|Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge, Savage, MD
GPS: N 39.13480, W 76.82506
Railfan Access: Great
Description: The Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge at Savage, MD is the sole surviving example of a revolutionary design
in the history of American bridge engineering. The 160-foot double-span truss bridge is one of the oldest standing iron
railroad bridges in the United States; currently, however, it is in use carrying the Savage Mill Trail across the Little
Patuxent River. It was the first successful all-metal bridge design to be adopted and consistently used on a railroad.
The Bollman Bridge is a two-span through-truss, resting on granite abutments at each end and a granite pier in the
middle of the river. The truss structure is a mixture of wrought and cast iron. The truss configuration is the design
patented by Bollman as the "Bollman suspension truss" in 1852. Each span is 79.5 feet long, 25.5 feet wide and about
21 feet tall. The Bollman truss suspends the deck from a network of tension members, while the top chord resists
compressive forces. The system is therefore referred to as a suspension truss. The truss includes decorative elements,
such as Doric styled vertical members. The cast iron end towers, which transfer the weight of the structure to the
abutments and pier, are also detailed. A decorative and protective metal enclosure at the top of the towers was lost
to vandalism, but was replaced during the restoration work. Metal strips at each portal read "W. BOLLMAN,
PATENTEE", "BALTIMORE, MD.", "BUILT BY B&O R.R. CO.", "1869" AND "RENEWED 1866". Replicas of the original
strips were installed during the restoration.
Image coutesy of Todd Sestero
Personal Note: My friend, Todd Sestero, publisher of , and I sometimes have what seem to
be duplicate pages. A good example of this is our Bollman Bridge pages, and while they seem to be redundent, we
believe that each of us has a different slant on the subject. We do share information and assist each other in
research, and share new pages for critique. I was complaining to Todd that all of the available pictures of the Bollman
Bridge in Savage, MD had very restrictive copyright statements and he mentioned that he would go and take pictures
because Savage was not far from his home. So I have more pictures to use. If you check his page, you will see that he
likes to take lots of pictures. In fact, I joke with him that if he would still be using Kodachrome, he would be dead
broke. He assures me that in the past he did and was.
Check out his Bollman Bridge page at: www.railfanguides.us/md/bollman/
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