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Steam & Excursion > Portland’s GT abandoned Swing Bridge (photos)

Date: 01/13/20 00:20
Portland’s GT abandoned Swing Bridge (photos)
Author: mfmalk

I first experienced the Maine 2-footers in August of 2008 with a visit to the WW&F Railway at Alna. Since then I’ve ventured back numerous times, with another planned in the near future. Every time driving north on Rt.295 I take notice of the abandoned Grand Trunk standard gauge swing bridge spanning the Back Cove in Portland. I always wanted to explore it but never did. The weekend before Christmas I was in Portland for the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum’s Polar Express train excursions; with some down time one afternoon I finally made it there.

The steel swing bridge and its wooden trestle were constructed to cross over the Portland peninsula, built in 1848 by the Atlantic & St. Lawrence Railroad. Tall masted ships needed to enter the Back Cove, so the bridge was designed to swing open about a center pivot to keep both train and water traffic moving. Quite the balancing act. Active for more than 100 years, in 1984 an arsonist lit the bridge on fire and caused damage beyond repair. It was permanently set in the open position and has been dead in the water since. The Maine Narrow Gauge currently operates on the old right-of-way leading to the bridge from the south around the Eastern Prom, but stops where land meets water.

The conditions presented my way were perfect; low tide, diffused afternoon sunlight, hardly any wind, and an unusually warm air temperature for December. I spent a few hours there, milling around seeking out composition. Imagine the variety of classic trains that crossed this bridge, and the sailing ships which passed by.

Follow the link below to my gallery of images from the day.

Link to Photos


Date: 01/13/20 06:08
Re: Portland’s GT abandoned Swing Bridge (photos)
Author: monaddave

Thanks for the look. I too would watch for this bridge as a kid in the early 60s when I rode with my family to see grandparents in Bath and cross the Back Cove enterance on the US-1 (now I-295) bridge. Never saw a train, but it was one the things that helped peak my interest in trains.
Dave in Msla

Date: 01/13/20 13:25
Re: Portland’s GT abandoned Swing Bridge (photos)
Author: SR2

Nice photos.... great composition.....

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