East Branch & Lincoln, Forgotten Trestles

Trestles, remnants of a timber trestle that once spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in the area of Camp 18 along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Trestle 18 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Forgotten Trestles – In October 2015,  I wrote about the forgotten spur lines along the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) Railroad in New Hampshire. And today I am going to continue with this theme and focus on the timber trestles of the railroad.

The EB&L Railroad, built by J.E. Henry, was in operation from 1893-1948 with much of the railroad being in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness. It was considered the elite logging railroad of its time. And the logging practices of this era is one of the reasons why the Wilderness Act is in place today.

Remnants of Trestle 17 along the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire. This trestle spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River near Camp 17.
Trestle 17 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

History indicates that the construction of the trestles along the EB&L Railroad was mostly under the supervision of Levi Dumas, nicknamed “Pork Barrel”. Levi worked for both J.E. Henry and the Parker Young Company (when they took over the railroad). He was in charge of constructing trestles, logging camps and other parts of the railroad.

A hiker crosses over Franconia Brook on a foot bridge in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Old abutments from Trestle 7 of the old the East Branch & Lincoln Logging Railroad are used to support the foot bridge. The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad operated from 1893-1948.
Trestle 7 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

Most of the EB&L Railroad bed can still be followed which makes identifying the locations of trestles along the railroad easy. Some of the old trestle abutments now support foot bridges along the trail system. The abutments of Trestle 7 (above), which crossed Franconia Brook, along today’s Lincoln Woods Trail, is a great example of this. For a better understanding of the trestles, I need to mention that many of them along the EB&L Railroad took on the name of the nearest logging camp. Trestle 7 was near Camp 7, etc..

The historic Timber trestle 16, which crosses Black Brook, along the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire suffered damage from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. A stone support washed away causing a section of the trestle to drop about two feet. This tropical storm caused destruction in the White Mountain National Forest.
Trestle 16 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

You would think that after 60 plus years of non-use combined with the forces of mother nature that all remnants of the trestles along the EB&L Railroad would be gone, but that is not the case. Amazingly, Trestle 16 (above), which crosses Black Brook, is still standing. It is believed that the construction of this trestle was sometime between 1903-1917. Trestle 16 has become an old friend to many logging railroad buffs. And it will be a sad day when it finally does succumb to the elements.

Remnants of a wooden trestle that crossed Franconia Brook just above Camp 10 along the now abandoned East Branch Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire. After crossing Franconia Brook, the railroad traveled around the southern end of Owls Head into the Lincoln Brook Valley of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
Trestle 10 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

Some of the trestles along the EB&L Railroad were long. And Trestle 10, near Camp 10, must of have been impressive because it crossed two sections of Franconia Brook. After crossing Franconia Brook, the railroad traveled around the southern end of Owls Head into the Lincoln Brook Valley of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Today, only the abutment holes and a few bolts from the trestle remain at the Trestle 10 site (above).

Abandoned timber trestle at North Fork Junction along the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire. This trestle spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. The East Branch & Lincoln was a logging railroad which operated from 1893-1948.
North Fork Junction Trestle – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

Another long trestle along the EB&L Railroad was at North Fork Junction. This trestle crossed the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River just below the current Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge. And today remnants of the trestle (above) can still be found on both sides of the river.

Remnants of a trestle along the old East Branch & Lincoln Logging Railroad (1893-1948), near camp 18, in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire. This trestle was used to cross a steep hillside along the railroad.
Hillside Trestle – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

Trestles were also used to cross steep hillsides along the railroad. And one of these trestles was near Crystal Brook where the railroad bed ran along the side of a steep hillside. Today, only the moss covered abutments (above) of the trestle remain, but you can get a good idea of the steepness of the hillside by looking to the right of abutments in the above image.

All of the above images can be licensed for publications by clicking on the image you are interested in. And you can view more new images from the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad here.

Happy image making..


 

Please keep in mind the history of the White Mountains is not cut–and–dry subject matter. The information included in this blog article is based on my research and knowledge of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad.

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes mainly in the environment of New Hampshire. His work is published worldwide, and publication credits include the Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Backpacker Magazine, and The Wilderness Society. His blog articles are intended to create awareness for the environment and to promote his image archive.

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