Norwalk River Railroad Bridge

Norwalk, Connecticut

South side of bridge Amtrak/Metro North over Norwalk River Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

This bridge was built in 1896 as part of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad's massive re-building of its New York to New Haven main line. Then as now, this was one of the busiest rail corridors in the nation, and to handle the growing traffic, the railroad doubled its carrying capacity from two tracks to four. At the same time, the railroad eliminated almost all grade crossings and straightened out many curves. A further improvement occurred in 1907 when the line was electrified with overhead catenary wires.

The bridge was designed by the railroad's own engineers so bears little resemblance to other Berlin Iron Bridge Company products. The swing span and the three approach spans are all double-intersection Warren deck trusses, a standard type of truss, especially in railroad construction, where a great deal of strength was required. The bridge's riveted connections also were standard railroad practice for the period, since they made the bridge more rigid than pinned connections. The bridge's swing span, rotating on a rim-bearing system of 96 rollers, allows tall vessels to pass on the Norwalk River.

The New Haven Railroad contracted with several different bridge fabricators for all the new bridges that were needed because of the widening to four tracks. This bridge and its neighbor to the west in South Norwalk, along with several other smaller bridges, were supplied by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company.


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