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5.25.2017

Rockville Bridge: World's Longest Stone Masonry Arch Rail Bridge

As someone into railroading, almost anything along a rail line sparks my interest to check out. I have always appreciated railroading, largely stemming from my parents taking me to the incredible Strasburg Railroad near Lancaster, and Steamtown in Scranton. As someone who has traveled through Harrisburg for my entire life, I have always been captivated looking out at the Rockville Bridge. This tremendous bridge crosses the Susquehanna River between Rockville, Dauphin County, and Marysville in Perry County, just north of Harrisburg.
The wide and extremely shallow nature of the Susquehanna makes this river stand out from the rest of the state's rivers, with most of the major rivers tending to be thinner and deeper. The Rockville Bridge, the Reading Railroad Bridge, and the Cumberland Railroad Bridge, in addition to the amazing street bridges across the Susquehanna River in this region, have an absurdly large amount of arches/piers. If you stand at the bottom and the end of any of these bridges, they are so large that they almost look as if they are endless. The immensity and unique nature of these bridges make all these sites awesome sights to behold, especially for people who love to see incredible engineering, bridges, and railroads. If you do not have interest in those things, you just may end up doing so after seeing this bridge.


The Rockville Bridge is the longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge in the world. The bridge has forty-eight spans that are seventy feet long. The bridge is 3,820 feet long. It was built by the famed Pennsylvania Railroad Company and was integral to helping the allies win in World War I and World War II. The bridge was heavily guarded during these wars, especially after the Pennsylvania Railroad's Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, was nearly the target of a potential sabotage effort by Nazi spies. The bridge had  trains on it almost 24-7 through the entire war effort, and even today, the bridge is very heavily used by Norfolk Southern and Amtrak trains. For anyone who loves watching trains, this place is an absolute joy to check out.
This visit was particularly special, for the eastbound Amtrak Pennsylvanian train was just passing through after having originated in Pittsburgh and traveled through the station towns of Greensburg, Latrobe, Johnstown, Altoona, Tyrone, Huntingdon, and Lewistown. The bridge is just a few miles from the Harrisburg station, where the train will then journey to other towns, including Lancaster and Philadelphia, en route to its final destination in New York City.
As I stated earlier in the article, the immense Rockville Bridge is awesome to check out, especially for rail fans, though I believe that it is impossible to not be impressed with it. 


The Fort Hunter Mansion and Park has the clearest publicly accessible views of the bridge, in addition to nice picnic areas, and a center of history from the Revolutionary War times, with other awesome things, including the Everhart Covered Bridge, which dates back to 1881. Very nice place.

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