Thames River Railroad Bridge

Amtrak, in association with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), replaced the movable bascule span of the 1917 Thames River Railroad Bridge with a vertical lift span. The bridge, which carries the main line of the Northeast Corridor over the Thames River between New London and Groton, Connecticut, had previously been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. 

In 2005, Amtrak contracted with PAL to complete the Section 106 process by fulfilling the stipulations of a Memorandum of Agreement between Amtrak, the FRA, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Process & Results

In 2008 PAL completed five stipulations designed to minimize or mitigate the adverse effect of the replacement of the moveable span on the historic qualities of the bridge:

  • Obtained a copy of the existing Historic American Engineering Record documentation for the Thames River Bridge from the Library of Congress and forwarded it to the SHPO for transmittal to the Special Collection Library at the University of Connecticut
  • Developed a plan for the inventory, salvage, and curation or adaptive reuse of historic mechanical and electrical components of the moveable span of the bridge
  • Conducted photographic documentation of the disassembly of the moveable span of the Thames River Bridge
  • Prepared a brief history of the Thames River Bridge and a description of the Thames River Bridge Rehabilitation Project for publication in the Society for Industrial Archeology New England Chapters newsletter
  • Re-evaluated the Thames River Bridge for its potential for listing in the National Register of Historic Places after the completion of the rehabilitation project.   

The Thames River Bridge reopened for rail service on June 26, 2008.

Client Name: 
National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
Project Name: 
Thames River Railroad Bridge Rehabilitation
Project Date: 
2005 to 2008
Project Location: 
New London and Groton, Connecticut