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Western Railroad Discussion > The Mighty Mossdale Bridge

Date: 04/24/13 14:06
The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: jmf1910

UP's LRS54 Tracy Turn heads west over the impressive Mossdale Bridge in Lathrop, CA, one week ago on April 17. The Tracy Turn heads from the ex-SP Tracy Yard to Roseville Yard and back, using the ex-SP Tracy Sub from North Lathrop to Tracy Yard. This is the only train that travels on this part of the old Mococo Line across the Mossdale Bridge. CChan006 recorded video of this train from a different angle showing the whole bridge, so hopefully he will be able to post that tonight.


Date: 04/24/13 14:13
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: ssloansjca

That bridge is pretty cool, an old favorite!

Western Pacific GP40-2 3554 on the point of the SN Detour is itself detouring. The train is caught heading east, crossing the SP bridge at Mossdale, CA on a date that was not recorded. The Detour detour was probably due to the October 1980 washout on the Santa Fe in the delta near Trull that swallowed a train. Cab 453 is on the rear of this train.

~Steve Sloan

Date: 04/24/13 14:59
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: Notch16

Rusting metal, flaking remnants of paint, and heroic tag art. The emblem of our American infrastructure in the 21st Century.

I suppose if you've never experienced anything else, it is what it is and it's all just fine. To me, it's like seeing an old friend who's let themselves go so far to seed that I can hardly recognize them, and I worry for their health and imminent demise.

Old vaudeville joke:

PATIENT: "Doctor! Can you look at this?"
DOCTOR: "Not for too long."

But nice photos. :-)

~ BZ

Date: 04/24/13 15:30
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: jimB

Good shot, John.

In 1980 there was a levy break that also took out the Santa Fe main across the delta. They detoured over the SP via Tracy and the Mococco sub (forget what it was called then).
This is the 199 (I believe) the hottest Santa Fe train in Northern California at the time, in the same spot. The Amtraks used this route as well.

Jim B

Date: 04/24/13 15:42
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: ns1000


Date: 04/24/13 16:56
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: agrafton

Fantastic photos of a magnificent bridge. Out of curiosity how or when would a graffiti
artist paint the counter weight?

Date: 04/24/13 18:10
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: jimB

If the graffiti morons put the amount of effort into something productive, like, oh, maybe their education, that they put into vandalism, we would all be working for them!

Jim B

Date: 04/24/13 19:46
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: rdb3

Do they still raise that bridge these days, or is it fixed and they just left it the way it was?

Date: 04/24/13 20:20
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: jimB

It's been fixed at least since the '70's, probably longer.

Jim B

Date: 04/24/13 21:15
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: wpdude

Yeah, risk your life to spray paint someone else's property. But you already knew I was gonna say that. The washout, to this day, is called "Bailey's Gap", in reference to the brave engineer on that ATSF train!

Date: 04/24/13 23:16
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: jbrad1974

The Mossdale Bridge is part of the California State Hitorical Sites. It is registered as California State Historical Landmark number 780-7. It was the final link in the Transcontinental Railroad, with the first train crossing this location on September 8, 1869. Prior to the completion of the bridge, passengers had to deboard their train on the North bank, cross the river on a ferry, then reboard another train on the South bank.

The original bridge, built in 1869, was a wooden trestle. It was replaced in 1895 by a steel truss bridge. The current bridge was built in 1942 and has since been welded shut. The San Joaquin River is very shallow at this location, so there is no need for the bridge to open.

James Bradley, Jr.
Oakley, CA

Date: 04/25/13 05:45
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: althewelder

Were there ever two tracks across this bridge or did they build it that way just in case traffic increased?

AL Bayer

Date: 04/25/13 11:09
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

What great photos! What a treat, guys! Thank you.
(I, too,absolutely detest the spray paint those
low-lifes (NOT "artists" -- ever!) put onto too
many things.) James: thanks for this history of this
fascinating structure.

Date: 04/25/13 15:39
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: SteveD

An extra reason this heritage WP image is so cool: wasn't this the route of CP's original WP(as distinct from the moderncompany by same name)?

Steve Donaldson
Pacific Grove, CA

Date: 06/29/18 16:10
Re: The Mighty Mossdale Bridge
Author: murals

I'm creating a mural about the Mossdale Bridge. I'm looking for information rsurrounding the 1869 construction. Did the train from the bay area to the unfinished bridge have a locomotive at each end? Also, I'm searching for a description of the ferry used take passengers back and forth before the bridge was finished. How did the tower turn a section of  the bridge to allow boat traffic?

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