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SEPTA - Wissahickon Creek Viaduct


3/4 View, From Nw

Photo taken by Joseph Eliott for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #278586

Street View 


FROM HAER: This stone bridge made of Talcose slate spans Wissahickon Creek just north of the Ridge Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia,PA.

Two tracks occupy the viaduct that the Nolan & Brothers completed in 1881 and 1882 for $375,000, a figure which accounted for the foundations already constructed. The only repair on record is in regards to iron tie rods done in 1930.

While the creek only flows beneath one span near the western end, the entire length is necessary to span the wide PHILADELPHIA & READING valley. The park's Lincoln Drive passes under two spans near the eastern end.

The five main arches each span 70'-0" long, with a rise of 23'-0", between piers 9'-6" wide at the spring line. At each end, two l0'-0" arches reduce the volume of masonry in the abutments.

Interesting to note is that P&R Chief Engineer William Lorenz's name appears first on the builder's plaque; however, his assistant C. W. Buchholz apparently deserves credit for the design.


Bridge over Wissahickon Creek, Lincoln Drive, and Wissahickon Bike Trail on EPTA and Norfolk Southern
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Open to traffic
Built 1881-1882; Altered 1930
- C.W. Buchholz (Assistant chief engineer of the Reading Railroad)
- Nolan & Brothers Co.
- Commuter Rail
- Conrail (CR)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Philadelphia & Reading Railway (1896-1923) (P&R)
- Reading Railroad (RDG)
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
The Wissahickon Creek Viaduct marks the beginning of a resurgence in major stone arch bridge construction on American railroads after the panic of 1873.
Length of largest span: 70.0 ft.
Total length: 510.0 ft.
Deck width: 28.0 ft.
Also called
Reading - Wissahickon Creek Viaduct
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.01557, -75.20655   (decimal degrees)
40°00'56" N, 75°12'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/482373/4429505 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 60176 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 23, 2022: New Street View added by Geoff Hubbs
  • April 25, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • October 6, 2019: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • March 9, 2014: Added by Jodi Christman


  • Jodi Christman - masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com
  • HAER PA-36 - Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, Wissahickon Creek Viaduct, Spanning Wissahickon Creek, north of Ridge Avenue Bridge, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA
  • Luke
  • Geoff Hubbs