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SEPTA - Schuylkill River Viaduct


Bridgeport Viaduct

Photo from SEPTA, used by CBSLocal.com

View this photo at cbsphilly.files.wordpress.com

BH Photo #250567

Street View 



SEPTA to close Norristown line’s rail bridge over Schuylkill By Paul Nussbaum, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Posted: December 14, 2012

SEPTA plans to close the 3,175-foot-long bridge that carries Norristown High-Speed Line trains over the Schuylkill, the first in what could be a cascade of cutbacks caused by a lack of money, the agency said Thursday.

The 101-year-old Bridgeport Viaduct will be closed next summer, when warmer temperatures cause tracks to expand and pull free of steel spikes in rotted wooden ties, SEPTA chief engineer Jeff Knueppel said.

The bridge carries about 2,400 passengers a day to and from the Norristown Transportation Center. Buses will be used to carry passengers over an adjacent highway bridge while the rail bridge is closed, SEPTA officials said.

Emergency repairs last month, including gluing spikes in place, will allow the bridge to be kept open until summer, Knueppel said. Train speeds on the bridge have been reduced to 15 m.p.h. from 25.

It would cost about $7 million to replace the 1,708 wooden ties and an additional $23 million to repair and repaint the bridge, he said. That would mean closing the bridge for at least four months.

But SEPTA officials said the bridge may remain closed indefinitely, because they don't have the money to fix it.

And the closing could be followed by the shutdown of other bridges and facilities, as SEPTA's backlog of unfunded construction projects continues to grow.

"This is just the start," SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. "Pat" Deon said Thursday. "There can be a ripple effect out through the rest of the system."

SEPTA relies on state funds for most of its capital budget, the money that goes for vehicles and big construction projects.

Although ridership is at a 23-year high, SEPTA's capital budget is at a 15-year low, at $303 million.

Deon and other SEPTA officials Thursday said a new state transportation-funding plan, for public transit as well as highways, is crucial to maintaining the region's rail, subway, and bus network.

As Gov. Corbett and state lawmakers prepare to tackle transportation funding as part of next year's state budget, SEPTA officials worry that rural lawmakers will push for more funding for highways but not for transit systems.

The Bridgeport Viaduct is the poster child for SEPTA's financial woes.

Last year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood in the shadow of the bridge to make a last-minute pitch for an unsuccessful Obama administration effort to get Congress to provide $50 billion for transportation projects.

The bridge was built by the Philadelphia & Western Railway in 1911.

In addition to its rotting wooden ties, its steel is rusting and its concrete piers are cracking.

The viaduct is among scores of crumbling bridges, passenger stations like City Hall, and power substations that make up a nearly $5 billion backlog of unfunded projects.


Deck truss bridge over Schuylkill River on SEPTA Norristown High Speed Line (former Red Arrow Lines/Philadelphia & Western)
Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Open to traffic
Future prospects
Closed to all traffic July 2013 and rebuilt with new decking; reopened to service November 2013
Built 1911
- Commuter Rail
- Philadelphia & Western Railway (P&W)
- Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (PST; Red Arrow Lines)
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Deck truss
Total length: 3,175.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Also called
Norristown P&W Viaduct
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.11034, -75.34656   (decimal degrees)
40°06'37" N, 75°20'48" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/470465/4440061 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 55809 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 18, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • September 5, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 30, 2019: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • July 8, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • November 14, 2013: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Bridge rebuilt and reopened to rail service
  • March 18, 2013: Photo imported by Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • March 16, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority", "Railroad", "Interurban"
  • March 16, 2013: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Added category "Schuylkill River"


  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • Geoff Hubbs


SEPTA - Schuylkill River Viaduct
Posted September 2, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Flood waters from Ida Remnants reached the trusses of this bridge. (Ignore the TV banner that wrongly called this Philadelphia)