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5.31.2019

Martin's Creek Viaduct: Stunning Railroad Bridge in NE PA

It is easy to overlook the Martin's Creek Viaduct/Kingsley Bridge, since it is located within the shadow of the giant Tunkhannock Viaduct, which is just a fifteen minute drive away, but this bridge is spectacular as well. It is a sibling to the Tunkhannock Viaduct/Nicholson Bridge and was built over the same time period, for the same rail line of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. If you check out this bridge, I recommend going to it before you go to Tunkhannock, because you will be thoroughly impressed with the 150 foot height of this bridge, but may be underwhelmed after seeing the 240 foot height of the Tunkhannock Viaduct. Our last visit here took us from the Starrucca Viaduct, which is one of the world's tallest stone-arch rail bridges in the world, to here, and then to Tunkhannock, which was an absolutely mind-blowing experience. All three of these railroad bridges are within close proximity of each other, thanks to the rugged terrain of northeastern Pennsylvania, and the urgency and competitive nature of bringing freight and passengers to and from the world's largest economic engine of the time, New York City. 
The Martin's Creek and Tunkhannock Viaducts were built as part of the Nicholson Cutoff, which was a tremendous engineering triumph for the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. It significantly cut travel times across their previous winding and curving right-of-way, which was later converted into parts of US Route 11. This cutoff allowed for trains to travel at speeds of up to 70 MPH, which was a huge improvement. While it only cutoff about 3 miles of overall mileage, the speed difference in the straightened rail line was huge, giving the railroad a huge competitive advantage.
At 150 feet tall, and 1600 feet long, the bridge was, and remains, one of the world's largest reinforced concrete arch railroad bridges. 
With this bridge being very similar to the nearby Tunkhannock Bridge, the smaller scale of it lets you get a closer view of the architectural details at the higher points of the bridges at a closer vantage point.
The bridge is in such a remote place. Aside from the unincorporated village of Kingsley, which is home to fifty people, this is a serene and remote place. Be sure to check its nearby neighbors, the Tunkhannock Viaduct, and the Starrucca Viaduct.

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