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Home > Archives > Northeast Regional train approaching the Hell Gate Bridge, 2014.

Northeast Regional train approaching the Hell Gate Bridge, 2014.

Color digital image showing a Northeast Regional train (Washington-New York-Boston) on a viaduct leading to the Hell Gate Bridge; image dates to May 18, 2014.

<i>Northeast Regional</i> train approaching the Hell Gate Bridge, 2014.

The Hell Gate Bridge (far left) and the railroad it carries were part of a larger vision that reshaped New York City’s rail infrastructure at the start of the 20th century, creating better connections between Manhattan and mainland New York and New Jersey. The Hell Gate Bridge is the centerpiece of a complex of bridges and viaducts that links Queens, on Long Island, with the mainland in the Bronx via Randalls and Wards Islands.

Construction of the Hell Gate Bridge’s signature arch began in 1914. Rising 305 feet above the river’s surface, it spans more than 1,017 feet between the two towers. The bridge deck, suspended from the arch, measures 93 feet across and carries trains 135 feet above the water. Altogether, more than 19,400 tons of high-carbon steel were used, and workers installed more than 1.2 million rivets.

The bridge’s opening to passenger rail traffic on April 1, 1917, largely completed the rail line known today as the Northeast Corridor, providing an all-rail route from Boston to Washington, D.C., through New York City. As of 2017, approximately 40 Amtrak Northeast Regional and Acela Express trains cross the bridge each day (as well as freight trains), rewarding customers with breathtaking views of the Empire City.

Photographer: Chuck Gomez for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.