Lead: In the middle of a howling blizzard during the night of December 26, 1876, the west-bound passenger express of the Cleveland, Ashtabula and Painsville Railroad began to cross the bridge spanning the creek at Ashtabula, Ohio. The bridge failed and the passenger cars plunged 70 feet into the icy darkness.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the middle of the nineteenth century the explosion in railroad construction posed a continuing challenge to bridge builders. Often the most direct route between points lay across large rivers and geographical depressions. The increasing size and weight of locomotives meant that bridges had to bear greater loads over longer distances.

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