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BM - Hop Brook Bridge (MP 22.24)


"Chartered in May 1869, the Massachusetts Central Railroad Company was the last of the major east-west routes to extend across the state, competing for the traffic of both the Boston & Albany to the south and the Fitchburg to the north. Its road was opened from Cambridge to Hudson, 23.5 miles, 10/1/1881, and to Northampton in December of 1887. All passenger service ceased on the line in 1971, and freight service ended in 1980.

This 1881 plate girder crossing consists of two plate girders each 4'-6" deep with 11-inch flanges. Evidently the masonry was insufficiently strong to support the weight, and in 1908 two wood-pile bents were inserted beneath the plate girders. These are still in place. The plate girder bridge at 19.47 is virtually identical, and had the same repairs in 1908. The latter bridge is four feet longer.

The first plate girder bridge is believed to have been constructed in the U.S. in 1846-47; in Massachusetts, Edward S. Philbrick, engineer for the Boston & Albany Railroad first designed a plate girder for that line in 1860. The B&A bridges have all since been replaced. This example, and its companion at milepost 19.47, are the oldest identified plate girder spans in the state."

-P.H. Stott, MBTA Historical Property Survey Phase II, 12/1987


Abandoned deck plate girder bridge over Hop Brook on B&M Central Mass Branch
Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Built 1881, rehabilitated 1908
- Boston & Maine Railroad (BM)
- Central Massachusetts Railroad
Deck plate girder
Span length: 43.4 ft.
Total length: 43.4 ft.
Deck width: 10.1 ft.
Also called
Central Massachusetts Railway Bridge No. 128
B&M - Central Mass Bridge No. 22.24
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.37634, -71.46238   (decimal degrees)
42°22'35" N, 71°27'45" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/297272/4694499 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 67507 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 10, 2015: Added by Ian Martin