The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge carries CSX over the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland.
After being prohibited from using the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad’s crossing over the Susquehanna River after that line had been taken over by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) was forced to construct a bridge that it could wholly own and operate. The original 6,316-foot, single-track bridge was completed in 1886 1 and comprised of twelve 250-foot timber Howe trusses with a shorter deck truss in the center. 3
Heavier locomotives and cars necessitated the B&O to finance the construction of a new crossing of the Susquehanna. In May 1907, the railroad awarded the contract for the construction of the superstructure of a new river bridge to the American Bridge Company. 1 A substructure contract was awarded in July to Eyre-Shoemaker Inc. of Philadelphia. Work was underseen by D. D. Carothers, chief engineer, J.E. Greiner, assistant chief engineer, and A. M. Kinsman, engineer of construction.
To expedite construction, an old single-track span was torn out the old piece-by-piece as the new girders were installed and as the piers were widened or built. 2 The new crossing differed from the original with twice as many spans in the west channel, and additional piers on Watson’s Island to carry 90-foot-long deck girders. 1 To facilitate the work, a traveler 100-feet-high was built that allowed for the girders to be installed or removed. 2
Work was progressing swiftly until a loaded coal train sank collapsed a 377-foot span on September 23, 1908. 2 The loss was estimated at $300,000. Miraculously, no lives were lost considering that just minutes prior, a New York & St. Louis express passenger train had passed over the crossing. Under no delay, the B&O arranged to carry out its schedules by switching to the tracks of the PRR to cross the Susquehanna.
The new Susquehanna River bridge opened to through traffic on January 6, 1910. Completed at the cost of $2 million, it measured 7,000 feet in length and was the longest on the B&O. 1 2
- State: Maryland
- Route: CSX
- Type: Pennsylvania Through Truss
- Status: Active - Railroad
- Total Length: 6,109 feet
- Main Span Length: 520 feet
- 400 foot secondary span length
- “New Bridge of Baltimore & Ohio at Havre de Grace, MD.” Railway Age, 19 Jul. 1907, p. 77.
- McClung, Littell. “Big Bridge Falls into the Susquehanna.” Technical World Magazine, Dec. 1908, pp. 406-410.
- Hawley, Monica E. “Baltimore & Ohio Railroad: Susquehanna Railroad Bridge Spanning the Susquehanna River.” Historic American Engineering Record, 1984.