Saturday, March 31, 2012

Railroad Bridge Safety

The bridges on the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg line are old.

They are older than highway bridges.

What about railroad bridge safety?

Railroad bridge safety is regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration (See:

A railroad without a bridge is a railroad company without revenue. The railroad industry inspects and maintains its bridges knowing that a functioning bridge is a profitable bridge.

Railroad bridge dynamic loads are substantial. But, they have not for a half a century had to endure the assault of heavy rotational forces created by steam locomotives. Railroad bridges do not have the same harmonic energy and vibration inherent to concrete road surfaces. Railroad bridges are not subjected to corrosive salt.

But for the collapse of the South Fork Fishing Club dam in 1889, the 1834 Mineral Point bridge would still be in service.

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