Author Topic: Wiscasset (non two-footer) question  (Read 2278 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Wiscasset (non two-footer) question
« on: January 11, 2009, 11:51:03 PM »
Wiscasset (non two-footer) question has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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TravisMS wrote:
I've had an interest in bridges, trains, etc. for a long while, though I've only finally started to pursue the interests.  I recently walked to the "Iron Bridge" in Wiscasset for some photos and closer inspection, though I wasn't able to get as close as I wanted since the decking was snow-covered and I didn't want to chance twisting an ankle between the ties, or worse!
Does anyone know where I can find additional info about the bridge?  Websites, books, etc?  In particular, I've been trying to figure out what the 'concrete tower' (for lack of a better description) is on the Wiscasset side of the bridge.  My only guess is that it's some form of sand tower, but certainly not like any images I've found anywhere.
(Longtime railroad lover, but knowledge newbie)

James Patten replied:
By the "Iron Bridge" I take it you mean the truss bridge over the Sheepscot rather than any of the trestles over the inlets of the Sheepscot?
That bridge was also a lift bridge, once upon a time (I think the term may be a bascule bridge but I'm not sure).  Theoretically it still is but it's probably rusted shut.  I don't recall a concrete tower, but if it's on the bridge itself it's probably the control room for the bridge.

TravisMS replied:
Yes, I do mean the truss bridge.  The tower was interesting looking.  It's less of a tower and more of a concrete "box" that sits directly above the rail (and is obviously high enough for a train to pass under).  What looked especially interesting was that the steel structure that supports the tower.  Rather than being straight steel supports, they looked like they curved to facilitate "lowering" the tower, pivoting it down until it rested horizontally over the rails (on some large 'pads' to keep it off the rails).  My only guess would be that this could be done for loading whatever went in the box (if in fact that's what it is), but again, I'm a newbie and I've never seen this before.  Also, I didn't feel safe enough to walk out to it with snow covering the ties, so I'll have to return later this year (though I'd like to find a better way so I don't have to cross the bridge between it and downtown Wiscasset while trains are running) so I can get some more detailed pictures.

Wayne Laepple replied:
From your description, Travis, it sounds like you're seeing the concrete counterweight for the bridge. The movable span of the bridge actually rocks back on the curved portions you describe as it tilts to open.

TravisMS replied:
That makes complete sense - not a "box" at all!!

TravisMS replied:
By the way - thank you both for the info!

Dave Buczkowski replied:
I'm  abridge fan as well. Have you tried this site?
BTW, where is the Wiscasset bridge you are discussing. I agree with Wayne, the concrete blocks are counterweights.

TravisMS replied:
Hi Dave,
Yes, I have seen that site.  Actually have emailed him and plan on sending him some new pictures of the recently re-opened suspension footbridge between Topsham and Brunswick.  I'm interested in all types of bridges - the older the better.  But I'm a bit infatuated with suspension bridges!
The railroad bridge in Wiscasset is about a mile up the Sheepscot River from the Route 1 bridge going from Wiscasset to Edgecomb, and is visible from the Route 1 bridge.

Mike Fox replied:
It is the Maine Eastern Bridge over the Sheepscot river in Wiscasset. Viewable from Route 1.

MikeW replied:
Under no circumstance should you attempt to walk the tracks to view this bridge.  In Maine, you can be fined up to $1000 for trespassing on a railroad right of way (even if you are not on the tracks themselves).  Maine Eastern has a zero tolerance policy towards trespass.  Two years ago I was working on the head end of the pasenger train when we came upon a family out on the trestle just to the west of the Sheepscot River bridge.  They were walked back to the shore by the engineer where a sherriff's deputy met them.  Last year saw a very unfortunate death of a trespasser on another bridge.
I suggest that if you'd like to see this bridge closer that you get a boat or canoe.
Here is an aerial view of the bridge I took from the air last fall:
Ed Lecuyer
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