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I received a text message this evening about a fire on the “Enola Low Grade Line Trestle”, along with the above image.  I put the title in quotes, because to me, it was always just “the railroad bridge at Martic Forge”.  I grew up about a mile from the bridge, on the Martic Township side, and recall hearing trains pass over it when I was a child.  I must have passed under the bridge thousands of times–on the way to church, or going to visit my grandparents on my mother’s side, and I passed under it every day while commuting to Millersville College.  It was visible from my school bus route every day (twice) for my entire grade school career,    A few times I floated in an inner tube under the bridge on hot summer afternoons.  And a handful of times (at least twice) I walked over the rail bed and looked down at the creek, far below.

As a child, I always believed that steel didn’t burn, but as an engineer, I learned that steel does soften and burn in structural fires.   It seems likely that the fire will make the bridge impassable and most likely damaged beyond repair.  (Although the pictures of the bridge from April 13 don’t look as bad as I feared–there is still enough of the structure left, perhaps it can be repaired–but I’m sure the steel will need reinforcing.)

Over the years, I photographed the bridge several times, most frequently while driving under it, a way of remembering how I most often saw it.

As Joni Mitchel sang, “Don’t it always seem to go/ you don’t know what you got till it’s gone / they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot”–and then she laughs.

 

 

 

Martic Forge Bridge

 

Martic Forge Bridge

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