2 votes

East Street Railroad Bridge (Westwood)


Photo taken by P.K. Lazrus


View this photo at mhc-macris.net

BH Photo #318948


Street View 


14 246 AC

7/2/2014 Westwood Mass - East Street Railroad Bridge. Head on collision.

Westwood PD

Play video on YouTube

Spectacular truck demolition

Police camera catches a truck "exploding" upon impact. 1:10 for the impatient.

Westwood PD


Riveted steel through plate girder bridge carrying MBTA Franklin Branch (MBTA Franklin Line) over East Street at milepost 12.59 in the Islington part of Westwood, Massachusetts.


Written by P. K. Lazrus

"The portion of the Franklin Line extending from Readville to Franklin was originally conceived of as two, short, branch lines; the Walpole Railroad, linking Walpole with Dedham, and the Norfolk County Railroad that ran from Walpole to Franklin. The Walpole Railroad was chartered but never actually built. It was vigorously contested because the populous wanted a local line independent from the larger rail lines planned to Connect Boston with New York City and the upstate Hudson River region. The Norfolk County Railroad, chartered in July, 1847, was promoted by wealthy Blackstone millowner Welcome Farnum (1796-1874). The line was opened for service from Boston to Blackstone on 16 May 1849. Farnum's plan was to extend the line through to the Hudson River in order to bring coal form Pennsylvania mines into New England. Farnum had the proposed route surveyed as far as the Hudson River at his own expense, and in 1853, the line was extended as far west as Southbridge, Massachusetts. Farnum's failure during the Panic of 1857 spelled the end of his involvement with the railroad, but the line was completed to Fishkill Landing on the Hudson in 1881. The Norfolk County Railroad went through several reorganizations, consolidations, and name changes between 1858 and 1869 when the line became part of the New York and New England Railroad. In 1898 the New York and New England became the last major acquisition to come under direct control of the New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad.

The riveted thru plate girder bridge was fabricated by the Boston Bridge Works in 1911 according to the builder's plate. It is composed of three girders with three stringers per track, and each pair of girders has five floor beams. It has a skew of 33 degrees and stone abutments with a concrete capstone on which the bridge rests. The New York New Haven and Hartford was engaged in upgrading the system, which included replacing bridges, putting in block signals, eliminating grade crossings, etc. In general, thru and deck plate girder bridges on this line, upgraded or constructed by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in the early 1900s, were designed and construction directed by the engineering department of the NY, NH & H Railroad. C.M. Ingersoll was the chief engineer and W.H. Moore the engineer of bridges."

- Massachusetts Historical Commission (P.K. Lazrus, MBTA Historic Property Survey, 11/1987)


Pony/through plate girder bridge over East Street on MBTA Franklin Branch (MBTA Fairmount Line) in Islington, Westwood, Massachusetts
Westwood, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Open to railway traffic, and to vehicle and pedestrian traffic below
Future prospects
Scheduled for Replacement
Built 1911 by Boston Bridge Works
- Boston Bridge Works of Boston, Massachusetts
- C. M. Ingersoll
- W. H. Moore
- Commuter Rail
- Conrail (CR)
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
- New York & New England Railroad (NYNE)
- New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NH)
- Norfolk County Railroad
- Penn Central Railroad (PC)
Steel through plate girder
Total length: 37.0 ft.
Deck width: 28.0 ft.
Skew angle
33 degrees
Also called
MBTA - East Street Overpass
Norfolk County Railroad Bridge over East Street
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.21931, -71.18535   (decimal degrees)
42°13'10" N, 71°11'07" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/319633/4676438 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
BH 61578 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 22, 2015: New video from Clark Vance
  • March 21, 2015: Updated by Erich Pfistner: Added engineer names forgotten in previous update with MHC data.
  • February 1, 2015: New video from Dave King
  • January 3, 2015: Updated by Ian Martin: Added builder & build year
  • July 2, 2014: Added by Clark Vance



East Street Railroad Bridge (Westwood)
Posted September 4, 2015, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Stupid me.Just saw the video on msn again and in the video plain as day is the sign specifying the height of the bridge.The only suggestion I could make would be for a bigger sign but what good that would do I do not know.

East Street Railroad Bridge (Westwood)
Posted August 27, 2015, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

thanks anonymous.i didn't know there were signs posted.evidently the truck drivers are not paying attention to that and are paying the price having their trucks turned into open air trucks via the bridge.maybe they should post signs anyway to make the truckers aware.can't hurt.i only saw one trucker on the video who actually stopped before the truck eating bridge.

East Street MBTA Bridge (Westwood)
Posted August 26, 2015, by Anonymous

There's a sign well before the bridge so that trucks that know that they're over the height limit can actually stop before slamming into the bridge.

East Street MBTA Bridge (Westwood)
Posted August 26, 2015, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

this notoriously famous bridge I just saw a video of on msn.the video was from reuters.funny how they don't post height signs on this bridge like they do in pa.

East Street Bridge
Posted August 25, 2015, by Ian Martin
MBTA - East Street Overpass
Posted August 21, 2015, by Ian Martin
MBTA - East Street Overpass
Posted August 3, 2015, by Ian Martin


Agreed, I think I remember catching this when trawling through the MHC listings a while back (the listing for this bridge also has the incorrect photo shown here). There is an entry for the other East Street Bridge here: http://bridgehunter.com/ma/norfolk/bh66599/. That entry does have a correct photo, so it isn't a perfect switch. Definitely an understandable switch though, given that it's two crossings of the same street by the same railroad within a short distance.


MBTA - East Street Overpass
Posted August 3, 2015, by Dan Petitpas (dan [at] neponset [dot] com)

Actually, the b&w photo on this page (MBTA - East Street Overpass) is of a different bridge over East Street in Dedham. East Street curves through Dedham and enters Westwood at the 128/95 rotary (exit 14) and then heads toward Islington. The bridge in the video is over East Street in Westwood, just outside the Islington stop. The Dedham one is outside the 128/Dedham Corporate Center. It's easy to confuse them if you're not familiar with the area.

The Westwood bridge is only 10'6" and catches a truck at least once a month. It was also the scene of a fatal car accident as the high sidewalk curb causes cars that hit the curb to bounce off and careen in the on-coming lane. Also cars have slammed into the stone wall on the opposite side because of the narrowness of the roadway. The other East Street bridge is 12' and doesn't have the same problem.