MAIN STREET INTERSECTION BEFORE THE UNDERPASS. THIS AND ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST TAKEN BY NEAL RANAURO. THEY WILL ALL ENLARGE IF YOU CLICK ON THEM.
The intersection of the railroad and Main Street near Brooks Blvd must have been a nightmare in the 1940’s. With business booming over at Johns Manville and an increasing number of automobiles in town the lines must’ve been backing up for a half a mile to cross town. At the time the railroad industry was still a preffered means of shipping goods with Johns Manville being no exception, boasting 9 frieght line bays for loading cargo. If you go over to the My Manville page and look at the areal photo they have posted you’ll see what I mean. Nine freight launches plus 4 regular frieght line tracks including Passenger service probably produced a train every few minutes. So Manville did what any logical town would do… they built an underpass. This must’ve been an enginieering nightmare since you can’t just close down part of the railroad network for a few weeks so you can build a bridge. What they could do was build the underpass next to the tracks, and then just move them over, which is what they did. Eventually the old site of the tracks became a driveway pulling up to the new train station. Here is seemlingly ground being broken on the project.
By the time the bridge was said and done the old train station sat on a hill in the corner of the Chester House parking lot, and Manville was fitted with a new, modern brick station, which stayed there until the 70’s when passenger service through manville was shut down.
The opening of the bridge was a major town even complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Here are some photos of the celebration… you can see here that it was a pretty big deal in town… if you didn’t think traffic was an age old problem, well these photos show differently.