East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle No. 7 – During the days of the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) Railroad, there were two trestles built at this crossing of Franconia Brook (above). And each trestle serviced different areas of the railroad in today’s Pemigewasset Wilderness. The first trestle 7, known as the original trestle 7, seen above, was unique because horses used the lower deck to cross the brook.
The first trestle was built in the early 1900s, probably 1902, and it serviced the Franconia Brook and Lincoln Brook Branches of the railroad. It was used until 1911. The second trestle was built, probably in 1905, just below the first one and it was abandoned in 1947. And it serviced the Upper East Branch of the railroad (the area surrounding the East and North Fork branches of the Pemigewasset River).
The above photo shows the location of where the first trestle 7 crossed Franconia Brook. In the foreground, the trestle rejoined the railroad bed. And from here the railroad traveled into the Franconia Brook valley. The trestle was much longer and taller than what the old pictures of it would lead us to believe.
Little remains of the first trestle 7 – Along the Lincoln Woods Trail, just south of where today’s footbridge crosses Franconia Brook, holes for the trestle footings are still visible on the western side of the trail. And a few timbers (above), likely from the trestle, remain on the riverbank on the north side of the brook.
Trestle 7 is different than other trestles along the EB&L Railroad because part of it is still in use. No log trains pass over it anymore, but hikers use it on a regular basis. The abutments (above) from the second trestle 7, which serviced the Upper East Branch, support the footbridge that crosses Franconia Brook.
At the far end of the bridge, hikers leave the popular Lincoln Woods Trail and enter into the backcountry of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The 45,000 acre Pemigewasset Wilderness is the largest designated wilderness area in the White Mountain National Forest.
We read about all the negative impact from the late 19th and early 20th-century logging practices, and there is no denying the destruction done during this era. But we take for granted what the railroads left behind. And trestle 7 is a good example of this. Instead of letting the abutments from the second trestle waste away Forest Service has made good use of them. And the ending result is a unique piece of history incorporated into today’s trail system.
To license any of the color photos in this blog article for publications, click on the photo. And to learn more about the railroad see our EB&L Railroad book.
Happy image making..