CT Railbridge Status Discussed at 2014 Amtrak Boaters Meeting

CT Railbridge Status Discussed at 2014 Amtrak Boaters Meeting
Niantic Railroad Bridge, photo, New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

On Thursday, June 5, Amtrak held its annual boaters meeting in New London, CT, during which it reported on present operations, future plans, and addressed questions from the audience.

According to Amtrak, all of the movable bridges in Southeastern Connecticut are currently operating in good condition.  Amtrak has been making an effort to be more pro-active in the maintenance department by trying to identify replacement items well ahead of time, and procure and (if possible) replace them before they fail. System-wide, the operating cabs of each of the 5 movable bridges now have 24″ computer monitors that display the location of each train on the system and have the capability of station passage time so the bridge operators have a better sense of timing when considering openings.

Here’s the status of the individual bridges:

Mystic: Mechanical replacements (pinions, new electric motors for the center wedges, clutches, and linkages) are planned for over the winter.

Thames: Amtrak is in the process of a bridge deck tie and timber replacement program on either side of the lift span. Ties and timbers are being manufactured this summer for winter replacement.

Shaw’s Cove: Amtrak has put a substantial amount of capital investment into the mechanical operation of this bridge (wedges resurfaced, replacement program for bronze bushings showing signs of wear). Replacing the fender system is presently being discussed, and temporary timber repairs may be necessary depending on when the replacement can be completed.

Niantic: Replaced 2 years ago, this bridge is working fine, is faster than ever, with a safer, wider channel for vessels. Amtrak is continuing to address little “new construction bugs”.

Connecticut River: Also known as Old Lyme Draw, this bridge is receiving general maintenance after having new drives installed. It is in good condition and working as expected for a bridge built in 1907. Amtrak anticipates another 3 – 5 years before construction of a new bridge.