5th Crossing/B140.7

5th Crossing/B140.7

The 5th Crossing bridge over the Potomac River once carried the Western Maryland tracks out of Kessler Tunnel in Maryland and over the bridge into West Virginia. As the bridge's builders plate reads it was built in 1905 by the Pennsylavaina Steel Company of Steelton, PA. This appears to be the only builders plate I've seen. All others have been removed from the bridge.

View Larger Map
The photo to the left of the map was taken by a buddy of Warren Hart's after he climbed up on the hillside to get the shot. They had been driving the roadbed shortly after the rails had been pulled up and this shot was taken on one of those many trips. The trees have really grown up in these photos but the cut in the distance towards the 6th Potomac bridge can still be made out.

Looking east in 1997 onto the bridge from Bevan Bend in West Virginia. It's summer and the trees now crowd the right-of-way. It's even hard to spot the bridge "warning" sign to the left of the bridge.

An old photo most likely taken after completion of the bridge and new rail line. I hiked up to the same spot in April 2003 to take some bridge photos. I took this photo of the rusting bridge warning sign, still standing long after abandoment. I believe this is the only sign that remains along the right-of-way today, all others have been ripped off the post or stolen. This sign once read; "WARNING KEEP OFF THE BRIDGE". (1906/2003)

The crossties at western side of the 5th Crossing seen above are covered with moss. This occurs as trees have grown over the bridge here blocking sunlight in the summer months that is need to dry the wood after it rains. Only now they remain moist all the time and are subject to rotting. (April 2003)

Looking east from ontop the bridge. Directly ahead is Kessler Tunnel which is deep in a rock cut. The cliffs to the left and right are reffered to as the Cliffs of Sofia. These are steep rocky cliffs that were the main reason the C&O Canal opted to construct the Paw Paw Tunnel to bypass the river bend that these cliffs are part of. (April 2003)

The bidge was still under construction when the first photo was taken. A wooden trestle would be built first to pour the concrete that eventually formed the peirs. The wooden trestle was constructed higher and higher as the piers rose out of the river. Next the steel bridge would be peiced toeghter resulting in the finished bridge in the second photo. (1904/1906)

Looking down the river from the 5th. bridge.

Looking up river from the 5th. bridge. It is a hot summer day and many boaters were on the river. (7/19/03)

Hiked high up on the hillside and climbed out on some rocks to get this shot. This is looking up the river at the 5th. Potomac bridge. (7/19/03)

At the east side of the bridge the WM crossed into Maryland eastbound or West Virginia westbound. The bridge number still remain painted on the concrete here at the east end of the bridge. A telephone booth was once located here as well, it having been crushed by a falling power pole after abandoment. (4/21/03)

Go West
Go East