Trains.com

Bridge Maintenance

3279 views
15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    September 2010
  • 2,229 posts
Bridge Maintenance
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, July 23, 2016 12:11 PM

I was in Sidney OH last week and ate at a restaurant named THE BRIDGE which had photos of the now CSX (former Big 4, NYC, PC, Conrail) bridge over the Miami river on the Cleveland to St Louis route. After lunch I drove to the bridge and was saddened to see its condition. Built in 1923 of concrete. It may still be sound but it looks to be very deteriorated. 

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g270/BOBWAYMAN2/20160714_140059A_zpsep9wy1xm.jpg

CSX of course wants to keep its operating ratio down but deferring maintenance is penny wise and pound foolish I see many bridges in need of paint and viaducts in need of restoritive care. It makes me think RR's are "Eating their seed corn". It is discouraging to see the disinvestment in the plant. Amtrak is faced with the bridges and the tunnels on the NE corridor. The countries highways are facing deferred maintenance. I hope whoever gets into office will work to get the countries infrastructure up to a "state of good repair."

Any one else seeing similar issues?

  • Member since
    September 2011
  • 5,428 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:33 PM

It doesn't matter who is president, if Congress won't approve the money to pay for infrastructure.

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 6,955 posts
Posted by Euclid on Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:46 AM

What about all the infrastructure we were to get with the economic stimulus package that the President signed in early 2009?  As I recall, that was $750-billion in one fell swoop.  Wasn't there one or two more rounds of spending about that same amount.  Can someone find a source showing the record of all the infrastructure that got built or repaired with that couple trillion dollars?  It must have included several thousand new bridges just for starters. 

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Matthews NC
  • 308 posts
Posted by matthewsaggie on Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:34 PM

Almost 50% of the referenced $750b was in the form of income tax cuts, not actual spending. The actual money available for infrastructure spending was far, far less.  If you google ARRA spending, you can find a project list, including the $740k I managed to snag for roadway widening and paving in my town. I had them all "shovel ready".

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 6,955 posts
Posted by Euclid on Sunday, July 24, 2016 2:01 PM

Well however, the money was spent; it was largely promoted to the public as being intended to create shovel-ready jobs dedicated to infrastructure improvement.  Creating jobs was the stated objective of the stimulus to combat the job shortage effect of the recession. 

It looks to me like the money was used to fatten government department budgets.  I suspect that the economy would be far better off today had we not squandered such massive funds in the name of stimulus. 

What we got for the billions spent on stimulus was a sort of snarky comment that the “shovel-ready” jobs were not so shovel-ready. 

It certainly was a shovel-ready explanation. 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,838 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 9:15 PM

Euclid
It certainly was a shovel-ready explanation.

It certainly depends on what was, or is, being shoveled.

  • Member since
    September 2010
  • 2,229 posts
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:07 PM

My original post was to start discussion on the status of the bridges that are in service today and my perception that there is a lot of deferred maintenance on them. Not to start a political tirade forum. The post came after seeing the Sidney OH CSX bridge and how its condition implied a culture of not reinvesting in the plant. I have also noted that I see many steel bridges that have not been painted in many years and are showing decay. The Peavine (NS Portsmouth- Cincinnati) line was severed due to a bridge failure East of Portsmouth. I am concerned that railroads are failing to maintain their plant and we could see a death spiral of rail service in the future.  It strikes me that many short lines that take over a class 1's branch provide service to the customers but do not reinvest in the plant they operate. Again, please tell me if I am wrong.

 

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,486 posts
Posted by diningcar on Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:35 PM

MC may wish to comment on this, however my experience of 35 years with a major Class 1 was that bridges were inspected once a year and budgets included repairs - repacement or repair as warrented.

  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: Lombard (west of Chicago), Illinois
  • 13,653 posts
Posted by CShaveRR on Friday, July 29, 2016 8:28 PM

I don't think that a decades-old coat of paint that is not spruced up to aesthetic standards of the surroundings can be construed as a bridge being in poor repair.  I'm sure DC's inspectors aren't required to carry paintbrushes.  

While unpainted steel could probably corrode enough to cause problems in the long run, I suspect that these problems take a while to get to the point of failure...but considerably less time to show up at a regular bridge inspection.  Anyone know of any bridge failures caused by structural defects lately (as opposed to washouts, fires, or derailments that happen to involve them)?

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 10,484 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, July 29, 2016 9:06 PM

Carl you just got sucker punched on any bridge failures.  The bridge failure on BNSF's line in the PNW yesterday.  Guess who found the vertical failure ?  A fisherman.. 

  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: Lombard (west of Chicago), Illinois
  • 13,653 posts
Posted by CShaveRR on Saturday, July 30, 2016 9:21 AM

(Shake of the head...guess it happens!)

I remember now the story of a Chicago commuter who spotted a big break in the fairly new box girder on the CTA's connector to the then-fairly-new Dan Ryan line.  

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

  • Member since
    September 2010
  • 2,229 posts
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, July 30, 2016 5:36 PM

CShaveRR
Chicago commuter who spotted a big break in the fairly new box girder on the CTA's connector to the then-fairly-new Dan Ryan line

A Rock Island commuter I believe. 

What failed on the BNSF Pend-Oreilvie Bridge that the fisherman saw?

  • Member since
    September 2010
  • 2,229 posts
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, July 30, 2016 5:38 PM

[quote user="diningcar"]

MC may wish to comment on this, however my experience of 35 years with a major Class 1 was that bridges were inspected once a year and budgets included repairs - repacement or repair as warrented.

What do they inspect on concrete viaducts with spalling concrete?

 

  • Member since
    October 2006
  • From: Allentown, PA
  • 9,810 posts
Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Saturday, July 30, 2016 6:00 PM

CShaveRR
(Shake of the head...guess it happens!)

I remember now the story of a Chicago commuter who spotted a big break in the fairly new box girder on the CTA's connector to the then-fairly-new Dan Ryan line.  

Hernan Solarte (sp ?), who was also a Rock Island bridge engineer, riding on the C&NW, IIRC - or maybe the other way around.  The incident was in Ed King's story about his running the RI's commuter operations in its last days:

"Disaster du jour and other stories - Three years, Manager of Suburban Operations",by KING, ED, from Trains, June 1986, pg. 30 &etc.

- Paul North. 

EDIT: Mr. Solarte was at least riding the RI, if not working for it too. He called his opposite number at CTA and the bridge was closed.  As King related it, the RI's trustee took the position that if the bridge wasn't safe for the CTA to run over it, then it wasn't safe for the RI to run under it. 

The defect was lamellar tearing, resulting from the effect of heat from a cross-brace weld into the web of a main box beam.  It would take pages to explain that. - PDN.

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 10,484 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, July 31, 2016 2:29 AM

It is amazing that there are not more bridge problems around USA.  Many bridges have unique characteristics that have to be considered.  The most difficult would appear to be the ground a bridge is sitting on.  Sediment type ground would especially call for unique work. 

The Brazos river bridge is a good example.  Bridge pier at one end began to sink apparently caused by high water. That pier fixed then the center pier began to sink and now fixed.  Will there be any other sinking ?  Know UP hopes that everything is fixed but they may have installed some kind of elevation monitoring system  ?

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,400 posts
Posted by NDG on Sunday, July 31, 2016 3:15 AM

 

FYI.

Back in '85 we drove down the Spokane International to see the collapsed bridge on the Kootenai River @ Bonners Ferry, Idaho, which had fallen under the North UP/SI drag. The units and a few cars had made it across when the air went.

https://bridgehunter.com/id/boundary/up---kootenai-river/

The present bridge shown was almost complete and rushed into service in about two weeks.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19851220&id=VbkyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Mu8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2889,2633382&hl=en


When we arrived, the crews were using a heavy-duty Diesel Lidgerwood-type winch on skids anchored by three tubular piles driven in on the South shore, the winch playing out a 3-inch wire rope to pull loaded covered hoppers up the bank out of the river, the cable attached to the cars' drawbars.

As mentioned, the old bridge Abutment can be seen in Photo 3, Above.

There was a photo in 'Trains' at the time.

The Plow-equipped F's and the Geeps now long gone. RS1s and the Psgr., too.

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/486706/

http://www.railroads-of-montana.com/C-RS-1-203-looks-a-little-s.gif

http://www.american-rails.com/images/SI2802337.jpg

http://www.train-orders.com/RFN/UPRR/03.jpg

 

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Thank You.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy