Thames River Bridge (Amtrak)
|Thames River Bridge|
Looking east along the bridge, 26 May 2012
|Official name||Thames River Bridge|
|Carries||Two railroad tracks|
|Locale||New London, Connecticut and Groton, Connecticut|
|Maintained by||Amtrak |
|Design||Truss with bascule opening (opening converted to vertical lift)|
|Total length||1,389 feet (423 m)|
|Opened||1919 (renovated 2008)|
Design and history
The bridge was originally a Strauss heel-trunnion Warren through-truss bascule design, built in 1919. It was built by the American Bridge Company for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, replacing a span dating from 1889. In 2008 it underwent a renovation which included the draw span's conversion from a bascule to a vertical-lift mechanism.
As built in 1919, the bridge's abutments and piers were designed to carry a second set of double-track spans, in the event that an expansion to four tracks was ever undertaken at this location by the New Haven Railroad (it never was).
The bridge opens for marine traffic more than 4 times per day and serves up to 36 passenger trains and two freight trains per day. The bridge sits 29 feet (8.8 m) above mean high water, and the vertical lift span opens to 135 feet (41 m) above MHW and provides 105 feet (32 m) of horizontal clearance.
It is one of eight moveable bridges on the Amtrak route through Connecticut surveyed in one multiple property study in 1986. The eight bridges from west to east, and two other newer ones belonging to Amtrak, are, in order:
- Mianus River Railroad Bridge at Cos Cob, built in 1904;
- Norwalk River Railroad Bridge at Norwalk, 1896;
- Saugatuck River Railroad Bridge at Westport, 1905;
- Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge at Bridgeport, 1902 (replaced 1998)
- Housatonic River Railroad Bridge, at Devon, 1905;
- Connecticut River Railroad Bridge, Old Saybrook-Old Lyme, 1907;
- Niantic River Bridge, East Lyme-Waterford, 1907 (replaced 2012);
- Shaw's Cove Railroad Bridge, New London, 1984;
- (this bridge) Thames River Bridge, New London-Groton, built in 1919;
- Mystic River Railroad Bridge, Mystic, 1984.
- Thames River Bridge Project, Amtrak.com PDF[dead link]
- "New Railroad Bridge: A River Runs Through It". The Day. July 2, 2008.[dead link]
- NOAA. "Nautical Chart No. 13213: New London Harbor and vicinity; Bailey Point to Smith Cove 42nd ed. 03/01/2011". Washington, D.C.: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Bruce Clouette, Matthew Roth and John Herzan (February 4, 1986). "Movable Railroad Bridges on the NE Corridor in Connecticut TR". National Park Service.
- Media related to Thames River Bridge (Connecticut) at Wikimedia Commons
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. CT-25, "New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, Groton Bridge, Spanning Thames River between New London & Groton, New London, New London County, CT", 24 photos, 10 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
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