Thursday, December 6, 2012

Placer County, California Bridges: Newcastle Underpass across I-80

December 2012 (38.8757 Degrees, -121.1307 Degrees) Newcastle Underpass
Not every railroad bridge crosses I-80 in one fell swoop. The Newcastle Underpass (19-0103) crosses on four spans supported at the expressway's shoulders and median with three column bents. The bridge was built in 1959, it has a state bridge number, and I read that Caltrans is proposing to improve the vertical clearance under it and eight other I-80 crossings near Newcastle.

It was so foggy at the lower elevations this morning that I could barely see the far side of this bridge. I tried to take a photo from the south approach but I couldn't find a way to get there in the fog. This railway constantly goes in and out of tunnels including one with a nice masonry portal just south of the bridge. However, I was unable to find it driving around Newcastle in the fog.

Like the other Union Pacific crossings, the Newcastle Underpass was originally a timber trestle (see photo below). They must have built I-80 where a natural valley already existed between hills.

Based on Chris Graves' comment (see below) I have added the photo above (courtesy of the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum), which (I hope) is of the correct Newcastle Railway Viaduct.
Creative Commons License
Placer County, California Bridges: Newcastle Underpass across I-80 by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

1 comment:

  1. This photo is NOT the Newcastle trestle, which was built in 1864. Newcastle trestle was 64 feet high, and 528 feet long. The Central Pacific Rail Road of California used iron rail, 60 lbs. to the yard in original construction in Newcastle, this photo shows steel rail. The CPRR used rail chairs to hold the rails together, this photo shows angle plate. The CPRR did NOT use ties on bridge construction, rather it used redwood planks running parallel to the rails, This photo shows ties. The CPRR rails were consistently to the left of the telegraph, this photo shows the rails to the right. The Newcastle trestle East end was in a nest of granite boulders, none are shown in this picture.
    There are other challenges, however I believe I have made my point
    G J Chris Graves
    Chairman, Committee What is Truth in Railroad History
    Newcastle, Cal. MP 31