DAILY Post: Former Pennsy Viaduct at Crum Creek.


Unsung Pennsylvania Bridge

 On a recent ride out to Elwyn on a SEPTA suburban train, my brother Sean and I noted several large viaducts on this former Pennsylvania Railroad route.

The Elwyn route is one of several SEPTA lines that has been under threat of closure. The bridges on the route have been reported to be suffering from deferred maintenance which has made them candidates for replacement.

SEPTA's Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
SEPTA’s Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

This bridge piqued our curiosity. So on Monday, January 20, 2014 we decided to investigate the Crum Creek Viaduct which is easily accessed via The Scott Arboretum trails (near Swarthmore College).

An  impressive viaduct, it spans the heavily wooded Crum Creek valley, looming above the tree tops like an ancient relic of another age. It reminded me of Milwaukee Road’s trestles on St Paul Pass in the Bitteroot Mountains of the Idaho panhandle.

This is a double-track tower-supported plate girder viaduct, of the type of construction common to many late-19th and early 20th century railway bridges. It dates to the mid-1890s.

SEPTA's Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
SEPTA’s Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

Photographically, the Crum Creek viaduct presents a challenge. The surrounding trees tend to obscure the bridge. While the most graphic images of the bridge are made near is base, yet working close to the bridge makes it difficult to adequately capture a train crossing the bridge. As we moved further away both train and structure tend to blend with the forest.

Since this bridge is in jeopardy of either replacement or abandonment, I thought it a worthy project to photograph it as functioning infrastructure. I tried panning an outbound train in an effort to show a train on the bridge.

An inbound SEPTA multiple unit rumbles across the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.
An inbound SEPTA multiple unit rumbles across the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Pan of an outbound SEPTA train crossing the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014.
Pan of an outbound SEPTA train crossing the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014.

Crum_Creek_Bridge_SEPTA_Pan_3_IMG_1009

What will become of this bridge? Will it be restored, abandoned or replaced?

Below are some recent links that make references to the viaduct.

See: http://www.ascgroup.net/projects/crum-creek-viaduct-swarthmore-borough-nether-providence-township-delaware-county-pa.html

http://cait.rutgers.edu/system/files/u10/Knueppel_–SEPTA_SGR_Presentation.pdf

www.scottarboretum.org

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See related posts:  Exploring SEPTATake a Ride on the ReadingPhiladelphia’s Reading Terminal Revisited

Interested in railroad bridges? See my book: North American Railroad Bridges

Tomorrow Tracking the Light goes back to 1987! Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

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