Last Update:  March 29, 2011
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With the demo completed way ahead of schedule in just a few days, the crew begins setting out brand new 10 foot long ties.
Ties that will be set out in between the side I-beams were cut to 9 feet so they would fit.    The stringers were found to be in better shape than
expected and it's thought they were replaced in the late 1970s.   So, no further demo work was needed and construction of the new deck could
begin.  Photos courtesy of Craig Samuels.
The OPR crew working on a rainy day to demo the upper deck of the bridge.   Rails are removed first, then the ties.   Bolts from the tie caps have to
be cut as well.   A lot of work on a miserable day, but the crew completed the demo way ahead of schedule!   
Photos courtesy of Craig Samuels
OPR crew, Tim, Craig and Brian Samuels prepare for the job ahead.   Brian Samuels cutting rail to proper lengths in preparation for rail welding.   
And rails set out ready to be welded prior to installation.
Photos of the bridge just days prior to the complete tie and rail replacement.    Years of patchwork since the late 1970s have kept the bridge in
service, but it was time for a complete upper deck replacement.
Part 2
The OPR undertook a complete renovation of the Johnson Creek trestle, on the AmeriCold Spur of the East Portland
Branch.    OPR crews removed the existing rails, ties and upper deck and replaced with all new material.   Welded rail was
installed over the fresh ties.   Bridge work was completed entirely by the OPR as is most track work on this railroad.   

The Johnson Creek bridge was originally built in 1954 when the new spur was layed as part of the new Milwaukie industrial
park.  It's 127 feet long and consists of an open deck timber trestle with a 12 degree curve to the west.  The ties and
stringers, were replaced in 1978.   

Steel I-beams that were put into place around 1999 to reinforce the bridge when one bent was damaged by flooding.   This is
the only river crossing bridge on the East Portland branch.   

The bridge and spur is unique in that the north approach of the spur to the bridge is not only on a 6% grade, but is also on a
curve.   Crews have to back loads down this spur, around the curve, through an unprotected crossing and then finally over
this bridge, also on a curve.

Currently, this bridge serves exclusively AmeriCold, but they are a regular shipper and the condition of this bridge is critical
for safe and reliable service to AmeriCold.

The project was started in mid January, 2011 and the bridge reopened in very early February, 2011.  Final touches were
completed by mid March, 2011.
Johnson Creek Bridge Renovation
Additional photos showing the bridge renovation underway.
The bridge is now fully decked with all new ties layed out, but not yet spiked in place.   Later they will be adjusted and spiked when rail is layed.
Craig Samuels photos.
Rail welding done by RailWorks.   The OPR crew does the vast majority of its own trackwork.  This is a rare circumstance where work is
contracted out.  In this case, crews were contracted out just to weld the multiple pieces of rail together using specialized equipment.
Craig Samuels photos.
Additional photos of the rail welding taken by Richard Samuels.  Photo on the far right shows OPR's Craig Samuels who took most of the photos
on this page.
Part of the bridge deck replacement project includes replacing a number of ties approaching both ends of the bridge.   This is partly because the
new welded rail will extend slightly past the bridge approaches, but also because many of the ties in this area needed replacement anyway.

Switch ties that used to connect a spur into the OLCC building (seen in photos 2 and 3) were removed as well, as the rails have been gone for
years.   Craig Samuels Photos.
With the rails now welded a few days earlier and Railworks crew now gone, the OPR crew removes the welded rail from the tie blocks and sets
it on the ground.  In a few days it will be dragged onto the bridge and spiked in place.   Richard Samuels is operating the Speed Swing, Craig and
Brian Samuels are on the ground working, with Tim Samuels operating the track hoe.
Bolting up rail and spiking in place.   Craig Samuels (yellow rain gear) and Brian Samuels (green rain gear) are on the ground, with Tim Samuels
working the track hoe.   Years of experience and working together make quick work of the project.
OPR owner, Richard Samuels, looking on at the new deck.  Still a lot of work left to do, but everything coming together nicely.
The west approach to the bridge is probably the most critical.   When loads approach this trestle, they do so, with a conductor on point of a car in a
reverse move, coming off a 6% grade in a curve, then onto the curved trestle.   Approach ties to the trestle are being replaced here by Tim
Samuels in the track hoe.   Tim has thousands of hours of experience in track hoes and can do some amazing things with this piece of
Part 4
This aerial photo of the area is a few years old, but the railroad layout is relatively the same.   The bridge being repaired is in the lower right of this
photo, part of the AmeriCold Spur.   The Americold spur is a 6% grade from just north of this bridge, all the way to 17th street, out of view of this
Part 3
Brian Samuels installs lag bolts to secure some of the ties to the bridge stringers.  Tim Samuels in the background.  Also photos of the OPR
custom made rail rollers.   Craig Samuels Photos.
The new rails for the bridge were welded a few days earlier.  Now it was time to move the rail as one piece to the bridge.   The rail is too heavy to
lift without kinking and dragging the rail over the ties would lead to damage, so rollers were custom designed and constructed in the OPR shops
to allow the rail to be move smoothly over the ties and to the bridge.    The rail was push/pulled into place using the OPR mini track hoe and speed
swing.   Craig Samuels Photos
The fully welded rail was drug into place able to bend under its own weight.    The rail was drug the length of the bridge, then set into place next to
the already spiked down tie plates.   The rail was then jacked and pulled into place before being spiked down.
Craig Samuels Photos.
The second rail was moved into the place much the same way as the first.   Once drug across the bridge, using the first rail as a gauge, the 2nd
rail was pulled into place and then gauged along the way.   Note some of the methods used to pull the rail into place such as winching the rail
using straps across the creek attached to the track hoe on the far bank.   Craig Samuels Photos.
The new welded rail was then bolted to the old rail on the south side of the bridge, with Brian Samuels shown here bolting rail joiners.   In the far
right picture, additional ties were replaced on the south approach to the bridge.   Tim Samuels operating the track hoe.   Craig Samuels Photos.
Brian Samuels operates the OPR mechanical spiker on the new bridge.   The rails were partly hand spiked into place but most spikes were
installed using this spiking machine.   Craig Samuels Photos.
Looking north towards the bridge, the south approach track was freshly ballasted.  Also the bridge is now freshly spiked.
Craig Samuels Photos.
Main rail has been layed and spiked on the bridge, but work is not complete.  The north approach now needs new rail and to be connected to the
bridge rail.   First photo shows fresh ballast on the south approach.   The next two photos shows Richard Samuels bringing a fresh rail from a
nearby stock pile to the north approach.
Craig Samuels pulls spikes and the original lighter gauge rail is removed.   One of several heavier sections of rail are layed into place by Tim
Samuels and the track hoe, to connect the bridge rail to the original rail on the north approach.  Richard Samuels takes measurements for drilling
fresh rail joiner holes.
Brian Samuels uses a special hydraulic drill to make quick work of drilling rail joiner bolt holes.    Then Craig and Brian Samuels bolt up the new
rail to the bridge rail.  
Moving north to the next rail that needed to be replaced, Craig and Richard Samuels work on clearing ballast and pulling spikes.   Brian Samuels
torch cuts the rail and then later torch cuts the old rail joiner bolts.  They're rusted on and would be of no use anyway.
Looking south, the new bridge rail is ready to be moved over and connected to the north bridge approach track.   Wood plugs are installed into the
tie in place of the spike holes that were just pulled.   One old section of rail is removed and measurements are taken for the new rail.
A larger used section of rail is layed into place, but because the rail had one broken end, it had to be flat cut by Brian Sameuls with a special
hydraulic rail cutting wheel.   Tim Samuels then hoists the rail into place with the track hoe and Brian and Craig bolt the rail into place using a
special rail joiner that bolts two rails together of different sizes.
Most pictures taken for this article were from the OPR's Craig Samuels.   As a consequence, he isn't in as many of the photos as the rest of the
crew, but he was working just as hard.  Shown here operating one of the OPR cranes.
Brian Samuels, installing the last of the lag bolts to bolt the ties to the stringers.   Photos by Craig Samuels.
Driving the "golden spike" into the last tie plate, signifying the official completion of the bridge project, with trains ready to pass.   From left to right,
Brian Samuels, Richard Samuels and Tim Samuels take swings at the last spike to driven for the bridge project.
Photos by Craig Samuels.
Left photo:  Left to right, OPR crew members, Craig Samuels, Brian Samuels, Tim Samuels and Richard Samuels.  
Right photo:  Richard Samuels, OPR owner and his partner Kelly Anable.
The first loads pass over the bridge, pushed by the OPR's No. 100, destined for AmeriCold.  Brian Samuels as the conductor.   
Photos by Craig Samuels.
No. 100, with Tim Samuels operating, returns to the shop, passing over the new bridge once again.   AmeriCold manager Troy Thomas and OPR
owner Richard Samuels riding.  Photos by Craig Samuels.
Part 5
The project is almost entirely complete.  The final touches being applied to the bridge including the installation of the wood guardrails shown here
being applied by the crew.   Photos by Craig Samuels.
Part 6
In mid March, 2011, the final touches were added to the bridge when the crew installed the guard rail to the inside rail.    The bridge renovation is
now officially complete and no other work is planned or needed for the foreseeable future.