Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Lyman Viaduct

I was on a mission during my recent hike along the Air Line Trail State Park.  Having learned about the trail and the history of the Air Line Railroad I set out to find one of the engineering marvels I had read about, the Lyman Viaduct.  A quick Google search for the viaduct will turn up all sort of images and some history.  Originally built in 1873, the Lyman Viaduct carried a single track across Dickenson Creek supported by a wrought iron post deck truss design. It was over 1100 feet long and rose to height of 137 feet above the creek.  A picture of what it looked like back in the day is shown below and reminds me of the classic train scenes one sees in old western movies.

It must have been a very impressive site to see, and the views afforded along the viaduct to train passengers must have been magnificent.  As the trains became heavier, the structure became unsafe. So to support the heavier loads, the valley was filled in with sand and gravel, burying the entire trestle and preserving it intact.  Even though it is easy to see pictures of what the viaduct looks like today, I needed to see it for myself.  Here's what I found.

Lyman Viaduct, Colchester, CT

I know long time residents of Connecticut know all about this, but I find this fascinating.  More pictures along the viaduct will be posted in the coming days.


  1. This is interesting. So the structure in the old photo is actually still inside the formation in the second photo? That must have taken a LOT of fill.

  2. Yes, John you're right. That's one reason I find this so fascinating. I don't know how long to took to fill in this valley, but the entire structure is buried now. I'll have some photos of this site later this week.

  3. Wow, what a great story of this trestle bridge. I wonder how much of it is left after being buried in sand and gravel for so long? Perhaps not much.

  4. I have never heard of the Lyman Aqueduct, and I am dazzled at the thought of all the fill that was needed. There must have been an easier way!