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CSX Railroad Bridge (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge)

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Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge
1909–1910, A. W. Thompson, chief engineer. Over Brandywine Creek, south of Augustine Cut Off
  • CSX Railroad Bridge (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge)

Nationwide growth in railroading in the 1890s triggered, paradoxically, a revival of an ancient architectural type: the heavy masonry bridge, of which this is an awesome example (650 feet long, 115 feet high). Built by contractors C. A. Sims and Company of Baltimore, it supplanted the old Augustine Bridge just upstream and cut running time between Washington and New York by five minutes, its massiveness allowing trains to cross it safely at high speeds. There are seven arches in all, three of them of 100-foot span. Considerable concrete was used for foundations and for the core of the structure, which is faced with stone, half of which is buff sandstone from Berea, Ohio. Construction took only fourteen months, and just one workman was killed, by a falling bolt. The bridge remains in constant use by CSX Corporation trains today.

This scenic locale features three bridges close together. Augustine Bridge (1883–1885) stands to the north, originally a pin-connected Pratt-type deck truss nearly 1,000 feet long and 110 feet high that was converted to automobile use in 1920. Its rusted steel superstructure was entirely replaced in 1980, atop the original piers of blue rock from Brandywine Granite Quarry (BR24). Downstream is the diminutive Wire or Swinging Bridge (1910, restored 1975), a suspension span that gave workers access to Augustine Mills (BR21). Popular with Sunday strollers, it originally stood 100 feet further upstream until displaced by the B&O Bridge. Its form calls to mind a much earlier suspension span on the river, the short-lived but historic chain bridge at Market Street (1810). On the east bank stands the modernist W. Compton Mills Pumping Station (1959).

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard
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Citation

W. Barksdale Maynard, "CSX Railroad Bridge (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge)", [Wilmington, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DE-01-WL62.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 125-126.

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