Save the Letchworth State Park Historic Railroad Bridge

My name is Richard H. Jordan III, hello and welcome to arctichromes.com. This section of the site is dedicated to the preservation and public utilization of the historic railroad bridge located in the southern part of Letchworth State Park, in Western New York. The bridge is currently slated for demolition after a new railroad bridge is built a few hundred feet to the south of the current span. The idea is to make the old bridge into a safe pedestrian walkway to view the spectacular canyon to the north and preserve the historic span itself. Below you will find links to the history of the park and links to the discussion of what can be done with this bridge.
 
Looking north from the current bridge
                                                                                                                                                                            Image: Richard H. Jordan III                        
History Links:
 
Below is an article by Donald L. Pevsner, its an excellent read and gives great detail about the current situation.
 
Here is my response to the article by Mr. Pevsner.
 
This is not just a bridge. This is a vital link to the past and future of Western NY and New York State. The history of the USA is the history of the industrial revolution. We take for granted the rich industrial and engineering history that blankets the north-east United States. So inundated are we in the incredible feats of our predecessors that we forget to acknowledge them. If we don't take the time to preserve some of these things they will be lost forever. (William Pryor Letchworth saw this, and acted) This bridge is an integral part of visiting Letchworth Park and the possibilities of having it a legitimate destination are limitless.

First off the bridge is not that bad, it still hosts multiple full size freight trains daily. So yes it will need to be made ready for people to safely use it, but its has not sat derelict for 30 plus years like the Poughkeepsie NY bridge did, nor did it burn. The $85,000 NS spends each year on maintenance is because of the heavy trains taxing the structure. People walking on the span are a fraction of the weight of multiple locomotives and freight cars. The yearly cost for the Park will not be $85,000.

We are part way to a solution if Norfolk Southern is willing to spend 1 million to demolish the bridge and the high end of the estimate to make it safe for the public is 2 million. These figures seem to pale in comparison to the 39 million dollar cost of replacement and the 17 million dollars requested by NS from New York State. If these monies are given to NS by the tax payers shouldn't we at least get a nice walkway and tourist attraction? Especially in the light of Norfolk Southerns 1.5 billion dollar profit last year, and the nagging need to invest in Western New Yorks future.

The railroad business is booming, and the future looks great for the industry. NS would pay the entire cost for a new bridge, re-routing trains is uneconomical. NS has a real public relations opportunity here, I hope they they take the initiative.

The reality is that a lot of money will be spent to replace this bridge. I firmly believe that the cost of preparing and maintaining the old span for public use should be included in the cost of building the new bridge. It just makes sense. In this case I believe that the railroads, the park, and the public CAN have their cake, and eat it too. We all have to work together.

Yes there are a lot things to figure out, and a lot of good ideas are floating around. We must move forward and act fast. The clock is ticking. Do your part as an American and help make Letchworth Park an even better place to visit.

Save the Bridge!

 
Historic Letchworth Bridge blt. 1875.
                                                                                                     Image: Richard H. Jordan III
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