ACL Bridge over Appomattox River : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Does anyone know when the current bridge over the Appomattox River was built? I have run across two photo sources from 1903 and 1905 which show a similar bridge, but with different contruction features than the existing today. The photos are identified as "The Belt Line Bridge on the Appomattox" and the other as the "Atlantic Coast Line Trestle". When compared, the photos are of the same bridge. I also have an undated postcard titled "Soldiers guarding A.C.L. bridge, Petersburg, Va. This postcard is of the existing bridge. What's interesting about it is that the soldiers appear to be from around the World War I era. Also is the forms used to construct the arches in the concrete support have not been removed. Did an older bridge exist and a new one built adjacent to it, then the older one removed? Both bridges appear to be in the same general location. In the 1905 photo, clearly visible on the northside is the Ettrick Mill and Virginia Normal School (Virginia State University today). Any help would be appreciated.

-- Keith Wilkerson (, April 20, 2002


As I understand it, moving from west to east, the bridges across the Appomattox were:

* the current CSX bridge. Is it single track? If so, I'd expect the SEHSR project to add a second track. * the SAL bridge, removed after the SAL/ACL merger when the S-line was eliminated from south of Petersburg to Centralia * the ACL bridge carrying the original A-line through downtown Petersburg. It was removed later, perhaps in the 1980s.

-- Chuck Till (, April 25, 2002.


HW's right--you may be thinking of the old SAL bridge which was downriver about a mile or two. It was a long girder bridge with two concretet piers in the center span. Coast Line did rebuilt their long Belt Line bridge in the 1940s, I think, and CSX rebuilt the piers back in 1991. As I recall, the old piers from the pre-1940s bridge are still in place--just like most modern brdiges around the country. Hope this helps.


-- John Golden (, April 22, 2002.

Keith, perhaps the photos you have is not of the ACL RR bridges but that of the Seaboard RR bridges that crossed over the Appomattox River in the vicinity of the mill and college, between Ettrick and the City of Petersburg. The Seaboard constructed the first bridge around 1900 and was located east of the replacement bridge built around 1930. You may want to refer to the book "All Lines North of Raleigh" by William E. Griffin, Jr., pages 46 & 47, to compare your photos with the ones in the book.

Herman Wilkins

-- Herman J. Wilkins (, April 21, 2002.

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