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 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:03 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:22 am
Posts: 5
New news from Delaware. Sad, but not unexpected. Hopefully they will choose to preserve the right-of-way for potential future use and build a trail next to it, rather than on top of it.

In case the link doesn't work here is the text. From the Cape Gazzette, July 11, 2017 article by Nick Roth:

"The section of railroad that runs from Cool Spring to Lewes will be decommissioned after it was determined that repairs to the swing bridge over the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal in Lewes would be too costly.

C.R. McLeod, Department of Transportation’s director of community relations, said the cost to repair the bridge would be more than $3 million.

SPI Pharma, located just outside Cape Henlopen State Park, was the lone entity along the short stretch beyond the bridge that the railroad serves. Delaware Coast Line Railroad operates the railroad and had averaged two to three transports to SPI Pharma per month. The company has been trucking its product since the bridge was closed in September.

“We’ve met with SPI Pharma and Delaware Coast Line Railroad and informed them of our decision,” McLeod said.

Lewes Mayor Ted Becker said there are still three railway cars at SPI Pharma, and they will have to be pushed back over the unstable bridge before the railroad is officially decommissioned. The bridge will be jacked and stabilized to accommodate one last use.

Use of the 100-year-old hand-cranked bridge was halted after it was discovered it had dropped 7 to 8 inches due to settlement of the structure in the canal below.

When the train leaves town with the last three cars, it will end a 144-year history of railroad use in Lewes.

“The train has been an important part of our community in the past, and we’re sad to see it go,” Becker said.

According to an excerpt from Lewes historian Hazel Brittingham in the Journal of the Lewes Historical Society, the original bridge was constructed with arrival of the Junction and Breakwater rail line in Lewes in 1869. It was modernized in 1916 by the Pennsylvania Railroad due to a need for a moveable bridge when the canal was built. It was important at that time because of Fort Miles in modern-day Cape Henlopen State Park as well as the menhaden industry along Lewes Beach. The bridge underwent a major reconstruction in 1997.

It is not yet known if the railroad decommissioning will impact the planned rail-with-trail slated to run along the railroad from Lewes to Georgetown. A public workshop is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 17, to discuss the next phase, which will extend the trail 3.2 miles from Savannah Road, under the Route 1 Nassau bridge and beyond to Minos Conaway Road. Work is slated to begin in the fall of 2018.

See more coverage in the Friday, July 14 edition of the Cape Gazette"

 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:22 am
Posts: 5
And, the end... ... wes/147993

CAPE GAZETTE, by Nick Roth, Dec 19, 2017

UPDATE: Last train to Lewes
Delaware Coast Line Railroad makes final trip to town

After nearly 150 years of service to Lewes, the final train has left town.

Just after 9:30 a.m., Dec. 15, an engine from Delaware Coast Line Railroad pulled three tanker cars from the shadow of the Lewes water tower, past the Lewes Public Library and over Savannah Road one last time.

“What’s sad to me is that history will be lost,” said Dan Herholdt, general manager of Delaware Coast Line Railroad. “The railroad has been in Lewes since the early 1870s, and now it’s done. It’s closing a chapter.”

Until last year, Delaware Coast Line Railroad hauled materials to and from SPI Pharma, a pharmaceutical plant near Cape Henlopen State Park, a few times a month. That all changed when it was discovered the historic swing bridge over the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal was unsafe. After further study, DelDOT determined it would be too expensive to repair the bridge and decided to decommission the railroad line from Cool Spring to SPI Pharma.

The train had to come back to Lewes one last time to haul out three tanker cars stranded at SPI Pharma when the bridge was deemed unsafe. In November, the cars were lifted off the track and onto trailers. They were towed over the Freeman Bridge and placed back on the tracks near the Lewes water tower.

The final train left Lewes with little fanfare. The trip was unannounced and, Herholdt said, there were only a few onlookers as word began to spread. Many people commented on social media that they could hear the train whistle as the train came into town.

Delaware Coast Line Railroad began service to Lewes in October 1982 and averaged about 60 trips per year until 2013. Herholdt estimates his company had made about 650 trips to Lewes.

Despite losing the SPI Pharma as a customer, Herholdt said the railroad increased business by 18 percent this year. He said his company has already added another new customer for 2018.

Customers include two gas companies and Allen Harim.

“We’re fine,” he said. “We’ll have less track to maintain. Now we can focus on what we have to do to make it better.”

The Department of Transportation, which owns the railroad right of way, expects to begin removing the rail line in the spring, with a targeted start in April. Before that can occur, DelDOT must first receive approval from the Surface Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and then the project will be advertised, said Bob Perrine, DelDOT’s railroad program manager. Due to the size and scope, Perrine said, the project should attract national companies and affordable estimates.

The railroad track will end just west of Fisher Road in Cool Spring. The section between Allen Harim in Harbeson and Fisher Road may be used for storage of rail cars, engines and other materials, Herholdt said.

Lewes Mayor and City Council voted 3-1 Dec. 11 to seek preservation of a small section of railroad track between the library and the Rollins Community Center, between Kings Highway and Adams Avenue.

Herholdt said he is happy to see Lewes embrace the town’s long relationship with the railroad.

“If nothing else, it preserves history,” he said. “They could always put static displays on that rail. I’m glad they’re keeping part of it.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated

 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9494
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
See also:

The operators have been discussing a final "farewell" caboose hop and speeder run over the line before the track is removed with at least two railfan groups, I understand, but nothing is guaranteed.

 Post subject: Re: Neat Old Manual Crank Swing Bridge, Lewes, DE
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:42 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9494
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Seven Years Later: ... ome/197238

The Lewes railroad swing bridge is still in need of a home, but officials have found a place to temporarily store it along Gills Neck Road.

Landowner Robert Kennedy has tentatively agreed to lease land adjacent to the bridge for at least three years.

“This is going to give us some time to find a final resting place for the bridge,” said Gary Wray of the Lewes Junction Railroad and Bridge Association, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving railroad history in Lewes. “This gives us time to build consensus on a place, raise money and plan adequately rather than force something down someone’s throat.”

The association has offered several potential homes for the historic bridge, one of only two of its kind left in the country, Wray said. Recent suggestions are Great Marsh Park near the dog park and George H.P. Smith Park as a pedestrian bridge across Blockhouse Pond to its center island.

When a permanent home is found, it will be up to the association to pay for transportation and assembly. Wray said he’s confident the association will receive Community Transportation Funding from legislators and raise whatever else is needed through donations.

Removal of the bridge will be paid for by Delaware Department of Transportation.

The bridge was built in 1916, and over the years it’s served the menhaden fish factory, Cape Henlopen State Park, Fort Miles and, more recently, SPI Pharma.

The railroad from Cool Spring to Lewes was decommissioned in 2017 after it was discovered the bridge had dropped 7 to 8 inches as the structure sank into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal below. Significant erosion has taken place in the canal bank around the bridge structure, which DelDOT believes will be remedied by removing the bridge.

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