In General
Getting Here


In General

Location / Name:
Arlington VA, Arlington County
Washington DC

What's Here:
The Long Bridge

GPS Coordinates: 
    38.877175, -77.036449 north end
    38.871475, -77.041322 south end
Phone A/C: 202 in VA, 202 in DC
ZIP: 22202 in VA, 20024 in DC

Access by train/transit:
North End -- L'Enfant station -- VRE / Amtrak (a lengthy 2.4km/1.5 mi walk)
North End -- DC Metro L'Enfant Plaza station (same distance walk)
South End -- DC Metro Crystal City station (about a 1.2 mile walk, or 1.93km to the end of the bridge; or 7/8 mile (1.4km) to the park viewing area)
South End -- Crystal City VRE station (about 1500 feet closer than the Metro station)


The Scoop:

The Long Bridge is the east coast's version of I-95 for trains.  The bridge provides an important link between the northern and mid-Atlantic states, and the south.

It is a double-track bridge going between Washington DC and Arlington VA in NOVA.  If we can believe the measurement capability of Google Maps, I measure the bridge at 2,533 feet long (772m).  Wikipedia does not list it's length, nor does Bridgehunter.  It has 11 truss spans - ten are from another bridge and one was a new span when the bridge was built.  The crossing also contains a swing bridge to allow for boat traffic on the Potomac River, but it has not been opened since the 60's.

The bridge now handles traffic from CSX, Amtrak, and the VRE.  The Virginia Rail Express is the regional commuter rail line that operates between Washington DC, and Fredericksburg VA and Manassas VA.  According to Wikipedia, Norfolk Southern has trackage rights over the bridge, but does not currently exercise them.

One of the more interesting tidbits of info about the current 115 year old bridge (in 2019), is that the bridge uses ten recycled truss spans from an old Delaware River bridge in Trenton NJ, along with one new truss span and a swing bridge.  The new double-tracked Long Bridge, which opened on August 25, 1904, replaced a single track bridge built in 1884 .

From Bridgehunter dot com: Built 1902-04 with truss spans adapted for reuse from previous bridge (possibly at Trenton, NJ), except for new swing span.  Rebuilt substantially 1942-43 with additional piers added and two steel plate girder spans replacing each iron truss span, except for the swing span.  Built 1904; majorly rebuilt 1942-43 with girder spans replacing truss spans except for swing span.  Non-functioning swing span in navigation channel of the river. Swing span last opened on November 7, 1967 and March 3, 1969.

If you want to consider it "lucky", Virginia is lucky in the sense that they have not one, but TWO Long Bridges.  The other Long Bridge is located in central Virginia near Farmville, and thanks to my daughter Tina, I have a page for the bridge here.

Denver Todd
Elvert Barnes
Greater Greater Washington

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area: PDF's of the Alexandria Quadrangle map from 1945 on up

Getting Here

Oooooooh, there are so many options!

By car:


By transit and walking:

If you want to take transit and walk to the bridge, be prepared to walk.  All walks are over a mile.  Only attempt if you are in good physical condition!



The center span from 1904.....

From Ohio Drive SW, in DC, with a SouthWest jet landing at National Airport.


There are a couple of other short bridges going over the roads on the approach to each end of the Long Bridge.

  VA -- Over the George Washington Memorial Parkway

  DC -- Over I-395

  DC -- Over Ohio Drive SW

  DC -- Over Maine Ave SW


  Colorlights on the south end of the bridge

These two sets of signals are for SB trains coming off the bridge into Virginia, as seen from the George Washington Memorial Parkway.




Plans are underway to add a parallel bridge in order to be able to increase train frequency for Amtrak and VRE, since CSX doesn't seem to be especially cooperative in making additional time slots available on the Long Bridge.

Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy the above link.....


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


NEW NOV22/2018
Last Modified 24-Nov-2019