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Paulinskill Viaduct

If I do this again, I will be better prepared. I will have better maps and directions. I will have had a better idea of what sort of neat things to look for. Considering how much information I'm finding now, there's a lot of stuff we missed due to last-minute planning on my part. In the end, we had fun anyway.

I am referring to my overly-ambitious plan to visit certain abandoned railroads in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This was a scaled-down version of the Original Plan, which involved hopscotching around Pennsylvania through a cornucopia of abandoned bridges, tunnels, railroads, ghost towns, and whatever else I could string together. It would have been hundreds of miles of travel, though, and there was no way we could've done it in a single day. (The Original Plan included a visit to Centralia, which can be an entire day's trip in itself.) I eventually scrapped that idea for what I thought would be a simpler plan: Start at Point A and just hit anything interesting from there.

Point A, in this case, was the Paulinskill Viaduct, an abandoned railroad bridge which spans the Paulins Kill in Hainesburg, NJ. Completed in 1911, it was part of the Lackawanna Cutoff before being abandoned in the 1960s. We visited the Paulinskill Viaduct in May 2002. My fellow adventurers on this mad quest were Kagemushi, Giza, and Carmine. (We dropped Rigel off in Allentown at the pinball expo.) After turning off Route 94 in Hainesburg, we crossed a one-lane bridge and followed a road along the river, eventually arriving at the viaduct (Google Maps link).

We parked underneath the viaduct, and began hiking up the embankment to the top.

A view from below the Paulinskill Viaduct
A view from below the Paulinskill Viaduct.

About midway up, we came to the arched portion of the viaduct. Here we scrambled up a railroad tie that had been propped against the side, and got into the arch. The arch itself is covered with graffiti, probably a popular hangout for local kids.

We climbed a set of iron rungs up one side of the arch, and down the other. A doorway led into a dark room in the viaduct, inside which was an iron beam leading to a doorway on the opposite side. Water was dripping down from the doorway, forming a small puddle at the entrance, and continuing at this point would have been messy, so we turned around.

Paulinskill Viaduct archways
Paulinskill Viaduct archways.

Inside the Paulinskill Viaduct
Inside the Paulinskill Viaduct.

Back at the point in the arch where we had climbed up, there was another doorway leading into the viaduct. I took Kagemushi's flashlight and ventured inside, as there was another room off to the right that we couldn't see into. There wasn't anything in the rooms, just the dirt floor leading up to a wall near the top.

Beware of Viaduct
Beware of Viaduct.


We climbed down the railroad tie and continued our hike to the top. There was a nice view of the river and surrounding area. The sun was shining, and a nice breeze was blowing. We took a leisurely stroll across the top of the viaduct and back, wary of the many missing railings we suspected had been tossed down into the river.

The viaduct was built from 1908-1910
The Paulinskill Viaduct was built from 1908-1910.

Top of the Paulinskill Viaduct
The top of the Paulinskill Viaduct.

Here's a group photo of the four of us on top of the viaduct.

Carmine, Xydexx, Kagemushi, and Giza on the Paulinskill Viaduct
Carmine, Xydexx, Kagemushi, and Giza on the Paulinskill Viaduct.