Friday, November 11, 2011
Paulinskill Viaduct Hainesburg, New Jersey
Traveling around the byways of New Jersey I began to doubt the directions I found, after all how hard could it be to spot what was once considered a wonder of the world. As I traversed the narrow roadway it began to emerge right before me. Focusing my eyes in between the massive trees the mammoth structure began to develop more. I drove my car to the side of the road and exited the vehicle. There I stood before one of the largest structures of it's kind in the world.
Towering 115 feet above the Paulinskill river, the Hainesburg trestle was originally built by the Delaware,Lackawanna, and Western railroad. The viaduct consists of 7 magnificently designed, intricate arches. Each arch is accessible for inspecting the integrity of the viaduct. Completed in 1910, the Paulinskill viaduct, as it's often referred to was once the largest trestle in the world. That recognition was short lived. The following year after the viaduct opened, a larger more massive one was built in neighboring Pennsylvania. But I wasn't here just to take in architectural beauty and American history.
The rail company used the viaduct until they were eventually outsourced in 1979. In 1985 the tracks were tore up and the viaduct became a popular destination. I approached the massive structure and checked for the normal "No Trespassing" signs, to my surprise, I spotted none. I began my slow ascension to the top of the steep hill, approximately half way up the hill I spotted a climbing rope. I gave the rope a hefty tug to make sure it would support me. I supported myself to the top of the hill and onto the colossal structure. I strode across the behemoth railroading bridge, taking in all the surrounding natural beauty of the area, proceeding with more caution every step I took. Many areas of the extension have no supporting rails and there's nothing between you and a hundred feet dive into the shallow waters below. Adding more danger, the structural stability has also become decayed in numerous areas.
There are also numerous narrow manholes atop the overpass. These manholes lead you into the arches of the Paulinskill viaduct. It's the enthrallment of exploring these internal chambers that brings so many urban explorers to this particular place. Getting inside these arches can be quite difficult and very dangerous. Inside the arches are small ladders which guide you from arch to the next, climbing higher in elevation the further along you traverse. There is nothing inside these arches to prevent you from falling into serious injury, or possibly death. Since the demise of the railroad the locals have been braving trips into these abandoned and dangerous chambers.
The once magnificent arches are now mainly covered in graffiti. Most of it your normal obscene art that most teens so proudly display, but also disturbing satanic images are prevalently displayed. Many who live nearby, believe that inside these chambers, rituals are held to summon evil spirits. Throughout the years several murder victims have been found within the vicinity of the viaduct, and several suicides have also taken place at the abandoned structure. It's also believed that during construction a worker died and was buried within the trestle. Maybe that's why I felt someone was spying on me during my entire visit!