Spuyten Duyvil Bridge

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Coordinates: 40°52′42″N 73°55′32″W / 40.87833°N 73.92556°W / 40.87833; -73.92556

Spuyten Duyvil Bridge
Circle Line crossing open Spuyten Duyvil Bridge crop.jpg
Circle Line boat crossing bridge, 2014
Coordinates 40°52′42″N 73°55′32″W / 40.8783°N 73.9256°W / 40.8783; -73.9256Coordinates: 40°52′42″N 73°55′32″W / 40.8783°N 73.9256°W / 40.8783; -73.9256
CarriesAmtrak West Side Line/Empire Connection (1 track)
CrossesHarlem River
LocaleManhattan and the Bronx, New York City
DesignRailroad swing bridge
Total length610 feet (190 m)[1]
Longest span286 feet (87 m)[2]
Clearance below5 feet (1.5 m)[1]

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge is a railroad swing bridge that spans the Spuyten Duyvil Creek between Manhattan and the Bronx, in New York City. The bridge is located at the northern tip of Manhattan where the Spuyten Duyvil Creek meets the Hudson River, approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) to the west of the Henry Hudson Bridge.

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge was built to carry two tracks but now carries only a single track on the eastern side of the span. It is part of the West Side Line, and is used by Amtrak trains traveling along the Empire Connection. The span is used by approximately 30 trains a day and is opened over 1,000 times per year, primarily during the summer months for Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and recreational vessels.[2]


A wooden railroad drawbridge across the Spuyten Duyvil was first constructed by the New York & Hudson River Railroad in 1849.[3] The railroad continued southward along the West Side Line to St. John's Park Terminal in Lower Manhattan and carried both freight and passenger service. The Hudson River Railroad merged with the New York & Harlem Railroad in 1869, creating the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, and most trains started bypassing the bridge, instead going to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. An iron bridge replaced the wooden span by 1895.[4]

The current steel bridge was designed by Robert Giles and constructed in 1900. The piers rest on pile foundations in the riverbed.[1][5] The bridge consists of three fixed sections as well as a 290-foot-long (88 m) swing section, which could swivel nearly 65 degrees and leave a 100 feet (30 m) of clearance on each side.[4] The swing span weighed 200 tons and had enough space to fit two tracks.[6]

By 1935, there were 70 trains a day using the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, but after World War II, usage declined. In 1963, the steam motor that powered the swing span was replaced with an electric motor. The bridge was slightly damaged three years later, when the swing span was struck by a boat, leaving it stuck in the open position for two weeks.[4] Trains stopped running across the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge in 1982 and the following year the bridge was damaged by a vessel and was left unable to close.[7][4]

The bridge was rehabilitated in the late 1980s.[4] Amtrak's Empire Service began using the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge on April 7, 1991, following the completion of the Empire Connection. This involved the conversion of the abandoned West Side Line to accommodate passenger service and connect with Pennsylvania Station. Until then, Amtrak trains traveling between New York and Albany had utilized Grand Central Terminal.[1][8][9]

In June 2018, Amtrak used the Left Coast Lifter, one of the world's largest floating cranes to lift the 1.6 million pounds (730,000 kg) of the bridge's spans and move them to a barge in order to make fixes to electrical and mechanical components necessitated by damage due to Hurricane Sandy and years of malfunctions and corrosion. During the repairs, trains which had originated in Penn Station and used the bridge originated instead from Grand Central Terminal, bypassing the bridge.[10][11] The trains returned to their regular routing to Penn Station on September 4.[12]


  • On the evening of February 16, 2004, an 80-year-old woman mistakenly drove her car onto the bridge from the Bronx side of the river and was hit by a Penn Station-bound Amtrak train. Although the passenger train carried the automobile for a distance of 250 feet (76 m) along the tracks, the woman survived the crash.[13]
  • During the early morning hours of October 24, 2010, a fire broke out on the bridge, suspending train service until later that evening.[14][15]
  • A boat ran into the bridge at around 4:20pm on May 29, 2016, causing major delays on the Empire Corridor, as the bridge was required to be inspected before trains could use it again. No injuries were reported in the incident.[16]




  1. ^ a b c d Gray, Christopher (March 6, 1988). "Spuyten Duyvil Swing Bridge; Restoring a Link In the City's Lifeline". New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Rolwood, Craig; Ostrovsky, Alex (2004). "Spuyten Duyvil Emergency Response to Navigation Strikes" (PDF). Conference Proceedings. American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  3. ^ Adams, Arthur G. (1996). The Hudson River Guidebook (2nd ed.). New York: Fordham University Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-8232-1680-2.
  4. ^ a b c d e Gray, Christopher (March 6, 1988). "STREETSCAPES: Spuyten Duyvil Swing Bridge; Restoring a Link In the City's Lifeline". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Geological Society of America (1905). Bulletin of the Geological Society of America. 16. Rochester: Geological Society of America. p. 157. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  6. ^ Engineering News-record. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. 1900. p. 345. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Renner, James (March 2001). "Spuyten Duyvil Swing Bridge". Washington Heights & Inwood Online. Archived from the original on January 6, 2006. Retrieved February 7, 2010.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  8. ^ Johnson, Kirk (July 7, 1988). "Amtrak Trains To Stop Using Grand Central". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  9. ^ Staff (April 7, 1991). "Travel Advisory; Grand Central Trains Rerouted To Penn Station". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  10. ^ Staff (June 13, 2018) "Spuyten Duyvil Bridge moved for upgrades" News12 Bronx
  11. ^ Martinez, Jose (June 14, 2018) "Massive crane lifts Spuyten Duyvil Bridge for repairs" NY1
  12. ^ https://media.amtrak.com/2018/09/amtrak-resumes-service-four-popular-train-routes-new-york-penn-station/
  13. ^ Sclafani, Tony & Standora, Leo (February 17, 2004). "Amtrak Hits Car Driving on Tracks". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2013.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  14. ^ "Spuyten Duyvil Bridge Burned Over Weekend". The Riverdale Press. October 25, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  15. ^ Anderson, Eric (October 24, 2010). "Amtrak Service to NYC Restored". Times Union. Albany. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  16. ^ Zauderer, Alyssa (May 29, 2016) "Amtrak service on Empire Line suspended after boat strikes Spuyten Duyvil Bridge" WPIX 11 News

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