Bridge - Pennsylvania Railroad

Route 75
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PARTIALLY COMPLETED BRIDGE WITH WORKERS - This photo shows workers during the construction phase of the railroad bridge at Port Royal in 1909-10.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/5/09 - Image Year: 1909

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The railroad bridge was constructed in 1909-10 as a means of crossing the four main lines of the Middle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Prior to the completion of the bridge, traffic was required to cross the tracks at a Milford Street Crossing. The Railroad Bridge eliminated the risk of a collision between vehicular and train traffic. The bridge came as motorized vehicles were becoming very popular and the protection against accidents was very much in demand.

The following paragraph is taken from: Historicbridges.org

"The one-span, 87'-long, reinforced concrete arch bridge is supported on concrete abutments with paneled pilasters at the corners. The bridge has concrete parapets and paneled spandrel walls to accent the arch. The date "1910" is inscribed at the crown. As part of the extension of the viaduct in 1937, the parapets and posts over the east wingwalls were removed. The arch bridge is historically significant in association with the PRR Main Line. It dates from a period when the PRR concentrated on eliminating dangerous at-grade crossings in cities and towns. The bridge is complete except for the loss of two sections of parapet over the east wingwalls. Although not individually distinguished, it contributes to the historic railroad line."

This railroad bridge didn't connect directly to the Juniata River Bridge until the current steel structure was build in 1937. From 1910 until 1937, traffic would enter the railroad bridge from Market Street, proceed down to First (Water) Street and then enter the covered bridge to cross the river. This traffic pattern was altered significantly with the construction of the current river bridge in 1937.

Because of the direct link between the two, it may be common for people to think of the two bridges as a single unit, but their history suggests otherwise.

The following information is taken from an article by Jane Cannon Mort in the Fall 2021 edition of "JUNIATA JOTTINGS" that focuses on replacement of the 1910 edition of the bridge.

As for the construction of the 1910 overpass, it appears that planning had begun at least as early as 1906, when a local newspaper article, published on May 9 that year, reported: "At the regular monthly meeting of the Borough Council on Monday night, Pennsylvania Railroad offcials were present and submitted plans for the erection of an overhead bridge crossing their track at the foot of Market Street and extending west to Milford Street, where the grade will come to a level with the road leading from the river bridge."

The article further explains: "it is the aim of the company to abolish all grade crossings and just as soon as this could be done at this place, the new depot would be built.

"This structure will be erected about the center of the plot owned by the company on Second Street, and plans for the same have already been made."

A later article, published in the Port Royal Times on Dec. 1, 1909, provides an update on the planning process: "Work Will Soon Be Started on the Overhead Bridge," the headline states. "Every indicator now points to the early erection of the overhead bridge at the foot of Market Street," the article begins. "Supt. C. A. Preston was in Port Royal on Wednesday of last week, looking over the ground, and gave out the report that work would be started within a month.

"Men were at work the latter part of last week removing the sod from the company's ground near the railroad, and at the same time the bridge is being erected, a new depot will be put up. "The Railroad Company (PRR) now has all the land necessary for erection of the bridge between Market and Milford streets on the east side of the PRR, having recently purchased W. S Musser's lot. "It is reported that the new bridge will be made of concrete."

"More tracks made for more trips," Professor George Pierson writes. "The local paper noted (2/28/1906) that in the previous 24 hours, 164 trains had passed through Port Royal, hauling 8,132 cars. That translates into an average of one train every nine minutes with an average train length of 50 cars!

"The paper opined that with so many trains, Port Royal's grade crossings were increasingly dangerous to cross, especially with westbound trains rounding the curve over Tuscarora Creek Bridge at high speeds. A horse and buggy crossing Market Street or Milford Street at grade had little warning. Something needed to be done." The railroad agreed and work began on the bridge that would carry Market Street over the four-track line of the PRR.

At the time the truss bridge was built, the northeastern end of the railroad overpass was reconfigured and raised up, then attached to the truss bridge via a steel stringer span, according to the website www.histoiicbridgesorg. "There are very few surviving bridges that contain such an intersection right in the middle of the bridge," the website states.

Years before, when construction of the overpass began, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and Port Royal Borough amended the original plans that had been set forth in an ordinance adopted by the town council in 1907. That ordinance called for "a steel bridge to cross the tracks of the Pennsylvania railroad diagonally from the intersection of Second and Market streets."

The amendment, proposed in February 1910, called for "a concrete bridge to cross the tracks in a line with Market Street and at the same time the borough vacates 29 feet of said street between Second and Water streets," according to an article in the Feb. 23, 1910, edition of the Port Royal Times.

"There was a goodly representation of the citizens present at the meeting, and a number of protests were made regarding the vacating of Market Street," the article states. But, the article states, the original ordinance "provides for any damage that may result from the building of the bridge, and in view of this fact and after considerable discussion, the amendment was passed."

At the meeting, Supt. Preston reported that "the erection of the new bridge would cost the company about $54,000, and that the structure would be the only one of its kind between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and would be similar to the new concrete bridge at Harrisburg."

By March 1910, construction was underway for the new depot, situated along the tracks at the foot of the overpass. Today, there remains only a crumbling wall and long-abandoned steps leading from Second Street to nowhere.

"The company is putting up a cement wall the entire length of their plot between Milford and Market streets, and when completed, will make a fine background for the new building," the Port Royal Times reported on March 16, 1910. "Work on the erection of the overhead bridge will be started just as soon as proper arrangements can be made."

By the April 13, 1910, edition of the newspaper, those "proper arrangements" had apparently been made. "The work for the erection of the overhead bridge is being pushed as rapidly as possible, but the company has experienced considerable trouble in getting a solid foundation for the abutment of the bridge," the newspaper reported. "On the west side of the tracks it has been necessary to dig a depth of 25 feet before a suitable foundation could be found, at this depth they struck solid rock."

Work on the bridge appears to have progressed rapidly after that. An article published in the May 18, 1910, edition of the Port Royal Times, says, "The Pennsylvania Railroad Company placed the large girders over their tracks at this place on Sunday morning, preparatory
to laying the concrete for the new bridge.

"Many of our citizens contemplated witnessing the placing of those large girders, but they were in position before 7 o'clock a.m."

Work on the bridge and depot continued through the fall, and by Nov. 28, 1910, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported, "The Pennsylvania Railroad Company has a force of men putting the finishing touches to the new station and bridge at Port Royal, with the hope of opening it
by the latter part of November."

If you copy and insert the address below into your browser you can see an AMTRACK train go under the 1910 edition of the railroad bridge and proceed north toward Mifflin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNWYJC8HF-E&feature=related

Photos & Additional Comments

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Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/5/09 - Image Year: 1910
WORK CREWS - This photo shows construction workers at the site of the Port Royal RAILROAD BRIDGE and STATION. Work on the bridge may have been completed but the stations were still under construction. Although the bridge could not have been open long when the picture was taken, the soot from the coal fired steam engines had already left its marks on the bridge. The Milford St. crossing of the tracks is in the foreground of the picture.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/11/09 - Image Year: 1911
MILFORD CROSSING - Picture was taken at the same time as the previous picture but from a different direction. It shows the Milford St. crossing over the tracks still in place despite the completion of the railroad bridge. Everyone crossing the old wooden bridge over the Juniata River had to go in front of the Pomeroy houses, get the "okay" from the railroad watchman on duty, and pass directly over the tracks at the Milford Street crossing. (The other crossings were at Main and Market Sts.)
Contributed by ray on 8/26/19 - Image Year: 1911
BRIDGE JUST COMPLETED - Note that there are sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The right side does not yet have the safety wall along the sidewalk, nor the ivy growing on the side that will appear in the next photo. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/5/09 - Image Year: 1913
ENTERING THE BRIDGE FROM MARKET STREET - It appears that the street had not yet received an asphalt surface. Upon completion of the bridge, the following notice apeared: A rule was granted on the Supervisors of Roads of Milford Twp. to show cause why Milford Street, on the north line of Port Royal Borough, should not be vacated and closed to public traffic travel where it crosses the Penna. RR, an overhead bridge having been built at Market St. (2-16-1911)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 3/2/13 - Image Year: 1920
VIEW LOOKING NORTH FROM THE BRIDGE: This photo shows a view of the PRR tracks looking north from atop the Railroad Bridge. Hotel Royal is on the far left, with Wisehaupt & Sons Grain Mill is in the center left. The Milford Street Crossing for vehicles has been removed and the crossing now is limited to pedestrian traffic. A portion of the RAILROAD HOUSE is visible on the right. (Photo submitted by Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 2/27/13 - Image Year: 1920
VIEW LOOKING NORTH FROM THE BRIDGE: This photo shows a view of the PRR tracks looking north from atop the Railroad Bridge. The Wisehaupt & Sons Grain Mill is in the foreground. The Milford Street Crossing for vehicles has been removed and the crossing now is limited to pedestrian traffic. It appears that someone is ready to load or unload a parcel near the Port Royal station. The corner of the roof of the station is visible on the left side of the photo. (Photo submitted by Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 11/18/09 - Image Year: 1914
VIEW LOOKING SOUTH FROM THE BRIDGE: This Morrow post card was taken from the Railroad Bridge looking south as a westbound PRR freight train approaches Port Royal. The white pillar in the lower left is a cast iron PRR milepost and this one is MP 151 – 151 miles west of the old PRR Broad Street station in Philadelphia. (Photo submitted by Professor George N. Pierson.)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/5/09 - Image Year: 1915
This photo was taken from near the Hotel Royal on Second Street. From the size of the trees, it appears that the bridge had not been completed more than a few years earlier. Directly behind the bridge is a building that at the time housed the A&P Grocery Store. The stairs in the picture lead from the bridge to the PRR station. The corner of the station roof is visible in the very left of the photo.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/5/09 - Image Year: 1936
This photo clearly illustrates the convoluted path that traffic had to follow to get across the Juniata River after the Railroad Bridge was opened and before the covered river bridge was washed away by the 1936 Flood. The water had receded some by the time the photo was taken. At its height the houses on Water Street were partially under water as can be seen in one of the POMEROY HOUSES photos.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 8/26/19 - Image Year: 1914
ROUTE 75 TO COVERED RIVER BRIDGE - Photo of the hill and curve that leads from the Railroad Bridge to the Covered River Bridge. This hill also serves to connect First (Water) Street to other parts of the town. The roof of the Westbound Station is visible just around the curve and the A&P building above it. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by ray on 8/26/19 - Image Year: 1915
APPROACHING THE HILL THAT LEADS FROM THE COVERED RIVER BRIDGE TO THE RAILROAD BRIDGE - The photographer for this photo was standing in front of the POMEROY HOUSES. Directly ahead in the photo is the closed MILFORD STREET CROSSING of the PRR tracks. The end of the RAILROAD HOUSE is visible next to the crossing road, with the WISWHAUPT GRAIN ELEVATOR behind it. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by ray on 8/26/19 - Image Year: 1940
EXIT RAMP FROM THE BRIDGE - This photo shows an empty coal train traveling westward past the WEST PEDESTRIAN SHELTER and the EXIT RAMP from the Railroad Bridge to First Street. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 5/9/10 - Image Year: 1959
This is an August 1959 photo of the bridge. The weeds near the station suggest that it was no longer in use. It looks like the westbound passenger shelter has been torn down. Trains no longer stopped at Port Royal after the early 1950's. (Photo by Paul Wilson, from PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD FACILITIES IN COLOR: VOL. 8, by Robert J. Yanosey (Morning Sun Books: 2010); used by permission of the publisher.)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 11/18/09 - Image Year: 1985
This photo was taken looking southeast as a CONRAIL freight train headed westbound under the Railroad Bridge in Port Royal. The PRR tracks were reduced from four to three around 1955. When this photo was taken in 1985, the former #1 eastbound track was in the process of being removed. The signal at the right is “1511E,” meaning 151.1 miles west of the long-gone PRR Broad St. Station in Philadelphia; the “E” stands for “eastbound.” (Submitted by Professor George N. Pierson.)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 11/18/09 - Image Year: 1985
Same train as the previous photo, looking north from Port Royal. It is unusual to see 8 diesel locomotives (all from GE) on the same train. The building at the far left is the former Wisehaupt grain elevator, then part of the Annlick Farm Supply complex. The siding just to the right served the former grain elevator and the former PRR freight house just beyond it. The red derail clamped to one rail, indicates that this former #1 eastbound track is out of service and soon to be removed.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 11/30/09 - Image Year: 2005
Train heading west goes under the bridge at night.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/11/09 - Image Year: 2008
Train goes under the Port Royal Railroad Bridge. The 1910 date is clearly legible on the bridge surface.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/5/09 - Image Year: 2009
This photo was taken in the Spring of 2009 and shows the entrance to the Railroad Bridge from the base of Market Street.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 11/17/12 - Image Year: 2009
Norfolk Southern NS 9704, 7573 train passes under the railroad bridge at Port Royal PA, Oct 2009.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 9/9/09 - Image Year: 2009
A school bus crosses the Railroad Bridge in the Spring of 2009. This picture was taken from Main Street where it abuts the railroad property.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 7/21/11 - Image Year: 2010
The Railroad Bridge as it appeared in the Winter of 2010.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 3/3/13 - Image Year: 1950
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP: Road from the Railroad Bridge to First (Water) Street. A coal train is passing by the station. (Photo submitted by Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by ray on 8/26/19 - Image Year: 1938
RAILROAD BRIDGE HILL TO FIRST STREET - Thus photo shows an empty coal train traveling westward past the WEST PASSENGER PAVILION and the exit ramp down to First (Water) Street. Since the STEEL RIVER BRIDGE is in place, the photo must have been taken after 1937. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 3/19/17 - Image Year: 2000
ARIAL VIEW: This view shows the Railroad Bridge Ramp that connects the bridge with First (Water) Street. Believe that the photo was taken before the ramp was reconditioned.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 8/26/11 - Image Year: 2011
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP: Work has begun on remaking the hill that leads from the bridge to First "Water" Street. It appears that the incline to the bridge will not be as steep as the previous incline that was created when the bridge was constructed in 1910.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 7/1/12 - Image Year: 2012
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP: Work progresses on remaking the hill that leads from the bridge to First "Water" Street. It appears that the ramp to the bridge will be wider and to the right of the previous incline that was created when the bridge was constructed in 1910. (Photo submitted by Jonathan Wert)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 7/2/12 - Image Year: 2012
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP: Work progresses on remaking the hill that leads from the bridge to First "Water" Street. (Photo submitted by Jonathan Wert)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 12/27/16 - Image Year: 2016
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP: Work completed on remaking the ramp that leads from the bridge to First "Water" Street. Photo taken from the area of the former Hotel Royal. (Photo submitted by Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 5/30/17 - Image Year: 2016
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP UPON COMPLETION: The roof of the Hotel Royal can be seen in the bottom right of the photo.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 10/8/17 - Image Year: 2016
RAILROAD BRIDGE RAMP UPON COMPLETION: Aerial view. The western end of the Juniata River Bridge is on the left of the photo.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 8/30/19 - Image Year: 2016
RETAINING WALL for REFURBISHED BRIDGE RAMP - The refurbished bridge ramp has been completed and this photo shows the retaining wall at the bottom curve. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)
Contributed by rkohler3 on 8/30/19 - Image Year: 2016
VIEW FROM THE EAST - View of the RAILROAD BRIDGE with the ramp retaining wall in the background. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Taylor)



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