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Altoona Railway Museum Club: The Herman Haupt Bridge

Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum (Unofficial Site)

Haupt Truss Bridge Graphic by Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, record PA-207, dated 1991


This page was last updated: March 08, 2017



"The Pennsylvania Railroad Haupt Truss bridge was one of a series of experimental bridges designed by Herman Haupt, Chief Engineer of the (PRR) from ca 1848 to 1856.  As originally erected in Vandevander, PA, ca 1854, the iron structure was part of five sequential half-through spans consisting of three trusses carrying two rail lines.  One span was moved to Thompsontown (PA) in 1889 where it remained in service until 1984 when it was placed in the exhibition yard of the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona (PA).

The 102 foot long 18 panel Pratt trusses were fabricated by the PRR in Altoona of cast iron web posts and top cords, wrought-iron diagonal braces and bottom chord bars.  Each truss was connected to an arch pair consisting of cast iron segments.  Haupt proposed that arches be added to strengthen the existing truss bridges..."  Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service


Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service Report

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Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service


Recent Events


1-13-83-ALTOONA-MIRROR-Report on Haupt Bridge "Railroaders Museum gets hands on Landmark Bridge"

Part 1 of 2 from an Altoona Mirror article on the truss bridge from Thompsontown, PA.

1-13-83 Altoona Mirror

"Old Bridge Being Dismantled for Rail Museum"

Part 1 of 2.  Article on truss bridge acquired by Altoona Railroader's
Memorial Museum.

12-11-83,  Harrisburg Sunday Patriot News


12-11-83-SUNDAY-PATRIOT-NEW.jpg (40544 bytes)   "Old Bridge Being Dismantled for Rail Museum"

part 2

12-11-83,  Harrisburg Sunday Patriot News


1-13-84-ALTOONA-MIRROR-RE-H.jpg (108342 bytes) 1-13-84 Altoona Mirror
8-19-85-ALT-MIRROR-RE-HAUPT.jpg (147063 bytes) "Railroad Museum Acquires Unique Span"

8-19-85 article from Altoona Mirror on the truss bridge.

8-19-85, Altoona Mirror


18 Feb 2002

On  18 Feb 2002  Cummins McNitt  wrote ".... Our friends in Chicago, under the leadership of Ed Windhorst, are continuing their restoration on the Herman Haupt Truss Bridge. The bridge itself was recently moved to another shop in Nebraska where more extensive restoration will be undertaken. No one has been out to see it, but I am awaiting photos of its progress. We hope to raise about $75,000 to bring her back and to install her on a bridge foundation in the yard. If you look at our yard layout in the lobby you will see its placement. We hope to place a car on top, to show how it was used and to interpret the piece with panels. We recently made a connection with a distant relative. We hope this connection will provide additional help in its interpretation. And, I am awaiting an update on the project from Ed. I will forward it when it arrives."


March 18, 2017

I wish I could tell you the status of this project. However, my last inquiry with the museum, now several years ago, failed to disclose any information. If you are interested in the status of this project, please contact the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Musuem.



Thank you to the Altoona Mirror for allowing the use of their news articles and photographs.


Haupt Truss Bridge Graphic and Report by Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, record PA-207, dated 1991

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Photographs are by Chris Behe unless otherwise noted.