Saturday, October 18, 2014

Union Pacific Columbia Slough Bridge

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The next Columbia Slough bridge on our mini-tour is the Union Pacific railroad bridge, which crosses the slough and Wright Island just east of the new pedestrian bridge. I can't find much in the way of information to share about this one: How old it is, who designed it, the usual factoids. That's annoying but not uncommon with obscure railroad bridges. Looking at it, you can see the stubs of old pilings underneath the bridge, suggesting the current one replaced an earlier wooden trestle-type bridge. Not sure I would hazard a guess as to how old the current bridge is; a 2003 ODOT study on improving local rail access suggested replacing it with a new, higher bridge, but I don't know whether this was ever implemented. It looks older than 2003, though, or at least the portion south of the island does. The northern side looks like it might be newer, but it's hard to tell, and (as I said) I have no concrete information to pass along.

In lieu of that, all we've got are a few Panoramio photos, and photos on railfan sites (and they're mostly interested in bridges as places to photograph trains.) One such site points out that this train line is just north of a major rail junction, as well as the Union Pacific tunnel under North Portland, so apparently this area is kind of a big deal if you're into trains.

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