Overview: Completed in 1913, the Bush River Bridge, approximately one half-mile long, connects Edgewood and Perryman, MD. The bridge sits on the busiest segment for freight trains on the entire NEC. The current two-track bridge requires extensive ongoing maintenance, undermining service reliability. During the summer months, a crew of over 20 workers must be assembled to open the bridge for passing boats. Workers manually unbolt the tracks and use a hand crank to open and close the overhead power supply catenary wires like window curtains. During an opening in 2012, the bridge failed to close, delaying all Amtrak trains between New York and Washington for ten hours.
The state of Maryland and Amtrak are planning to replace Bush River Bridge with a new crossing that could provide additional capacity for both passenger service and freight activity. Plans will consider options to construct a new bridge high enough to allow boats to pass below without the need to open the bridge, which would greatly increase reliability for both boats and train riders.