After two years of construction across a 235-foot-deep river gorge in Letchworth State Park, Norfolk Southern has begun operating trains across the new Portageville Bridge on its Southern Tier Line in New York State.
Known regionally as the Portage Bridge, the 963-foot-long steel arch railroad span will support economic growth and jobs across New York’s Southern Tier region, connecting businesses from Buffalo to Albany with markets east and west. The new bridge will speed up train traffic and enable Norfolk Southern to run heavier rail car loads over the line, eliminating a major rail bottleneck for freight shippers.
The $75-million single-track bridge, which spans the Genesee River Gorge, was funded through a public-private partnership among Norfolk Southern, the New York State Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
At 2:20 p.m. Monday, Norfolk Southern’s 36T, an eastbound general merchandise train running from Buffalo to Allentown, Pa., with stops in Corning and Binghamton, N.Y., became the first to run across the new bridge.
The design and construction budget for the bridge project included $15.5 million provided through New York State, including a $2 million grant from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and $13.5 million in state and federal funds through the New York State Department of Transportation; and $59.5 million from Norfolk Southern.
The bridge’s arch design minimizes the railroad’s environmental footprint in the Genesee River Gorge and complements the scenic vistas found in Letchworth State Park. The original trestle constructed by the Erie Railroad in 1875 will be dismantled later this winter.
—Norfolk Southern Corp. Press Release