NJT rail line to AC disrupted for "several days" due to over-height truck

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fairviewroad

Engineer
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,386
A truck driver who ignored height limits for I-95 struck a railroad bridge on I-95 last night, causing damage to the bridge that carries freight and NJT's Atlantic City line (near the Delaware River).

The freeway is shut down as well as rail traffic.

NJT has established a "bus bridge" between Philly-30th and Cherry Hill, but fortunately there's an easy all-rail alternative for many Philly-area passengers in the form of PATCO to Lindenwold.

Hard to say how accurate the NJT website is, however, since they are still posting an alert that the Lindenwold Station is "closed" due to a police investigation...from last October??
 
The bridge should be fixed by the end of the week, that's about all there is in the news. Looks like they're using welding torches to replace the bent parts. It's a freshly painted bridge, at least not obviously some relic.

The story, mostly put together from reddit, due to a lack of questioning journalism, is that the truck was running as a permitted oversize load with pilot vehicles, the first of which should have detected the height. One claimed eyewitness report had the driver getting out afterwards and measuring the truck height. My wild guess is the permit had the height of the thing carried, not the height of it on the trailer. I-95 there has the usual bridge clearances, not low ones.

Questions:
  • Who knew Conrail still had 1200 miles of track, some of it in Detroit? The NJT Atlantic City detour by rail is to take the Patco Speedline to Camden (edit - fairviewroad already said that).
  • Would the highway patrol pull over an obviously oversize load if it did not have pilot vehicles? Usually bridge strikes happen on smaller roads.
  • Where did the trip start and where was it to end? Given the dimensions will they now roll it under the bridge? :) (It's round, if you haven't seen it.) Leave it by the highway as a monument to mistakes in transportation?
  • Could it have been shipped by barge? Or cut up on site? Was I-95 a good route for it, if it had been shorter but still oversized?
  • They lashed it on pretty well. It sayed onboard, and there were no injuries as far as we know.
The truth is the truck had already done damage to the highway, because heavy trucks do that, beyond what they pay in taxes and fees. I'm sure it was convenient to put the thing on a truck though. The rumor is it was scrap. Probably saved a few days in bringing a torch team to the origin site, or putting it on a barge.

I figured it was worth posting since there's been no one else yet!
 
Last edited:
Who knew Conrail still had 1200 miles of track, some of it in Detroit?
Conrail Shared Assets Operations - basically the portions of the original Conrail that are shared between CSX and Norfolk Southern. Operates in 3 areas - North Jersey, South Jersey/Philadelphia, and Detroit providing switching service for the 2 railroads.
 
Would the highway patrol pull over an obviously oversize load if it did not have pilot vehicles? Usually bridge strikes happen on smaller roads.
Yes, the troopers would. However that segment of 95 is a death trap and currently a major work zone. There really isn’t space for safe enforcement actions. The troopers also have no real desire to patrol that piece of the world. The city dumped it on them in the 1990’s when the Highway Patrol became a special crimes task force.
  • Could it have been shipped by barge? Or cut up on site? Was I-95 a good route for it, if it had been shorter but still oversized?
My guess is no. Then yes. Then probably. It was likely headed to one of the huge scrap yards down in the river wards to be on that piece of 95. 95 is the north-south oversized/hazmat route of choice through the city. The bridges on the Schuylkill and Roosevelt Expressway are lower. Aramingo Ave and Richmond Street have the same bridge height under the same railroad as 95. My theory is it was too large to be moving through the city whole. Period. It isn’t a small bridge, but it is the first normal size bridge you hit coming north through the city as most of the highway is elevated.
 
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