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Author Topic: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways  (Read 1458 times)

roadman65

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Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« on: July 16, 2019, 10:23:52 AM »

I noticed after viewing one of Doug Kerr's photos of the NJ Transit Montclair- Boonton Line over I-80 in Wayne, NJ that the bridge needs a bad paint job.

I heard once from my dad that bridges that carry any railroad over any road whether who built the structure is property of the railroad that operates the bridge and not the roads department.  So I assume that its NJ Transit who is lagging on getting that bridge painted and not NJDOT despite NJ built the bridge when I-80 was built despite the now defunct Erie Railway who operated the tracks when I-80 was being constructed never had anything to do with its costs.  I always found it odd, but practical that railroads get to assume ownership of bridges that they never paid for and such, but at the same time they do get stuck with the added burden of maintaining these as well.

So I assume that NJDOT cannot at all touch that structure and even the bridge inspections of it, must be done by NJ Transit and not NJDOT despite NJ Transit is part of NJDOT?  Better yet, all state road departments cannot at all touch railroads, even out west where Union Pacific has crossings over I-80 and a concern arises with the bridge that carries the tracks over a state maintained highway?
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2019, 11:18:09 AM »

I heard once from my dad that bridges that carry any railroad over any road whether who built the structure is property of the railroad that operates the bridge and not the roads department. 

That may be the common situation but I don't think there is any hard and fast rule.

I would depend on the state code, the state DOT policies, and the policies of the particular railroad.
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BrianP

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2019, 11:47:25 AM »

The question of ownership came up over a rusty railroad bridge in Gaithersburg MD.  CSX said we don't own it we transferred it to the county.  The county said we don't own it we transferred it to the state.  The state agreed they owned it but it doesn't seem to be priority to paint it based on looks.  It seems to become a priority if it starts becoming a structural problem. 

Quote
“There’s universal rust, but there are only several random areas of minimal section losses, but there is no doubt it is unattractive,” he said.

SHA plans to include the Quince Orchard Road bridge in the state’s upcoming paint contract, which means it could get its coat of paint in spring 2019, Gischlar said.

Could was the keyword.  This bridge still hasn't been painted and the issue was brought up almost ten years ago.

https://www.mymcmedia.org/decades-old-documents-determine-whos-responsible-for-rusty-bridge/

On the bright side at this rate maybe we'll get a new bridge at some point in the future.  Which that would be advantageous since it can be a longer bridge which would allow the road to be expanded from 4 lanes to 6 lanes. 

On the other hand the bridge does get inspected by CSX.
Quote
Rob Doolittle, the director of communications for CSX, told MyMCMedia on Monday that the bridge over Quince Orchard Road was last inspected in May of 2016 as part of CSX’s comprehensive bridge-management program.
https://www.mymcmedia.org/gaithersburg-mayor-questions-structural-integrity-of-csx-bridge-over-quince-orchard-road/
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sparker

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2019, 04:55:22 PM »

In CA, railroad overpasses are part of Caltrans' bridge inventory; their field numbering (county reference + bridge # within that county) is either stenciled on the bridge or noted via a standard Caltrans black-on-white bridge sign, normally as (name of crossing and/or RR name + UP -- for underpass, not Union Pacific!)   How bridge maintenance is "divvied up" between the agency and the railroad seems to be a contractual matter that varies with the type of bridge (prestressed concrete, girder, truss, or other -- like the UP "arch/tunnel" on EB I-580 near Altamont).  Conversely, Caltrans has long treated their overpasses crossing RR facilities as bridges over private property:  the agency is responsible for the maintenance and overall stability of the bridge as well as anything that comes off it and onto the tracks below; the RR's contribute some $$ to regular maintenance because of the heavy vibrations produced by passing trains -- whether this is on a "sliding scale" dependent upon overall rail traffic is a process the details of which I'm not privy to. 
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2019, 02:36:44 PM »

Here's two:

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.4447821,-80.613304,3a,75y,60.94h,84.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sjQzs3gSiCfvgPG8D6ibDDQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0297387,-79.8867223,3a,75y,140.85h,76.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1GfWlKZsi8Ew-l7T8Npbjw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I'm not sure why they do that. Maybe it's cheaper doing that than have the highway itself bridge over the railroad tracks?
Terrain issues and/or adjacent features are usually the issue in such cases.

Here in central IN, we have one where the L&I R.R. bridges I-465 on the south side of Indianapolis. And northeast of Indy, between Anderson & Muncie there is a railroad overhead (bridge) over I-69 for the CSX dual-track mainline - which badly needs a new coat of paint similar to the situation at the top of this thread. In that particular case, I-69 is descending (NB) to cross over the West Fork of the White River. When this section was designed in the 1960s, the grade of the freeway would've had to have been far too steep to meet Interstate standards if it had to clear these pre-existing railroad tracks. A third example is in Bloomington, where I-69/IN 37 goes under the Indiana Railroad between the exits at Second Street (IN 45) and Third Street (IN 48). This situation pre-dated I-69 here and a design variance had to be obtained for substandard shoulder width to avoid costly modifications for the overhead structure in order to add auxiliary lanes.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2019, 03:03:06 PM »

I noticed after viewing one of Doug Kerr's photos of the NJ Transit Montclair- Boonton Line over I-80 in Wayne, NJ that the bridge needs a bad paint job.

I heard once from my dad that bridges that carry any railroad over any road whether who built the structure is property of the railroad that operates the bridge and not the roads department.  So I assume that its NJ Transit who is lagging on getting that bridge painted and not NJDOT despite NJ built the bridge when I-80 was built despite the now defunct Erie Railway who operated the tracks when I-80 was being constructed never had anything to do with its costs.  I always found it odd, but practical that railroads get to assume ownership of bridges that they never paid for and such, but at the same time they do get stuck with the added burden of maintaining these as well.

So I assume that NJDOT cannot at all touch that structure and even the bridge inspections of it, must be done by NJ Transit and not NJDOT despite NJ Transit is part of NJDOT?  Better yet, all state road departments cannot at all touch railroads, even out west where Union Pacific has crossings over I-80 and a concern arises with the bridge that carries the tracks over a state maintained highway?

Depends who the actual owner of the overpass is.  A quick look at a Wikipedia page mentioned Norfolk Southern, so they may have something to do with it.

Railroads in general have lagged greatly behind painting bridges compared to many state's DOTs.

The question of ownership came up over a rusty railroad bridge in Gaithersburg MD.  CSX said we don't own it we transferred it to the county.  The county said we don't own it we transferred it to the state.  The state agreed they owned it but it doesn't seem to be priority to paint it based on looks.  It seems to become a priority if it starts becoming a structural problem. 

Painting bridges is one of the cheapest ways to prevent problems, and it only needs to be done every 25 years or so.  If the bridge has structural issues, it's way beyond fixable via a relatively inexpensive paint job by that point.

Here's two:

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.4447821,-80.613304,3a,75y,60.94h,84.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sjQzs3gSiCfvgPG8D6ibDDQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0297387,-79.8867223,3a,75y,140.85h,76.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1GfWlKZsi8Ew-l7T8Npbjw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I'm not sure why they do that. Maybe it's cheaper doing that than have the highway itself bridge over the railroad tracks?


Doing what?  It's very common to have railroads over highways. 
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SteveG1988

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2019, 10:25:13 AM »

I noticed after viewing one of Doug Kerr's photos of the NJ Transit Montclair- Boonton Line over I-80 in Wayne, NJ that the bridge needs a bad paint job.

I heard once from my dad that bridges that carry any railroad over any road whether who built the structure is property of the railroad that operates the bridge and not the roads department.  So I assume that its NJ Transit who is lagging on getting that bridge painted and not NJDOT despite NJ built the bridge when I-80 was built despite the now defunct Erie Railway who operated the tracks when I-80 was being constructed never had anything to do with its costs.  I always found it odd, but practical that railroads get to assume ownership of bridges that they never paid for and such, but at the same time they do get stuck with the added burden of maintaining these as well.

So I assume that NJDOT cannot at all touch that structure and even the bridge inspections of it, must be done by NJ Transit and not NJDOT despite NJ Transit is part of NJDOT?  Better yet, all state road departments cannot at all touch railroads, even out west where Union Pacific has crossings over I-80 and a concern arises with the bridge that carries the tracks over a state maintained highway?

Depends who the actual owner of the overpass is.  A quick look at a Wikipedia page mentioned Norfolk Southern, so they may have something to do with it.

Railroads in general have lagged greatly behind painting bridges compared to many state's DOTs.

The question of ownership came up over a rusty railroad bridge in Gaithersburg MD.  CSX said we don't own it we transferred it to the county.  The county said we don't own it we transferred it to the state.  The state agreed they owned it but it doesn't seem to be priority to paint it based on looks.  It seems to become a priority if it starts becoming a structural problem. 

Painting bridges is one of the cheapest ways to prevent problems, and it only needs to be done every 25 years or so.  If the bridge has structural issues, it's way beyond fixable via a relatively inexpensive paint job by that point.

Here's two:

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.4447821,-80.613304,3a,75y,60.94h,84.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sjQzs3gSiCfvgPG8D6ibDDQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0297387,-79.8867223,3a,75y,140.85h,76.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1GfWlKZsi8Ew-l7T8Npbjw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I'm not sure why they do that. Maybe it's cheaper doing that than have the highway itself bridge over the railroad tracks?


Doing what?  It's very common to have railroads over highways. 

It is an older overpass, but it would not suprise me if railroads would use cor-ten steel for them nowadays, so they no longer have to paint. If it's recent enough it could be cor-ten
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thefraze_1020

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 06:50:28 PM »

In CA, railroad overpasses are part of Caltrans' bridge inventory; their field numbering (county reference + bridge # within that county) is either stenciled on the bridge or noted via a standard Caltrans black-on-white bridge sign, normally as (name of crossing and/or RR name + UP -- for underpass, not Union Pacific!)   How bridge maintenance is "divvied up" between the agency and the railroad seems to be a contractual matter that varies with the type of bridge (prestressed concrete, girder, truss, or other -- like the UP "arch/tunnel" on EB I-580 near Altamont).  Conversely, Caltrans has long treated their overpasses crossing RR facilities as bridges over private property:  the agency is responsible for the maintenance and overall stability of the bridge as well as anything that comes off it and onto the tracks below; the RR's contribute some $$ to regular maintenance because of the heavy vibrations produced by passing trains -- whether this is on a "sliding scale" dependent upon overall rail traffic is a process the details of which I'm not privy to.

If you look in WSDOT's bridge log, all railroad bridges in Washington that cross state routes and vice-versa are in the bridge inventory. As for who maintains them, that I do not know. There is an old railroad overpass on I-5 at exit 202 just north of Marysville that has been abandoned for years, but is in the bridge inventory and maintained by the state. Up until last year, it was used as a glorified sign bridge. But with the reconstruction of that interchange, a new ground level BGS was put up northbound. Now, I am not sure if the bridge has any purpose at all anymore. Except to save the money it would cost to demolish it.

https://www.google.com/maps/@48.0970878,-122.1847939,3a,75y,352.9h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVWJlvcIjqgTNxALCs2N-mg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en&authuser=0
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2019, 03:17:44 PM »

What about railroad overpass abandonned or recycled for another use like a bike path where the rail line was removed? There's the former CN overpass of the St-Raymond subdivision who span A-40 in Quebec City. https://goo.gl/maps/Si3HDt7xDcQWqiMF6
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Bruce

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2019, 08:36:00 PM »

In CA, railroad overpasses are part of Caltrans' bridge inventory; their field numbering (county reference + bridge # within that county) is either stenciled on the bridge or noted via a standard Caltrans black-on-white bridge sign, normally as (name of crossing and/or RR name + UP -- for underpass, not Union Pacific!)   How bridge maintenance is "divvied up" between the agency and the railroad seems to be a contractual matter that varies with the type of bridge (prestressed concrete, girder, truss, or other -- like the UP "arch/tunnel" on EB I-580 near Altamont).  Conversely, Caltrans has long treated their overpasses crossing RR facilities as bridges over private property:  the agency is responsible for the maintenance and overall stability of the bridge as well as anything that comes off it and onto the tracks below; the RR's contribute some $$ to regular maintenance because of the heavy vibrations produced by passing trains -- whether this is on a "sliding scale" dependent upon overall rail traffic is a process the details of which I'm not privy to.

If you look in WSDOT's bridge log, all railroad bridges in Washington that cross state routes and vice-versa are in the bridge inventory. As for who maintains them, that I do not know. There is an old railroad overpass on I-5 at exit 202 just north of Marysville that has been abandoned for years, but is in the bridge inventory and maintained by the state. Up until last year, it was used as a glorified sign bridge. But with the reconstruction of that interchange, a new ground level BGS was put up northbound. Now, I am not sure if the bridge has any purpose at all anymore. Except to save the money it would cost to demolish it.

https://www.google.com/maps/@48.0970878,-122.1847939,3a,75y,352.9h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVWJlvcIjqgTNxALCs2N-mg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en&authuser=0

A few years ago, the Tulalips wanted to repurpose that bridge for a streetcar (which would connect the casino and outlet mall to a proposed Amtrak station at 116th) and a bike/pedestrian trail. The latter would be an excellent use, since the reconstructed 116th SPUI is a disaster to cross on foot.

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2019, 09:45:30 PM »

This railroad bridge was built over the original US-60, and when I-64 was built it took over both spans under the bridge.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Clifton+Forge,+VA+24422/@37.8267014,-79.7862249,90m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x884ceb86a706248d:0x849e3377c29bac46!8m2!3d37.816239!4d-79.8244947
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lepidopteran

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2019, 07:16:23 PM »

What about railroad overpass abandoned or recycled for another use like a bike path where the rail line was removed? There's the former CN overpass of the St-Raymond subdivision who span A-40 in Quebec City. https://goo.gl/maps/Si3HDt7xDcQWqiMF6
Lots of those around.  But one unique example is in Toledo, OH.  When a 5-mile section of the Toledo Terminal was abandoned in 2010, the bridge over I-475 was promptly demolished to make way for freeway widening.  But they left the massive center pier intact, and a few years later a bike trail bridge was built -- using that same pier!  Of course the new overpass could not handle a locomotive; hiker-biker trails are typically designed to only carry the weight of bicycles, pedestrians, and an emergency vehicle or two just in case.

This link shows the overpass before, during, and after reconstruction.  Note that a pier cap was added.
https://goo.gl/maps/GKokkucKAqA44KGM6
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D-Dey65

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2019, 01:06:18 AM »

Not a freeway, but in 2012, I captured some images of the LIRR Montauk Branch bridge over Montauk Highway in Sayville, and one of them had the date and the chemicals in the paint that was used for the repainting:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LIRR_Bridge_over_Montauk_Highway;_Sayville_(May_2001_Repainting).JPG

I'm going to guess that the LIRR did that until contrary evidence suggests otherwise.

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2019, 12:06:51 AM »

What about railroad overpass abandoned or recycled for another use like a bike path where the rail line was removed? There's the former CN overpass of the St-Raymond subdivision who span A-40 in Quebec City. https://goo.gl/maps/Si3HDt7xDcQWqiMF6
Lots of those around.  But one unique example is in Toledo, OH.  When a 5-mile section of the Toledo Terminal was abandoned in 2010, the bridge over I-475 was promptly demolished to make way for freeway widening.  But they left the massive center pier intact, and a few years later a bike trail bridge was built -- using that same pier!  Of course the new overpass could not handle a locomotive; hiker-biker trails are typically designed to only carry the weight of bicycles, pedestrians, and an emergency vehicle or two just in case.

This link shows the overpass before, during, and after reconstruction.  Note that a pier cap was added.
https://goo.gl/maps/GKokkucKAqA44KGM6

The Lake Washington Beltline railroad through Bellevue had to be abandoned when I-405 was widened a few years ago, and BNSF opted not to have a new overpass rebuilt.  This was the Wilburton Tunnel, where the line crossed over the southbound lanes of the freeway at such an angle that it made sense to create an artificial tunnel.  When the crossing was demolished, and pro-transit advocates bemoaned the fact that a potentially useful rail line was lost forever, anti-transit wags said, "Well, they're gonna have to build a bridge for the trail anyway, so why not turn that into a train bridge?"  No, the trail bridge will likely follow the freeway lanes for a bit, cut directly across the freeway, then follow the lanes some more before resuming the old rail grade.  Besides this, building a bike/ped bridge to railroad weight standards is not going to happen.  Google satellite view.
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D-Dey65

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2019, 10:45:24 AM »

Art Huneke's website has a page on the construction of the Van Wyck and Long Island Expressways and the railroad bridges that passed over both roads:

Quote
ON SATURDAY AUGUST 25 AND SUNDAY AUGUST 26, 2007, LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD PASSENGERS WERE BEING TRANSFERRED TO BUSES BETWEEN MINEOLA AND HICKSVILLE.   RONKONKOMA TRAINS WERE OPERATING VIA THE MONTAUK BRANCH AND THE CENTRAL BRANCH REQUIRING A REVERSE MOVE - AND PROBABLY A SECOND ENGINEER AT BABYLON AND AT BETHPAGE JUNCTION.   WHY?   BECAUSE A BRIDGE WAS BEING ROLLED INTO PLACE BENEATH THE TRACKS AT ROSLYN ROAD MINEOLA.

AIN'T THE WAY IT WAS DONE FIFTY OR SO YEARS AGO.

http://arrts-arrchives.com/LI1950Bridges.html

Admittedly, I'm not entirely sure the old way was better, although I'd like to think it was.
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2019, 03:15:23 AM »

There is a railroad overpass over Interstate 74 in the Danville/Tilton area in Illinois: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1050843,-87.6386456,3a,75y,278.07h,90.3t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1siyGKNa3TFpGNy-3skUG81g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

That particular railroad overpass is very close to a tight cloverleaf interchange with US-150/IL-1.
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2019, 12:40:52 PM »

There's this one over I-84 in Manchester.  Its a spur for the CSOR.  It serves a lumber yard and some sort of other facility.

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.7951124,-72.5598079,279m/data=!3m1!1e3

Former CONRAIL, now CSX, over I-90, East Chatham, NY
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4105993,-73.5348032,3a,89.3y,303.44h,88.4t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_GwD80C4oj4KCtMw_05Ppg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2019, 07:03:44 PM »

This bridge at Echo, Utah carried the UP Park City branch, which split from the UP mainline at Echo and ran southwest to...you guessed it, Park City. That line was abandoned in the late 1980s and is now an unpaved rail trail. However, the bridge is completely closed off, with barbed wire fences at both ends.

There is currently some major construction going on in that area which will replace the bridge from eastbound 80 to westbound 84, but the old railroad bridge is unaffected by that project. It looks like it could maybe use some maintenance if the railroad wants to keep it up for much longer. I'm not really sure why they're holding onto it in the first place -- do they really think Park City is going to start mining silver again in the future?
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2019, 08:20:34 PM »

Real estate is always worth holding onto...until you get the right price.
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2019, 02:18:23 PM »

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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2019, 11:18:44 PM »

This is at Newton, MS. This is Watco's former Midsouth Rail Corp. (exx ICG, nee GM&O) line that runs north to Philadelphia, Ackerman, Aberdeen, and points north. Note the old telegraph line holders on the side of the bridge. This was still a thing in the 60s? Apparently so.
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Re: Railroad Overpasses on Freeways
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2019, 02:04:03 AM »

This is at Newton, MS. This is Watco's former Midsouth Rail Corp. (exx ICG, nee GM&O) line that runs north to Philadelphia, Ackerman, Aberdeen, and points north. Note the old telegraph line holders on the side of the bridge. This was still a thing in the 60s? Apparently so.

While the old telegraph-based railroad communication system was effectively gone by the '60's save for some isolated short lines, the equipment that carried those original lines was often repurposed for the purpose of supplying power to the "repeaters" periodically placed alongside the tracks for wireless communications.  The old SP's wireless/repeater system consisted of trackside aluminum sheds with "dish" antennae, 2 per installation, pointed up and down the tracks. One of these received the signal, re-amplified it within the structure, and sent it out through the antenna pointed in the other direction.  Since the amplification and transmitting equipment required AC power, the old lineside telegraph system carried the power supply for these; SP's accounting department didn't want to deal with electric bills from multiple suppliers (this was before PG&E and SoCal Electric acquired most of the independent suppliers within that state), so they chose a designated supplier within their regions and simply ran their lines down the tracks to where that supplier's trunk lines were located.  A few of these installations remain on some former SP divisions within the UP network, including the old Coast Line through Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo; but now the electronic equipment is mostly solar-powered via panels on the roofs of the wayside buildings.   
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