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The Hell Gate Bridge (originally the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge or The East River Arch Bridge) is a steel arch railroad bridge between Astoriamarker in the borough of Queensmarker and Randall'smarker and Ward's Islandsmarker (which are now joined into one island and are politically part of Manhattanmarker) in New York Citymarker, over a portion of the East Rivermarker known as Hell Gate.

The bridge is used by Amtrak and by some CSX, Canadian Pacific, Providence & Worcester Railroad, and New York and Atlantic freight trains. The bridge and structure are owned by Amtrak, part of its Washington, D.C.marker to Bostonmarker electrified main line known as the Northeast Corridor. Metro-North Railroad trains may one day run on the bridge. The bridge is also part of the New York Connecting Railroad, a rail line that links New York Citymarker and Long Islandmarker to the North American mainland.

The Hell Gate Bridge runs parallel to the Queens span of the Robert F.marker Kennedy Bridgemarker, which connects Queens, the Bronxmarker, and Manhattan, and drivers can see the length of the bridge just east of the roadway.

The great arch bridge is the largest of three bridges, along with more than long of approach spans and viaducts, that form the Hell Gate complex. An inverted bowstring truss bridge with four spans crosses the Little Hell Gatemarker (now filled in); and a fixed truss bridge crosses the Bronx Killmarker (now narrowed by fill).

This bridge was the inspiration for the Sydney Harbour Bridgemarker in Sydney, Australiamarker.


Hell Gate Bridge, ca. 1917
Hell Gate bridge under construction circa 1915
The approach to Hell Gate bridge under construction circa 1915
The bridge was conceived in the early 1900s as a way to link New Yorkmarker and the Pennsylvania Railroad with New Englandmarker and the New Haven Railroad.

Construction was overseen by Gustav Lindenthal, whose original design left a gap of between the steel arch and the masonry towers. Fearing that the public assumed that the towers were structurally integral to the bridge, Lindenthal added aesthetic girders between the upper chord of the arch and the towers to make the structure appear more robust.The original plans for the piers on the long approach ramps called for a steel lattice structure. The design was changed to smooth concrete to soothe concerns that asylum inmates on Ward's and Randall's islands would climb the piers to escape.

The engineering was so precise that when the last section of the main span was lifted into place, the final adjustment needed to join everything together was . The bridge was completed on September 30, 1916.
It was the world's longest steel arch bridge until the Bayonne Bridgemarker was opened in 1931, and was surpassed again by the Sydney Harbour Bridgemarker in 1932.

The bridge originally carried four tracks, two each for passenger and freight, but one freight track was abandoned in the mid-1970s. At one time, all tracks were electrified with the NH-PRR standard 11 kV 25 Hz overhead catenary; the passenger tracks since 1917, and the freight tracks from 1927 to 1969.

In 1996, the bridge received a facelift, including its first comprehensive paint job in 80 years. It was painted "Hell Gate Red," a dark, natural red. The bridge would be the last New York City bridge to collapse if humans disappeared, taking at least a millennium to do so, according to the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine. Most other bridges would fall in about 300 years.


Image: Hellgate Bridge Astoria Park.jpg|View from Astoria Parkmarker at dawnImage:HellGateApproach.JPG|View to the south from a locomotive cabImage:Hell Gate and Robert F. Kennedy Bridges New York City Queens.jpg|Aerial view of the Robert F.marker Kennedy Bridgemarker (left) and the Hell Gate Bridge (right)Image:Hellgatemaintug.JPG|Seen from the Robert F.marker Kennedy BridgemarkerImage:HellGateSummer.jpg|View from Astoria Parkmarker on a summer afternoonFile:Astoria Park Panorama of Triborough and Hell's Gate Bridges.jpg|A panorama of the Hell Gate Bridge and Robert F.marker Kennedy Bridgemarker from Astoria Parkmarker

See also

External links


  1. Hell Gate Bridge
  2. Hell Gate Bridge

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