LDG was selected by Strasburg Railroad Company (SRC) to provide engineering services for the replacement of a deteriorated railroad bridge which carries the main track over a farm lane. Strasburg Railroad is a well-known tourist business providing sightseeing tours through the idylic countryside of Lancaster County which includes working Amish farms. Less well-known, but just as valuable, is a growing freight handling business that uses the same short-line track to connect to a siding on the mainline which is serviced by Norfolk Southern. SRC was awarded a grant from the PennDOT Rail Freight Grant program to replace this bridge and allow the freight business to expand using larger freight cars

LDG immediately started survey, wetland delineation, bridge alternative evaluation, and preparing erosion and sedimentation pollution control plans to meet the project deadlines. All deadlines were met on this project through close coordination with the owner and reviewing agencies which included the Lancaster County Conservation District and PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight.

LDG completed three test borings at the project site to determine that the bridge could be founded on rock with overexcavation of unsuitable conditions and replacement with Class C concrete. Through close collaboration with SRC, a precast concrete arch was selected for the project based on cost effectiveness, long term durability, and the desired benefit of avoiding having an open deck like the existing structure. The new bridge was designed to carry modern Cooper E-80 train loadings in accordance with the latest AREMA specifications. LDG designed the bridge with precast concrete foundation units to minimize the construction duration and meet the SRC mandated construction schedule which only permitted the track to be taken out of service for a 15-day window.

The new bridge was designed with 13′-0″ vertical clearance, raising the existing track approximately 3′-0″ over the bridge per railroad requirements. A new track profile was developed with a maximum grade of 1.37% to meet SRC criteria for the regularly-used steam powered locomotives.

The bridge construction and track work were completed by Loftus Construction and Yoder & Sons on November15, 2011 within the timeframe and budget constraints.

LDG was supported on this project by subconsultants, Huck Surveying and John P. Conrad, PE, railroad engineer.