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PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge


PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge

Bridge being loaded for movement in May 2002

RR Museum of Penna.

View this photo at rrmuseumpa.org

BH Photo #360050



The bridge was designed by Pennsylvania Railroad assistant engineer Herman Haupt in 1851, built of cast and wrought iron in Altoona, and probably installed on the Philadelphia and Columbia branch sometime in the 1850s, where it carried trains over a creek or similar obstacle.

It was removed from the Main line some time after the Civil War when the engines became too large and heavy for its 60 ton weight limit. It was installed sometime in the 1870's or 80's as a vehicular bridge connecting two halves of a farmer's field just west of Ronks, PA, where it remained in service until May 2002.

Amtrak removed the bridge and installed a new one May 5-7, 2002 and set the two main trusses in an adjacent farmer's field for donation to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in nearby Strasburg. Each truss weighed in at just over 13 tons.

The bridge structure is one of the oldest surviving iron railroad bridges in the United States, and the only complete example of its design with the shoes, Pratt trusses and cast iron arch intact. There is reportedly only one other bridge surviving of this type, a 90 foot incomplete example in the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, Pa. A similar bridge, the Church Street Bridge in Ardmore, Pa. that was missing its arch was removed in 2007.

The bridge’s superstructure was damaged in 2018 for unknown reasons. The remaining structure is definitely derelict.


Haupt through truss bridge over Amtrak (former PRR) on Private farm road
Ronks, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Superstructure damaged in 2018 for unknown reasons
Future prospects
Superstructure severely damaged in 2018 for unknown reasons. Remaining bridge doomed.
Built 1851; damaged 2018
- Herman Haupt of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Designer)
Haupt through truss with arch
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Ronks Overpass
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.02834, -76.17330   (decimal degrees)
40°01'42" N, 76°10'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/399887/4431562 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 73100 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


19th Century (6,360)
Abandoned (3,132)
Built 1851 (32)
Built during 1850s (353)
Cast iron (64)
Doomed (1,051)
Haupt truss (5)
Herman Haupt (2)
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (143)
NR-eligible (3,968)
Owned by state (13,998)
Pennsylvania (4,497)
Railroad (13,642)
Relocated (665)
Ronks, Pennsylvania (1)
Through truss (13,114)
Truss (29,753)
Wrought Iron (371)

Update Log 

  • April 12, 2018: Updated by Amanda: Fix, not destroyed by fire but damaged
  • August 9, 2016: New photo from Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • August 7, 2016: Added by Alexander D. Mitchell IV



PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 13, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Here are Ardmore pics from same location. Don't even know if there is an entry, didn't find it on a quick search.


PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 13, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)
PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 13, 2018, by Luke

Yeah, this scenario is different from what happened on the Lawrence, MA entry.

This is someone making a maliciously false post on a reputable source, and multiple people (Not just Amanda.) falling for it due to it being a reputable source.

The other was her taking locals' words as gospel, not fact-checking what they said with available materials (Both historicmapworks & historicaerials disproved the locals' claims.), then getting unnecessarily defensive about being told to fact check.

Apples to oranges

PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 13, 2018, by Matt Lohry

The arson reports first surfaced on the American Society of Civil Engineers website, which is otherwise perfectly legitimate, so to me there was all the reason in the world to take the story as legitimate. If it were Wikipedia, Pinterest, Facebook, or other similar social media outlets, then there would be more reason for scrutiny, but given the circumstances I cannot fault Amanda for taking the story as truth. At least we all know what’s going on now!

PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 13, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

So Amanda posts bogus information, is asked for proof, then apologizes and all of a sudden its great job Amanda for great news fake news.

These bridges can be repaired, they were saved for a reason

I guess I'm with Luke, check your facts before you post and maybe less hyperbole.

PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 12, 2018, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Too cool....love it

PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 12, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Being a bridge hunter means the best news of the day is a bridge isn't actually destroyed.... Thanks for uncovering the truth Amanda!

PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 12, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Workin' Bridges with the Bach gang has studied this bridge for reuse and it is awesome. I wondered how it could be destroyed when it is on the side of a parking lot in grass. There is some intention to restore both or utilize in display.

PRR - Ronks Haupt Bridge
Posted April 12, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It would be awful if fire could destroy those cast iron trusses, can you provide a source? There are two bridges there, Ardmore and Ronks.