To the editor:
The train-trestle spanning the Catskill Creek has been in service for 136 years — when were the piers that support this train bridge last given a thorough inspection by structural engineers who are not on CSX’s payroll?
A casual glance at these structures reveals stress cracks, displaced stones, concrete erosion on both the top and bottom of these piers and ice appearing in various places on the solid, impenetrable surface of the huge concrete abutment on the west bank, (9W side) where water has been able to seep through and freeze which seemingly would result in cracking and weakening of the concrete. These are not assuring signs of the structural integrity of the piers that support the tremendous weight of loaded CSX train-cars that traverse this train bridge frequently with tons and tons of petroleum products and toxic chemicals onboard.
Catskill residents deserve to have confidence in the structural integrity of these piers for if any one of them should ever fail and cause a tragic derailment, not only would their lives be endangered by falling objects, but the environmental impact that could result from spillage of the contents of ruptured train-cars into the Catskill-Creek would be a major catastrophe. Would a top to bottom inspection of these structures, including the long-rusting steel components, by perhaps, DOT engineers, reveal even more problems than those mentioned here? This train-trestle appears to me to be unsafe because of the deficiencies noted — I’m hoping, however, that someone who has inspected the entire structure up close will prove me wrong.