Rating:
8 votes

PAL - Valley Creek Bridge

Photos 

Overview

The "tubular" design of this bridge is a key feature of bridges made by the Pheonix Bridge Co.

Photo taken by James McCray

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BH Photo #187127

Map 

Description 

Bridge was most likely originally built between 1869-1872 when the Elizabethtown & Paducah Railroad Line was completed, The line was then sold to The Illinois Central Railroad. The Line was a spur that connected Elizabethtown to Cecilia Kentucky.

Facts 

Overview
Pratt through truss bridge over Valley Creek on old Elizabethtown & Paducah Railroad
Location
Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky
Status
Open to traffic
Builder
- Phoenix Iron Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Railroads
- Elizabethtown & Paducah Railroad (E&P)
- Illinois Central Railroad (IC)
- Paducah & Louisville Railway (PAL)
Design
Pratt through truss with Phoenix columns
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
IC - Valley Creek Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.68741, -85.87249   (decimal degrees)
37°41'15" N, 85°52'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/599412/4171731 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Elizabethtown
Inventory number
BH 47020 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 25, 2011: Updated by J.P.: fixed typo
  • November 16, 2010: New photos from J.P.
  • November 15, 2010: Added by James McCray

Sources 

  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

PAL - Valley Creek Bridge
Posted April 19, 2015, by ArtS. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Nope, just the patent. The bridge is a little newer, but not much.

PAL - Valley Creek Bridge
Posted April 19, 2015, by Sherman Cahal (shermancahal [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks! I was trying to get a better view of the others but I couldn't make out the other markings. I did get some macros with my "real" camera versus my iPhone, but I hadn't looked into it yet. So this bridge dates to 1862?

PAL - Valley Creek Bridge
Posted April 18, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Sherman,

You were close on the 'PAP'. Its actually PAT and the date is 1862 - the patent date of the Phoenix Column. Thanks for the picture!

Regards,

Art S.

PAL - Valley Creek Bridge
Posted April 18, 2015, by Sherman Cahal (Shermancahal [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is unfortunately now out of service, with a pile of dirt at its west end.

Looking at the steel closely, the stamp reads: "PHOENIX IRON CO, PHILADA" and another has "PAP JUNE 17 1852"

I'm not 100% on the PAP- this is coming straight from my camera without me examining it further.

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted August 26, 2011, by Gary Sprandel (jaidite [at] aol [dot] com)

JP

The wooden tower in pic 91 is called a telltail and you are close in your guess as to it's purpose though it's not rolling stock related.

A telltail goes back to the days before the early 1970's when freight cars had roofwalks along the top of the cars.

Anywhere the tracks might pass under a low overhead clearance such as a tunnel or in this case the bridge trusses the railroad would erect a telltail, if a brakeman happened to be walking along the top of the train and he felt the ropes of a telltail hit him he knew he had seconds to either climb down between the cars or to flatten himself out on the roof.

FRA (Federal Railroad Administration)regs where changed back in the very late 60's/early 70's to ban roofwalks thus relegating the telltail to a historical oddity.

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted August 26, 2011, by J.P.

Took pictures I believe last November. As for responses from historical societies and or the Library, nothing going so far, I have called and left messages and sent emails kind of annoying. I actually got most my Info from a L&N Railroad Forum board in the last few days. They found the bridge interesting even though it turned out it was not L&N, but Elizabethtown Paducah Railroad and Illinois Central Railroad. I have been hitting the Google Books looking for information and nothing really. I did find another bridge built in the 1930's on the same line that replaced a bridge built in the 1870's over the green river in ohio county, that is now on the Paducah Louisville line. So that confirmed the age range. But really looking for that builder.

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted August 26, 2011, by Daniel Hopkins (chimera [at] clovermail [dot] net)

Totally unique find guys!! Hey J.P. when did you take those pictures? Also hows the wait for responses going? I haven't seen a bridge like that before...it's built so differently...I think your right two different companies built this bridge...it doesn't seem to have the same design as other trestles in Kentucky or Virgina either...Nice Find!!

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted November 16, 2010, by J.P.

I have contacted every possible historical society in Hardin County looking for information on this bridge. Now the wait for the answers. Now as for info i think i might have figured out. First im going this bridge was built during the 1880's mainly after the civil war and retreat of the south from kentucky. As they destroyed every bridge on the L&N railroad between louisville and Tennessee. Next I have noticed usually the Phoenix Iron company just provides the columns, so i bet there is a second company involved in the building of this bridge. As i said these are guesses, ill know more when i get some answers. As you can see i found the patent information from 1862

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted November 16, 2010, by J.P.
Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted November 15, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

And the floorbeams are back-to-back channels with v-lacing?! Never seen such a thing.

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted November 15, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

That bottom chord is built up like a girder! Very impressive.

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted November 15, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

WOW!!!! I have never seen a bottom chord, floorbeam, and deck system like this! The bottom chord is more massive than the floorbeams.

Valley Creek Railroad Bridge
Posted November 15, 2010, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I, and fellow Bridgehunter J.P., just happened to find this wonderful "Pheonix" bridge almost by accident.