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New Exhibit Honors the Hojack Swing Bridge

April 28th, 2014

The control room of the Hojack Swing Bridge has been recreated at the NY Museum of Transportation. [PHOTO: Flickr, M J M]
Rochester’s beloved Hojack Swing Bridge has been gone for more than a year, but now a new exhibit at the New York Museum of Transportation will honor the history of the former Rochester landmark. The exhibit is a re-creation of the bridge’s control cabin and contains the original steam engine, control devices, and a working model of the bridge…

The control room of the Hojack Swing Bridge has been recreated at the NY Museum of Transportation. [PHOTO: Flickr, M J M]
Built in 1905 by the King Bridge Company, the bridge originally carried trains of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad. It was designed to rotate 90 degrees when required to permit passage of river traffic. Power for the rotation was provided by a steam engine located in a control cabin atop the 304 foot long bridge. This engine (shown above) was a product of the Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company. It had two cylinders and was rated at 50 horsepower. The engine is now a main feature of the museum’s exhibit.

When the bridge was no longer needed for rail service, U.S. Coast Guard regulations required its removal. Bridge and history enthusiasts sought ways to save the bridge as an icon of the Charlotte neighborhood, but in the end all efforts failed. CSX Transportation Company, owner of the bridge, generously offered to salvage the steam engine and related control devices provided they be used in an exhibit to preserve the bridge’s history. A grant was provided by the railroad in support of such an exhibit, and a proposal by the New York Museum of Transportation external link was selected.

The control room of the Hojack Swing Bridge has been recreated at the NY Museum of Transportation. [PHOTO: Flickr, M J M]
The museum’s exhibit design recreates the interior of the control cabin. The steam engine and control devices are on display with explanatory texts. Also included is a scale model of the bridge which visitors can operate to align it for the miniature railroad or to clear boat traffic on the river. Two windows looking out over the Genesee River add dimension and an extra note of realism to the exhibit. The entire exhibit was constructed by museum volunteers.

Summer operations at the New York Museum of Transportation begin May 11 and include trolley and train rides and a visit at the neighboring Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. The museum is located at 6393 East River Road external link. Admission, including both museums and the ride between them: $10 adults; $8 seniors age 65 and older; $8 young people age 3 – 17. The museum is run entirely by dedicated volunteers and is open Sundays only, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Weekday group visits can be arranged by appointment. Call (585) 533-1113.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 3:16 pm and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester News, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “New Exhibit Honors the Hojack Swing Bridge”

  1. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Remember it well when they used it for the trains. No longer needed so why keep it there just to look at. If it was of some use it should have been left there And it wasn’t Better to be in a museum.

  2. Dennis B. says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I’m fascinated by Rochester’s railroading history, and some of my ancestors were part of it. Charlotte was served by 3 railroad companies into the 1960’s. There were two coal trestles on the river at one time, one by the ferry terminal, and one in the turnaround basin upriver. I’m not sure what happened to the former, but the latter was wooden and burned. The BR&P then built the steel coal trestle, which was where the main part of Turning Point Park is now, until 1974.

    The Hojack Line which went over the swing bridge was busy until the 1950’s or so. I remember the bridge was still in use when I was in high school around 1990 to 1992 or so.

  3. Michael Dart says:

    My cousins house overlooked the bridge we would see an occasional train. My other cousins lived further east near Seabreeze and the tracks ran through their backyard. I always was fascinated by that bridge.


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