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OW - Lyon Brook Bridge



Collection: De Forest Douglas Diver Railroad Photographs, ca. 1870 - 1948, Cornell University Library


View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #234327


The Old & Weary Part II

[clip of bridge starts at 8:19]

Cornwall to Middletown, SV and up the Northern Division...

Ontario and Western Railway Historical Society

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The Lyon Brook Bridge (section) 

Written by John Taibi

Contracts for the rebuilding of the bridge were made during February of 1894. The masonry for the new piers was begun in May, and during June the erection of the new steelwork commenced. The new structure contained eight plate girder tower spans of 30 feet each, three spans of 80 feet, four spans of 60 feet, and two spans of 50 feet, a total length of 820 feet. On August 15, 1894 the "new" bridge #282 was completed at a cost of 35,342.51. And, surprisingly, all the work was done without an interruption of train service! Now, heavily loaded coal trains, powered by more modern locomotives, were able to speed towards their destination of either Utica, Rome, or Oswego untethered to the light weight restrictions of the original bridge. In picture four, on the newly rebuilt bridge is a northbound accommodation train obviously stopped on the bridge for its portrait. Notice the more substantial steelwork as compared to the original ironwork.

As expected, this structure was a very important location on the railroad. So important that during the years of World War II the bridge was guarded 24 hours a day to protect it from any form of espionage. An observation post was established on the south side of the bridge, and a small gable roofed shanty put in place to house the watchmen. Whether any "Nazi" or "Jap" sympathizers ever had any designs on sabotaging the Lyon Brook Bridge is questionable, nevertheless you could say that the guards were certainly successful in protecting the bridge and performing their duties.

The rebuilt Lyon Brook bridge served the O&W well until the railroad was abandoned on March 29, 1957. The last weight it had to shoulder was that of the scrap train that removed the rails from the bridge the following year. For another eight years the structure stood over the Lyon Brook but, during March of 1966, Price Demolition Co. of Appalachin, N.Y. began the dismantling of the structure. The following month, what had been a landmark of a once prosperous railroad was completely removed from its longtime setting, leaving nothing but the supporting piers and memories of a once cheering crowd when the first train inched out onto the structure in 1869. Whether any curiosity seekers were in attendance during March and April of 1966 is not known. Maybe it would be better if there weren't any. The demise of wonders of the railroad engineering world is not pleasant, their souls would rather we remember their majesty, their impressiveness, and their job well done! Remember their being, not their passing. Towards that end, a historical marker has been placed along East River Road (just south of Polkville, N.Y.) where the Lyon Brook chasm can be seen in the distance.....Once upon a time there was a great bridge there!


Lost Deck truss bridge over Lyon Brook and Lyon Brook Road on former New York, Ontario and Western Railroad northeast of Oxford
Haines, Chenango County, New York
Built 1894, rehabilitated in 1899 and 1910, abandoned in 1958, removed in 1966
- New York, Ontario, & Western Railway (OW)
Warren deck truss
Length of largest span: 80.0 ft.
Total length: 820.0 ft.
Also called
OW Bridge 282
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.45782, -75.53894   (decimal degrees)
42°27'28" N, 75°32'20" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/455687/4700749 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 52745 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 14, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "New York, Ontario, & Western Railway "
  • July 14, 2013: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 4, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 3, 2012: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 2, 2012: Essay added by Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 1, 2012: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • June 28, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • June 25, 2012: Added by Jacob P. Bernard

Related Bridges 


  • Jacob P. Bernard


OW - Lyon Brook Bridge
Posted December 7, 2020, by Wanda (Wandahines88 [at] gmail [dot] com)


Just so happen to stumble across these wonderful historic photos of the Lyon Brook Bridge...found it very interesting! We used to live in the white house (Lyon Brook road) back in the very early 70s, and we were told our house was used for the guard post. Im sure I have a picture or two of our house...and will try to post once I locate it...if ok. Thank you for putting this together...and please post more photos if available too...would love to see more.