Still Safe for Trains to Utilize Bridge Near Sink Hole in Plymouth Meeting

As has reported, Butler Pike is closed between Germantown Pike and Plymouth/Flourtown Roads due to a sink hole. The sink hole occurred in August and was recently described by Montgomery County as “large.”

The sink hole is in close proximity to a train overpass. While the road has been closed since the sink hole was discovered, the trains are still running. The above image was taken on October 24th.

So if its hazardous for cars to drive on the road, how is it safe for trains to traverse the bridge? We asked Jonathan Glass, manager of public relations for Norfolk Southern and received the following response:

Norfolk Southern’s railroad bridge over Butler Pike is supported by its own foundation on an abutment that is not connected to the roadway at all. The bridge’s pilings extend at least 40 to 50 feet into the ground and are on solid footing.

The sinkhole is occurring at a culvert that runs under the road, which has no support underneath it. The sinkhole is isolated away from the bridge.

Norfolk Southern personnel in our Engineering Department inspect the track through Plymouth Meeting at least twice a week and also visually inspect the bridge. In addition, a Norfolk Southern bridge inspector was at the site Wednesday, confirming that the sinkhole is not a threat to the integrity of the bridge or to the safety of rail operations.

There you have it.