Saturday, February 19, 2011

Canada's Longest Railway Bridge

Canada's longest railway bridge is the 5,327-foot Lethbridge viaduct over the Oldman River. One of Canada's shortest is at Mi 178.8 of CN's Kingston Sub, supporting the double-track mainline over a small creek, parallel to Bath Road on Kingston's west side. In June 1992, CN's Bridge & Building forces replaced the steel bridge deck with a pre-cast concrete deck on the existing limestone block culvert. The previous bridge is seen in this March 1981 photo of CN flat car 57590 with ties, Burro crane 50408 , tie cars 60168-60133 and transfer caboose 76555:
Concrete retaining walls were poured into wooden forms above the culvert and backfilled. A Kingston Crane Rentals GROVE crane straddled the track to lift in the concrete bridge spans and components, working on the north track first:
Rather unscientific drawings of old and new bridge decks without ties and rails:
CN hirail and other trucks, and materiel trailers lined Bath Road and had access to the site through private property on the north side via the private road crossing just west of the bridge. A 17-car ballast train had arrived from Belleville to drop ballast along both tracks, working at 1600 May 17. Century 2314 hauled CN 300593-300654-301421-300333-300502-301086 and eleven others working the south track. On June 8, 9639 brought CN 89-foot flat cars 639998-668285-668080 to the site, with new bridge components, and removing the old ones. Trains past the site on the south track included an eastbound freight at 0930, 2402-2403 and 112 cars:
and a westbound LRC consist at 0945, 6902-4 LRC cars-6919:
Later in the day, "air-conditioned" 9639 returned with CN ballast car 302329 and caboose 79437, spreading ballast in various locations at the job site. Sectionmen banged on the side of the car to loosen more ballast.
A pronounced hump (see top photo from south side) was visible under the north track at the bridge. Track machines would tamp and evenly distribute this ballast later. But in the mean time, only hand tools were in use:
At 1547, a 4-car wayfreight headed west on the south track, 4118-4122-gondolas CN 136607-156307-tank car DOCX 23503-covered hopper NAHX 455025, tailed by International Service caboose 78107. That evening, the work train reposed on Queens track KL30. CN ballast car 302210, the three flat cars as listed above (one empty, one with ties and the the steel deck from the north track, and the third with new components for the south track) and ballast car 302329.
The south track bridge was replaced next. Six years later, on January 21, 1998 CN train 307's auto racks trundle over the bridge and past 3 CN hirail trucks sitting on the south track:
On June 10, 1992 an evening of trains at Kingston station:
1935 EB: 6447-5 LRC cars
1955 WB: 6419-3469-3345-3320
2023 WB Laser: 9669-six 5-Paks
2034 EB: 6418-3303-3338-3455
2048 WB: 5320-2025-5338-general freight including B&M, MPA, SP, MEC, TASD 79044, BN 376916, CV 600168 boxcars, PLCX, IC, SLSF, CNW, GTW, BN 462724-462516, TNM 1053, CNW 753536 covered hoppers, CN and BN bulkhead flat cars.

Running extra...

The Lethbridge viaduct over the Oldman River, you say? That Ol' Man River, it just keeps rolling along, sang Paul Robeson in Showboat.

Trackside Treasure's recent reader poll responses indicated that readers return for photos, and to read the blogs of my blog partners. Few if any solely for the blog text (hey, you're reading this stuff) or sidebar features. But the vast majority return for the "whole enchilada".

The Las Cruces NM Enchilada Fiesta celebrated its 30th anniversary this year...a Jeopardy question this week, when IBM's mighty Watson couldn't harness enough of its brain power to remember Toronto (or as we might say, 'Tronna') is not a major American city. Maybe Watson was thinking of Trona, California (Pop. 2, 742), headquarters of the Trona Railway?


jddc.trains said...

Nice post Eric. I've down to Lethbridge on a few occasions and the viaduct is an impressive structure. I remember the first time I saw it, it was a "Wow! Holy C!@#! that's a big bridge!"


Zartok-35 said...

Those little bridges have alot of character, don't they? It's nice to see the SD40-2Ws were migling with the eastern ALCOs in the 1990s.

If you have some stuff from a trip you took to Lethbridge, feel free to throw a post together about it sometime. From a railway standpoint, that place is very cool.

Eric said...

Hi Jason and Elijah, thanks for your comments. Haven't been to Lethbridge, but I have been over the CN bridge at Fabyan. When you can see a whole train up there, it is definitely a !@#! big bridge. The one at Mi 178.8 wouldn't even take a whole car at a time. CN has been working on replacing these bridges in the area, including Counter Street in Kingston, Marysville and others. This is one I was able to photograph easily.