On Saturday, I headed back out to Livermore to dig around a little more and follow the 1863 alignment of the Western Pennsylvania Railroad down to the old bridge approach further downriver. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a few years now, and I decided to keep it local since nobody can predict weather in Pittsburgh anymore. Spoiler alert: it didn’t snow.
Anyway, as we know, there’s no indication of the town of Livermore ever existing as far as foundations and structural remains. The railroad alignment sat much higher above the ground and hasn’t been subjected to the constant bombardment of floodwaters that buried any trace of the town deep in the mud of the floodplain. Prior to 1907, when the large stone arch bridges were constructed, the railroad largely followed the course of the river, instead of bridging its way across it. The 1903 Latrobe Quad topographic map shows the course of the original alignment through this area.
A total of three bridges existed between Social Hall and Bow Ridge. I am fairly certain that the Social Hall bridge was reused in the 1907 alignment. Other than that, the four huge stone arch bridges that exist today as part of the West Penn Trail were constructed, straightening the line. This resulted in the bridges west of Livermore and at Bow Ridge being replaced, as well blasting a new tunnel through Bow Ridge. Today I concentrated on the old alignment from Livermore to the first bridge to the west. This 1953 Pittsburgh Regional Map shows (roughly) how the alignment looked after 1907. Very soon after this map was produced, the railroad was forced to move to higher ground to make room for the Conemaugh Dam flood control project.
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