CASTILE – The golden years of the iconic ‘trestle bridge’ that gracefully spans the Genesee River gorge above the upper falls are gradually coming to an end with the construction and demolition process slated to begin with trail closures on Thursday, Dec. 17.
The bridge is not going anywhere immediately, however, and will continue to operate until a new $70 million bridge is built just 75 feet south of the current bridge by Norfolk Southern, the railroad company that owns the rail. Construction for the new bridge broke ground on Oct. 28 and is expected to carry on through the next 3 years.
A portion of the fabled Letchworth Trail will be closed during construction. On Letchworth’s trail maps, this will be between access points L and K, near Rte. 436, the upper falls and the Glenn Iris Inn.
Access to the Glenn Iris Inn will remain open to foot traffic from other trails.
Norfolk Southern will continue to operate their current train traffic on the trestle bridge of about 12 trains a day until the new bridge is opened in September 2018.
According to Norfolk Southern, the new bridge will be a single-track, 900-f00t long arch. They will also lay 1,200 feet of new track on either side of the Genesee River gorge to align existing tracks with the new bridge.
Many lifelong visitors of the park are chiming in on social media to say their goodbyes to this architectural icon of the Genesee Valley.
“Goodbye old friend,” posted Melissa Rindfleisch Stanley to Facebook. “You will be missed but often remembered.”
The Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive and industrial products.