Important Railroad News.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company has awarded to Messrs. Jones & Thorne, of Baltimore, the contract for radical changes at Harper’s Ferry. It will use up about $250,000 of the $300,000 appropriated for the alteration which will strengthen the main line and throw out the awkward reverse curve which now exists on the bridge across the Potomac. It will also do away with the single tracck on the bridge and change the road radically along two miles of its length.
The work includes a tunnel 875 feet long through the corner of Maryland Heights. From the point where the tunnel emerges they will build eight lofty piers of Gettysburg granite across and in the Potomac river, upon which will be constructed a steel bridge 700 feet long. Its cost will be defrayed out of the remainder of the money appropriated. The work is to be completed in six months, in time for the World’s Fair traffic, and from 600 to 800 workmen, including the quarrymen of the Gettysburg granite, will be employed. The tunnel and the bridge will each be supplied with double tracks and the blocking of trains by the two present signal towers will be obviated.
Upon the completion of the improvement a train instead of curving off to cross the river will enter the tunnel in the bluff, 1,100 feet east of the old bridge, and, following a straight line, will emerge from the mountain side about 200 feet from the old bridge and about the same distance back from the river’s northern bank and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. It will continue by a straight line directly across the canal and river upon the bridge and strikes the West Virginia side 100 feet west of the old depot in the town of Harper’s Ferry. On that side it will continue until it strikes the bluff along which the tracks are to be laid, on the solid mountain side, 400 feet south of the present tracks. The trains following this course will strike the present tracks a mile above Harper’s Ferry. This arrangement will do away with all the trestle work three-fourths of a mile long at Harper’s Ferry. It will also straighten out every curve and prevent many stoppages that occur because of the single track on the old bridge. The Valley branch of the B. and O., which connects with the main line on the West Virginia end of the bridge instead of striking it by a curve.
The contractors have already shipped several carloads of lumber and material to the point of operations and they are hastening to get to work at the earliest possible moment. The plans for the bridge are under way. The old bridge was built at the close of the war to take the place of the one that was destroyed in course of the hostilities. The B. & O. management has had the recently-adopted plans under consideration many years.
We cannot state positively what relation these improvements will bear to the survey made by the B. & O. along the river from Harper’s Ferry to Cherry Run, but it looks as though this company has on hand a very comprehensive system of improvements. The absolutely level route along the river that can be secured is a very tempting thing to a railroad in these days, when all plans are made with reference to getting the maximum results from equipment at the minimum of cost. We anxiously await further developments concerning the new route through Shepherdstown.
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