Retaining Walls Protect Railroad Tracks from Erosion


On January 25, 2010, at around 5pm, John Witmer of Millersburg, Pennsylvania, arrived home to discover that the Old Pony Truss Bridge connecting Route 147 to his private driveway had collapsed and decking from the bridge had fallen onto the railroad track below. Heavy rain caused the bank below the bridge to give way when the 19th century stone and mortar retaining wall supporting it failed. To make matters even worse, a train was scheduled to run along the track beneath the bridge at 5:15pm. Luckily, Witmer was able to slide down the bank, run up the other side and call 9-1-1 to have the train stopped before it got to the debris-covered area of the track.

With the crisis averted, Witmer still needed to find a way to access his property and Norfolk Southern Corporation, owner of the rail line, needed to get their track cleared and the rail line back in service.

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