Talbot Avenue Bridge is Closed Indefinitely

December 28, 1959. B&O E-7A #1415 heads up a race track special, headed Westbound for Charleston, WV. The photographer stands on the front of the Georgetown local, doing its switching before heading down the line to Georgetown. Photographer: Ray Mumford.

A sad day, indeed. This has been coming for a while, but is nonetheless tough to swallow. The iconic Talbot Avenue bridge, which has spanned the Metropolitan & Georgetown Branches of the B&O for so many years is closed indefinitely after failing a safety inspection. The bridge has been on the chopping block for a while now, being in the way of the Purple Line construction which is on hold while a lawsuit is reconciled.

I, for one, am most sad to see the bridge go because it is so iconic in all of the photos I have collected and seen showing action at Georgetown Junction. The bridge is always there, in the background, off in the distance in the shots of B&O trains switching the Branch or screaming off East or West, hauling passengers or commuters. The bridge witnessed the 1996 tragedy and remained. The bridge has been rebuild after most of the iron rotted away from years and years of salt and weather corroded the supports to frail remnants.

It will be a sad day when they finally remove the bridge and there is a hole where it once was. There is a grassroots effort to preserve the bridge as a symbol of the legacy of segregation in the local area; let’s hope they are successful. Read more here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/historic-maryland-bridge-is-closed-after-failing-inspection/2017/05/02/90f6ba70-2f71-11e7-8674-437ddb6e813e_story.html

5 thoughts on “Talbot Avenue Bridge is Closed Indefinitely

  1. There have been allegations that this bridge was built using main girders from a former railroad turntable bridge, supposedly from Martinsburg, West Va., but I’ve never been able to verify said allegations. The bridge was extensively rehabilitated in 1995, and it appears vintage riveting on the girders was replaced with newer bolts.

    Has anyone ever managed to confirm or refute the “turntable” story? One has to admit, the gorders sure LOOK like an inverted turntable, and I’ve seen other examples of such bridges, but……

  2. As far as I know, the side beams of the bridge are indeed parts from a turntable bridge. As far as Martinsburg is concerned, the belief is not that it came from the Martinsburg turntable, but rather from the Martinsburg Bridge Shop. I would like to see someone study the bridge to verify its lineage. I have a bridge sketch book for all of the bridges across the Georgetown Branch which lists their history. Unfortunately this one is not included b/c it’s located on the Met. The B&ORRHS probably has a plan of the Talbot bridge somewhere. Will have to go have a look some day!

  3. I grew up near this bridge. During the 40’s, we would stand on it and another nearby bridge to watch the trains pass underneath. At that time it was a segregated area and the bridge went between the 2 neighborhoods. Later (50’s), I could drive across it as a short cut from my side of the tracks to East-West Highway. I haven’t been there for decades and have no idea what use the bridge has now. Still, it is a shame it is such disrepair.

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