoville Bridge over the Ohio (1916)

  • Kentucky High Bridge (1911)

 

Great drone video of the last one:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCRKDHbfJAI

 

There is no question of the enduring quality of Lindenthal’s bridges.  For a non-rail bridge, my personal favorite is the Samuel Beckett vehicular swing bridge in Dublin, Ireland, which is designed to resemble the Irish national emblem of a harp:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBIgFg_SoDM

 

-ScottM

 

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:51 AM

mudchicken
Dart board/ moving target: For openers, how many loading cycles and bridge material?

This goes back to the phenomenon I mentioned earlier, where things today are designed to intended use.  

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:14 AM

tree68
 
mudchicken
Dart board/ moving target: For openers, how many loading cycles and bridge material?

 

This goes back to the phenomenon I mentioned earlier, where things today are designed to intended use.  

 

PDN is much more into this than I am. I suspect we have not heard from Paul because he is dealing with brain damage on some project at work.

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:40 AM

mudchicken
At 11:29 (CST) mudchicken posted a response which has a video of an Irish swingbridge opening. It came in my e-mail, but it did not come to me on this site.

 

 
tree68
 
mudchicken
Dart board/ moving target: For openers, how many loading cycles and bridge material?

 

This goes back to the phenomenon I mentioned earlier, where things today are designed to intended use.  

 

 

 

PDN is much more into this than I am. I suspect we have not heard from Paul because he is dealing with brain damage on some project at work.

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:52 AM

My thread has the Irish swing bridge (Samuel Beckett Bridge) in a post by ‘smayham’ timestamped 10:51.  Did mudchicken reply with the video included in ‘quoted’ text?  If so it may be due to filtering intended to cut down on multiple embedded instances of perceived viral video in one thread?

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:56 AM

Whoops--my memory is failing me. Anyway, overmod, your post, pointing out my error, did come through as it should.

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Posted by cx500 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:57 AM

Victrola1

The first bridges over major rivers in the upper midwest were not in service long. Many of these bridges over the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were replaced in the last decade of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th century. 

Many of these second bridges are still in use, or have been recently replaced. A century, or more service is a tribute to those who built them. 

What is the expected service life of new rail bridges spanning long distances? 

 

Those early bridges were replaced because the weights of locomotives and freight cars had greatly increased.  What was suitable for civil war era 4-4-0s, and perhaps tolerable for the smallest 4-6-0s or 2-8-0s at relatively slow speeds, would soon start to show fatal fatigue under bigger Mikados or Pacifics and 70 ton cars. 

To illustrate this, CPR's Chipman branch was operated only by 4-4-0s dating from the 1880s because the bridge had not been updated.  Spending the money to build a more modern bridge could not be justified by the low traffic levels, so that small group of little engines survived long after they had vanished from the rest of the system.  The eventual diesel replacement at the final end of steam was a 44-tonner.  One of the 4-4-0s was used to pull CPR's official last steam run in 1960, brought to Montreal for the occasion.  All three were preserved.

It might also be noted that the steel bridges from the early 20th century sometimes had major upgrades without it being immediately obvious, especially through truss bridges.  Replacement of stringers, and even floorbeams, with heavier members has allowed the bridge to continue in service for the foreseeable future.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, November 16, 2017 12:32 PM

Here we have a steel bridge burning.  Suspect old cross ties on bridge burned ?  Why is it even though bridges are not in service any steel bridges have any wood removed to prevent fires ?

http://www.abc17news.com/news/railroad-bridge-burns-over-gasconade-river/656595884

EDIT:  Isn't this what happened to the hudson river bridge at Poukeepskie many years ago?  Weakening the steel structure ?

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:04 PM

Which leads to the question - If the bridge had been out of service for 20 years, why were men working on it with cutting torches.  Was it being dismantled?  Was the steel being stolen?

         

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:46 PM

blue streak 1
EDIT:  Isn't this what happened to the Hudson river bridge at Poughkeepsie many years ago?  Weakening the steel structure ?

Of course the structure was comparatively weak to begin with; speed was down to 10mph and I think only one consist could be on the bridge at a time — and if I remember correctly hardware falling off it regularly.  So no incentive to even try repairs (pity something like the Riverside Drive viaduct over the Manhattan Valley couldn’t happen).

A much more recent version was the recent crippling of the ex-NYC Park Avenue viaduct due to plastic burning underneath.  Never did see a report on how that was ‘remediated’ but would sure like to know.

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Posted by IslandMan on Saturday, November 18, 2017 5:56 AM

Hmmm...

There are a number of countries suspected of "dumping" steel on the world market (of course China could not possibly be a culprit).

This might present an opportunity, if approached in the right way.

When a commodity is "dumped" on the market it means that a government is subsidising it with the objective of destroying other countries' production. If however the commodity concerned is used for special projects that would otherwise not be undertaken the strategy backfires - the foreign government effectively subsidises domestic projects!

The replacement of wooden trestles with steel structures would be the sort of infrastructure project that could make use of "dumped" construction steel. Perhaps the US Government and the US railroads could get together for a friendly little chat about this...

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, November 18, 2017 10:01 AM

IslandMan

Hmmm...

There are a number of countries suspected of "dumping" steel on the world market (of course China could not possibly be a culprit).

This might present an opportunity, if approached in the right way.

When a commodity is "dumped" on the market it means that a government is subsidising it with the objective of destroying other countries' production. If however the commodity concerned is used for special projects that would otherwise not be undertaken the strategy backfires - the foreign government effectively subsidises domestic projects!

The replacement of wooden trestles with steel structures would be the sort of infrastructure project that could make use of "dumped" construction steel. Perhaps the US Government and the US railroads could get together for a friendly little chat about this...

 

I don't think the dumping of commodities on the market is done for the purpose of destroying another country's production. It's done to keep that country's domestic industry afloat, save jobs, ect.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, November 18, 2017 11:52 AM

Murphy Siding
I don't think the dumping of commodities on the market is done for the purpose of destroying another country's production. It's done to keep that country's domestic industry afloat, save jobs, ect.

From the Dumper's perspective, destroying the industry in the dumped upon country is merely collateral damage.  (collateral damage that they enjoy)

         

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Posted by IslandMan on Sunday, November 19, 2017 8:12 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Murphy Siding
I don't think the dumping of commodities on the market is done for the purpose of destroying another country's production. It's done to keep that country's domestic industry afloat, save jobs, ect.

 

From the Dumper's perspective, destroying the industry in the dumped upon country is merely collateral damage.  (collateral damage that they enjoy)

 

 

Since steel manufacture involves costly plant and a skilled, specialised workforce it takes a lot of time, effort and money to build up a steel industry.  It doesn't take long to dismantle it. A government too wedded to the idea of allowing world steel prices to dictate the survival or otherwise of steel manufacture will be caught out by governments which take a longer-term view. Steel is a fundamental strategic material. If China, for example, controlled world steel production it would put the country in an incredibly powerful position.

Whatever the motivation for "dumping", it has the effect of weakening domestic producers by artificially cutting prices.  If however the dumped product is used for something that would not normally be supplied from domestic producers, this effect is nullified.

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