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  1. #141
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    I am sure I take far more risk walking along highways with traffic going 50-60 mph while some fools text and drive. How about putting the walkway back on bridge and install a light or horn that goes off when the train is within 5 mins of the bridge. That gives you time to hustle across if you are concerned.

  2. #142

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    If the train only comes through at 3 AM, not much chance of anyone out there. That's what time this happened, right?
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  3. #143

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    Trains also pass on that track during the day. I've seen at least one go by while I was on MD Heights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    A little research (without links) while just killin' time. The track that the derailment occurred on is a dead ended 30+ mile secondary line that serves grain customer(s) in Winchester, VA area. Typically the railroad hauls 50 to 65 loaded grain cars there, then hauls the empties back out. It isn't a heavily used line. The curve radius at the bridge approach is somewhere between 300 and 330 feet. It meets the absolute minimum radius (288 ft) for North American rail lines but not on lines for general service. The minimum radius for general service is 410 ft. The preferred minimum on freight main lines is 574 ft.It's an old bridge (1894), and an old rail system - with sharp curves at the bridge approach that wouldn't likely be built today. Speed and tractive effort/force need to be carefully controlled on short radius curves, which is one of the theories regarding why this accident happened. Short radius curves also have increased rail maintenance and failure issues due to the force of train wheels pushing against the sides of the rails as they go around the curve.

    Given that the track right next to the walkway is so infrequently used, it would seem that one possible choice that would both increase safety and expedite resolving the break in the AT footpath would be to rebuild the pedestrian bridge but simply prohibit people from being on it for the few minutes while a train was crossing. Nothing wrong with keeping moving trains and people away from each other.
    I think that bridge is also used for amtrak and the commuter lines to DC

  5. #145
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    What we need is some guy named Harper to bring his ferry back!

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by AegisIII View Post
    Trains also pass on that track during the day. I've seen at least one go by while I was on MD Heights.
    Very possibly. Based upon discussions on the cs.trains.com forum, that line is only used for freight (predominantly grain) to customer(s) in Winchester.

    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I think that bridge is also used for amtrak and the commuter lines to DC
    There are two bridges in close proximity there. The Amtrak and commuter trains use the bridge north of the one in question, and go to the HF Train Station and beyond. There are two sets of rails on the south bridge that the AT passes over. The north set of rails ends (abandoned) at the old armory just after it crosses into HF. The south set of rails turns sharply after leaving the bridge and that secondary line goes towards Winchester.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Just found out Google Earth street view lets you walk across the bridge This confirmed that there are stone pillers for a bridge which used to cross the river, just off to the side of the current tracks. Two of which are still intact and two which are gone. I was pretty sure I had noticed them when I crossed last year. Rather then repair the current walkway, maybe it would be better to build a new foot bridge on the old pillers. These likely date to before the Civil war, so could be of historical significant to restore. But then, it did cost a million dollars to covert an existing RR bridge into a foot path over the James River in VA.
    A little more research from the structure magazine finds - Those are the remains of the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge orginally built in 1839. A Bollman style Bridge, was erected in 1852, blew up by the Confederates in 1861, it was rebuilt and destroyed several times by both sides during the Civil War. In 1868 it was entirely rebuilt using Bollman iron trusses. Then finally destroyed by the flood of 1936.

    Harper’s Ferry Bridge post 1868 from Maryland side, C&O Canal in foreground.


    The flood of 1936. Showing the Bollman bridge gone, and the 2 remaining bridges weighted down with coal cars to help keep them in place. At the time of the flood the bridge was being used as toll bridge for wagons and vehicles.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

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    .... and this just in from the Harper's Weekly July 6, 1861.

    harpersferry1861-07article.jpg
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

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    All super cool and interesting history!

    I would fall over from a heart attack if any sort of repair is anywhere close to being soon enough for this main hiking season.

    So, I'm still very curious as to what any temporary solution will be.

    And I'm also still unclear as to whether one can reasonably safely walk across that existing hwy 340 traffic bridge to the east; from google aerial shots and the one posted below (post 42), it sure looks safe enough, but I'm probably naive on this.

  10. #150

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    ...snip, snip...
    And I'm also still unclear as to whether one can reasonably safely walk across that existing hwy 340 traffic bridge to the east; from google aerial shots and the one posted below (post 42), it sure looks safe enough, but I'm probably naive on this.
    Having driven hwy 340 both ways over that bridge many times, I wouldn't be walking it. Not nearly enough room on the shoulders.

    Scott

  11. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    And I'm also still unclear as to whether one can reasonably safely walk across that existing hwy 340 traffic bridge to the east; from google aerial shots and the one posted below (post 42), it sure looks safe enough, but I'm probably naive on this.


    from the ATC website---
    A.T. hikers with immediate need for transport between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Weverton Road, Maryland should arrange for shuttles. Hikers are not advised to walk on Highway 340 to cross into Maryland, as this roadway has narrow shoulders and heavy traffic. Information about available transportation options can be found at appalachiantrail.org/transportation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    from the ATC website---
    A.T. hikers with immediate need for transport between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Weverton Road, Maryland should arrange for shuttles. Hikers are not advised to walk on Highway 340 to cross into Maryland, as this roadway has narrow shoulders and heavy traffic. Information about available transportation options can be found at appalachiantrail.org/transportation.
    not advised to walk = advised not to walk?

  13. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    not advised to walk = advised not to walk?
    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    from the ATC website---
    A.T. hikers with immediate need for transport between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Weverton Road, Maryland should arrange for shuttles. Hikers are not advised to walk on Highway 340 to cross into Maryland, as this roadway has narrow shoulders and heavy traffic. Information about available transportation options can be found at appalachiantrail.org/transportation.
    Quote Originally Posted by bbikebbs View Post
    Having driven hwy 340 both ways over that bridge many times, I wouldn't be walking it. Not nearly enough room on the shoulders.

    Scott
    Yes, yes, yes, of course, we've already heard the official ATC position, and I'm not really knocking it, it's probably wise. I'm asking: Has anyone looked at crossing the bridge with their own eyes, not driving but walking, like has anyone stood at one end of the 340 bridge and looked across it and formed an opinion on the safety of crossing it? I'm just curious. Are those concrete barriers in place or are they not?

    If anyone wants to hike a continuous line from Springer to Katahdin, it doesn't seem like there are any other choices other than the ATC shuttle, which would work for me, no problem, but some others' "thru hiking ethics" might have issues.

    YES, I know the canoe across the Kennebec is not hiking, but at least it's in line with the existing trail and has been in place for a long time. IS a raft ferry across one of those two rivers near HF feasible?

  14. #154

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    Two words : Zip Line.
    That would be fun

    You take your life in your hands crossing the Palisades Parkway in NY. Four lanes of bumper to bumper traffic moving at 70 MPH.

    I suppose if you waited for a break in traffic and sprinted, you might be okay. Time of day would be a big factor. You'd think if two cars approached you from different directions, one would slow down until one of them passed you. Signage might help CAUTION : LOOK OUT FOR HIKERS! I'd guess most of traffic is local, so hopefully the residents would be sympathetic.
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  15. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    YES, I know the canoe across the Kennebec is not hiking, but at least it's in line with the existing trail and has been in place for a long time. IS a raft ferry across one of those two rivers near HF feasible?
    I've taken a raft excursion here and we stopped on the C & O canal side, maybe 20 to 50 steps from the tow path. So, feasible, yes. I think the issue would be sanctioning of the pick/up and drop off locations. Not sure that usage of property would/could be worked out quickly between private land owners, the railroad and or the NPS. Also, possible issues with high waters from time to time will occur.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

  16. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    All super cool and interesting history!

    I would fall over from a heart attack if any sort of repair is anywhere close to being soon enough for this main hiking season.

    So, I'm still very curious as to what any temporary solution will be.

    And I'm also still unclear as to whether one can reasonably safely walk across that existing hwy 340 traffic bridge to the east; from google aerial shots and the one posted below (post 42), it sure looks safe enough, but I'm probably naive on this.
    Looking at street view in google maps there is a well worn path on both sides of the 340 bridge where someone is walking across the bridge in that walkway. So I suspect it is possible and probably safer than the roads I routinely walk on with only a shoulder and cars zipping by at 50+ mph. I also expect that the ATC won't take the chance of saying it is a viable alternative.

  17. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    Looking at street view in google maps there is a well worn path on both sides of the 340 bridge where someone is walking across the bridge in that walkway. So I suspect it is possible and probably safer than the roads I routinely walk on with only a shoulder and cars zipping by at 50+ mph. I also expect that the ATC won't take the chance of saying it is a viable alternative.
    Is this what you were looking at?

    6B84ACEF-8117-4ED1-8FEB-908B7C077555.jpg

    If so, perhaps there are other areas of concern.

  18. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Is this what you were looking at?

    6B84ACEF-8117-4ED1-8FEB-908B7C077555.jpg

    If so, perhaps there are other areas of concern.
    yes that is the bridge but if you look at either end you see a clear path worn in the dirt so I would think it gets crossed on foot or bike pretty often. That looks safer than where I walk daily.

  19. #159

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    yes that is the bridge but if you look at either end you see a clear path worn in the dirt so I would think it gets crossed on foot or bike pretty often. That looks safer than where I walk daily.
    Don’t you have to walk a pretty good ways on 340, with narrow shoulders, to get from the trail to the bridge?

  20. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    Don’t you have to walk a pretty good ways on 340, with narrow shoulders, to get from the trail to the bridge?
    I think the bridge would be fine. But I agree the road between the bridge and to the trail does have some sections with only a 2-3 ft shoulder so that would be more of a risk than that bridge. But I suspect locals walk it or ride their bikes on it as I certainly walk on roads like that. That is about 1.5 mile walk from the trail crossing 340 to the bridge we are talking about.

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