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Rader Sidetrack

New Member
The link below has an article from the Southern Railway company magazine "Ties".

The article says, in part:

More than 80 years ago they told William Harris Hardy that it couldn't be built.

Hardy was a vice president of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad and the thing that "couldn't be built" was a proposed 21-mile-long railroad bridge across swampy land and Lake Pontchartrain just north of New Orleans, La.

Hardy chose to ignore the doubters, and his railroad proceeded to build what was at the time the longest bridge in the world and is yet today a vital link in the Southern Railway System's NO&NE line, which runs between Meridian, Miss., and New Orleans.

Pontchartrain is the largest lake in Louisiana and the largest salt water lake in the world, with an area of some 630 square miles. When the bridge was first built, the approaches spanned some 12 miles of swampy ground on the south side of the lake and an additional three miles on the north end.

In November, 1884, the first passenger train crossed Pontchartrain Bridge on a trial run at a speed of 40 miles per hour. No doubt the proudest passenger on that train was Hardy himself. He had made his point.

By 1896, the wooden trestle over the swampy ground at both ends of the bridge had been replaced with earth fill, leaving the five and three - quarter miles of trestle that bridge the lake.

The "cover date" appears to be May 1965, so consider that when evaluating the "more than 80 years ago" statement.


New Member
thanks graham.
it kind of ruins my claim that the venice bridge was the longest water spanning bridge for over 100 years, in fact I had missed the pontchartrain altogether and had originally claimed that it wa the longest in the world till this century. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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