1 vote

Lebanon Valley Rail Trail - Swatara Creek Bridge


Approaching bridge from the north (east) on Swatara Creek

Photo taken by Jodi Christman in May 25, 2016


BH Photo #354089


Street View 


According to the book "Railroads of Lebanon County", researched and written by Donald L. Rhoades, Jr. and Robert A. Heilman, published by the Lebanon County Historical Society, the L&T began as a result of a merger between the Good Spring Railroad Company, the Lorberry Creek Railroad Company, the Pine Grove and Lebanon Railroad Company, and the Lebanon and Pine Grove Branch of the Philadelphia and reading Railroad Company. It opened to traffic on March 7, 1870. SOURCE: http://www.pinegrovetownship.com/ProposedLibrary.html


Pratt through truss bridge over Swatara Creek on Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
Lebanon County, Pennsylvania
Being converted to trail use.
- Rail-to-trail
- Reading Railroad (RDG)
Pratt through truss
Also called
LVRT - Swatara Creek Bridge
Reading - Swatara Creek Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.40267, -76.48786   (decimal degrees)
40°24'10" N, 76°29'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/373743/4473513 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 72338 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 6, 2016: Updated by Luke: Updated status per forum comment
  • September 5, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • May 28, 2016: Added by Jodi Christman

Related Bridges 



Reading - Swatara Creek Bridge
Posted December 6, 2016, by Luke

Google aerial imagery appears to confirm your comment, as there's a fresh-looking asphalt pathway to the north of the bridge.

Google also turned up this link: http://www.ldnews.com/story/news/local/2016/04/12/lebanon-co...

Reading - Swatara Creek Bridge
Posted December 6, 2016, by Maintenance 6 (boeing299 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I don't believe this bridge is being dismantled. I think it is being rehabbed as part of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail extension north from Lebanon city to Swatara state park.

L&T Railroad Bridge
Posted June 2, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Looks like the same stone abuts that the covered deck truss sat on... With concrete added so the steel thru truss would be at the right level.

L&T Railroad Bridge
Posted June 2, 2016, by Luke

Apparently there was a covered deck truss there in 1901: http://www.lostbridges.org/details.aspx?id=PA/38-38-16x&loc=...

L&T Railroad Bridge
Posted June 2, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I'm missing the intent of your post. Do you believe that the bridge was made in the 1870's? I'm assuming you mean something else.

In case your dissent is regarding date, I'm in Anonymous's camp. In my opinion the bridge was made post 1900 and possibly post WWI. Railroad Pratts were pin connected in the 1800s. Riveted joints, which this bridge has, became common after WWI. Also, the members are of very heavy construction - just look at the beefiness of the diagonal tension members. Search John Marvig's entries; he seems to specialize on railroad trusses. As you look at the build dates, you will see the bridges components look more and more massive as the build dates get more recent. This was necessary to carry the progressively heavier trains.


Art S.

L&T Railroad Bridge
Posted June 2, 2016, by Jodi Christman (masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com)

I'm sorry but I have to disagree.

"Truss bridges became a common type of bridge built from the 1870s through the 1930s. Examples of these bridges still remain across the United States, but their numbers are dropping rapidly, as they are demolished and replaced with new structures. As metal slowly started to replace timber, wrought iron bridges in the U.S. started being built on a large scale in the 1870s."

"The Pratt truss was invented in 1844 by Thomas and Caleb Pratt.[21] This truss is practical for use with spans up to 250 feet (76 m) and was a common configuration for railroad bridges as truss bridges moved from wood to metal. They are statically determinate bridges, which lend themselves well to long spans. They were common in the United States between 1844 and the early 20th century.[21]"


L&T Railroad Bridge
Posted May 28, 2016, by Anonymous

This bridge is far too heavily built to be an 1870s bridge.