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Mississippi River Crossings

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  • Member since
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Posted by nanaimo73 on Friday, April 21, 2006 9:50 AM
From the Quad Cities Times, April 21st, 2006-
http://www.qctimes.net/articles/2006/04/21/news/local/doc44486c8c76c97948201555.txt  

First railroad bridge over river opened on this date
By John Willard
On this day 150 years ago, transportation history was made in the Quad-Cities with the opening of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River.
With bridge workers aboard, the locomotive Fort Des Moines, of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad, crossed the bridge between Rock Island and Davenport at dusk on Monday, April 21, 1856. At about 9 p.m., another locomotive pulling 10 heavily loaded freight cars bound for Iowa City crossed the bridge.
The next day, the first passenger train — a locomotive, baggage car and one passenger car — made the crossing.
“The church bells of the twin-cities rang out their joyous notes in honor of the achievement, and cheer upon cheer went up from the crowds along the line,” the Rock Island Argus reported on April 23, 1856.
The opening of the bridge was a significant achievement. In addition to opening up the West, the bridge signaled a shift in the nation’s transportation system from water to rail.
The Quad-Cities achieved the distinction of getting the structure through the efforts of railroad developer Henry Farnam.
Although several railroads were interested in crossing the Mississippi River in their race to reach the West, Farnam figured the Rock Island Line had the best shot because of the location of its route. It extended from Chicago to Rock Island, a distance of 181 miles, the shortest distance between Chicago and the Mississippi River. In addition, the Rock’s route was through a gentle valley free of hills and other obstructions.
In the fall of 1852, the Rock Island Line hired Farnam to build the railroad. On Feb. 22, 1854, the completion of the railroad to Rock Island was celebrated with a gala dinner in Rock Island. In June of that year, dignitaries from the East Coast rode the rails to Rock Island for a gala steamboat excursion up the Mississippi River to St. Paul, Minn., an event known as the Grand Excursion.
Just two weeks after the bridge opened to rail traffic, the steamboat Effie Afton struck a bridge pier, setting off a fire that destroyed the wooden structure. In a lawsuit filed by the steamboat’s owners, future president Abraham Lincoln represented the railroad. After lengthy litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the railroad.
The original bridge was repaired, with replacements built in 1866, 1872 and 1896. The 1896 structure still operates as the A rsenal Bridge.
The completion of the original bridge will be celebrated Sept. 14-18 during “RiverWay 2006, Celebrating the Mississippi River in the Quad-Cities: Bridging the river, connecting the continent.”
Plans call for excursions aboard a passenger train drawn by a vintage steam locomotive, a Mississippi River “ghost bridge” created by light reflected off sprays of water, and other special events.
People interested in joining the effort can contact River Action Inc. at (563) 322-2969.

John Willard can be contacted at
(563) 383-2314 or jwillard@qctimse.com.
Dale
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Posted by spokyone on Saturday, February 03, 2007 10:23 PM

Thanks for the great postings. At age 2 to 6, my family lived on southern edge of Hamilton, near the tracks. My father worked in Keokuk and due to WW2 he walked on the rail level  because the highway approach was much longer. I remember the covered road bridge on the approach. At last I have found some pics at this web site for bridge #42


http://www.hamiltonillinois.org/Final%20Photo%20Album/Historical/index.html

 

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Posted by Ishmael on Tuesday, May 01, 2007 4:03 PM

 engineer wrote:
Here is some additional information to the ferry crossing at Ste.Genevieve, MO. There was a ferry that crossed the Mississippi from Thomure, MO to Kellog, IL. (I don't belive Thomure exists anymore) This line started life as the Illinois-Southern RR. It ran from Bismarck,MO to Centralia,IL. It was later named the Mike 'n Ike, (MoPac), and it is still there, on the MO side, with ownership being the Union Pacific.

Also, a couple of miles south of that, there was a ferry crossing around Chester,IL. It was located at the Northern end of the Louis Houck Railroad. Officially known as the "Cape Girardeau Northern" I do not remember that station's name anymore. But, the ferry crossed from here to Chester.

Engineer, the town on the Missouri side was called Claryville, but is now called West Chester. You can call it anything you want because there's nothing there anymore. There is a highway bridge crossing the river at this point and some good activity on the UP on the Illinois side. I've done some research on the CGN and don't believe they ever crossed the river. In fact, they used that line so little that the grass grew over it and the farmers pulled the ties out to use for retaining walls and other projects.

The town, (again no town left) of McBride is on the BNSF (ex-Frisco) in front of the bluff.

Also the Mike 'n Ike was officially the Missouri-Illinois, and they still run from Thomure (a few houses) up into Bonne Terre. They have a heck of a grade coming south out of Bonne Terre and I have some photos of a short train climbing the hill at walking speed.

Baltimore and Ohio-America's First Railroad
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, May 11, 2007 7:32 PM
Hi,

I am doing photo tours of each of the bridges and structures that crosses the Mississippi
River, including both auto and rail bridges. I have found two conflicting dates for the
opening of the Short Line bridge in Minneapolis (ex Milwaukee Road). The historical
society and library came up with dates in 1902. The guide below has 1880. Any idea
which one is right? Was there an earlier bridge between 1880 and 1902?

Also, does anyone know details on the history of the Quincy Bridge? The first bridge
was built in 1868. It was rebuilt on the same alignment in 1899. The 1899 bridge
had wagon paths added to each side of the structure. The new highway bridge opened
in 1930, so the wagon paths were removed from the 1899 bridge in the early 1930s.
A new bridge was built on a new alignment in 1960. My question is when was the 1899
rail bridge removed? The only source I have found gives 1943, but that cannot be right
since that would have meant no bridge for 17 years. It would also be nice to know when
the wagon decks were removed.

Thanks,

-john-
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, May 14, 2007 4:37 PM

Thanks for the interesting post (I'm a long-time Trains subscriber, but just found this forum today). We visited Keithsburg July 5, 1981, the day the 220 foot vertical lift span was to be demolished. Unfortunately, there were some delays with placing all the charges and we had to leave for home before the structure was blown.  

I took the picture: http://i3.tinypic.com/5zfd8aw.jpg  when we returned to Keithsburg 10 years later in 1991. The gap shown in the picture is wider than the 220 feet that the lift span once bridged; when the lift span fell into the river it also dislodged the adjacent fixed span. That span and its pier were removed a few years later to improve river navigation. One can also see in the pictures the piers from an earlier railroad bridge.

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Posted by spokyone on Monday, May 14, 2007 10:06 PM

Welcome

Custom Smiley
Opa. Thanks for the post. If you visit Keithsburg again you will see this.

The bridge is in the background.





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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, May 21, 2007 4:29 PM

Hi, Bob,

   Thanks for the picture. Now where have I seen one of these engines before? Hmmm. Oh, here it is:

   I recently sold the engine. I'm 76 and the time has come to clear the display shelves and thin out my collection of Lionel postwar equipment. My heirs wouldn't have a clue as to what to do with all my stuff. I'm hanging on to some of the trains on my layout, though. Even old boys need some toys.

   I live in eastern Iowa and perhaps this fall we'll make another trip to Keithsburg. But although it's not all that far, it's not the easiest place to get to. First we head east, crossing the Mississippi at Davenport; then turn south for about 40 miles and finally go west for about 20 miles to get back to the river at Keithsburg.

   I spend time in several forums but I'm not used to this one. Is there a way when I post a reply that I can link my reply post to the one that I'm replying to?

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Posted by spokyone on Monday, May 21, 2007 6:54 PM
 Opahujo wrote:

Hi, Bob,

   Thanks for the picture. Now where have I seen one of these engines before? Hmmm. Oh, here it is:

   I recently sold the engine. I'm 76 and the time has come to clear the display shelves and thin out my collection of Lionel postwar equipment. My heirs wouldn't have a clue as to what to do with all my stuff. I'm hanging on to some of the trains on my layout, though. Even old boys need some toys.

   I live in eastern Iowa and perhaps this fall we'll make another trip to Keithsburg. But although it's not all that far, it's not the easiest place to get to. First we head east, crossing the Mississippi at Davenport; then turn south for about 40 miles and finally go west for about 20 miles to get back to the river at Keithsburg.

   I spend time in several forums but I'm not used to this one. Is there a way when I post a reply that I can link my reply post to the one that I'm replying to?

Just click on the quote box that is next to the reply button, like I just did. As you drive east on I-80 you pass the rest stop. Next exit is 38 South. Follow business route 61 in Muscatine. You will see the bridge and hiway 92 on your left. Cross the bridge and turn right at the church, then left at the stop sign on Hiway 17. Then turn right, (south) where the sign says Keithsburg. This way saves a lot of miles. Then you can continue south and go through Burlington IA on your way back.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:54 PM
 spokyone wrote:
 Opahujo wrote:

Hi, Bob,

   Thanks for the picture. Now where have I seen one of these engines before? Hmmm. Oh, here it is:

   I recently sold the engine. I'm 76 and the time has come to clear the display shelves and thin out my collection of Lionel postwar equipment. My heirs wouldn't have a clue as to what to do with all my stuff. I'm hanging on to some of the trains on my layout, though. Even old boys need some toys.

   I live in eastern Iowa and perhaps this fall we'll make another trip to Keithsburg. But although it's not all that far, it's not the easiest place to get to. First we head east, crossing the Mississippi at Davenport; then turn south for about 40 miles and finally go west for about 20 miles to get back to the river at Keithsburg.

   I spend time in several forums but I'm not used to this one. Is there a way when I post a reply that I can link my reply post to the one that I'm replying to?

Just click on the quote box that is next to the reply button, like I just did. As you drive east on I-80 you pass the rest stop. Next exit is 38 South. Follow business route 61 in Muscatine. You will see the bridge and hiway 92 on your left. Cross the bridge and turn right at the church, then left at the stop sign on Hiway 17. Then turn right, (south) where the sign says Keithsburg. This way saves a lot of miles. Then you can continue south and go through Burlington IA on your way back.

Thanks for the tip. I'm quite familiar with hwy 38 to Muscatine, but I had never considered the road that runs south on the other side of the river in the direction of New Boston. That route looks a lot shorter.

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Posted by blhanel on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:29 PM
Sign - Welcome [#welcome] to the Trains.com forum, Opahujo, from another Eastern Iowan!
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Posted by blhanel on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:48 PM

BTW, Dale, I got another shot of #33 at Dubuque a couple of weeks back from a different angle, complete with train...

 

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:06 AM
 blhanel wrote:
complete with train...

 

As it should be ! Thanks, Brian.  Smile [:)]

Dale
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, May 27, 2007 4:38 PM

 blhanel wrote:
Sign - Welcome [#welcome] to the Trains.com forum, Opahujo, from another Eastern Iowan!

Brian, thanks for the welcome. Check out the UP challenger (near Mechanicsville, Aug.1996) in my Sig. Sorry about the fuzzyness of the scanned photograph.

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Posted by spokyone on Friday, September 07, 2007 10:39 PM
And here is a pic of #36 at Clinton, with train hurrying to get across before our riverboat arrives.
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Posted by spokyone on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 10:42 PM

 nanaimo73 wrote:

FERRY-The Missouri-Illinois Railroad operated in Illinois and in Missouri and
connected here by boat. Service was from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to Kellogg,
Illinois between 1902 and July 18, 1961. Bridge #51 was then used until the M-I was merged into the Missouri Pacific.
Terraserver   Googlemap   M-I article

We recently used this ferry from Illinois to MO. Ste. Genevieve is a preserved historic downtown area with many stone buildings being used as offices & gift shops etc. On the Illinois side, UP has tracks that are gated through the levee. When needed, a forklift places the concrete slabs in the guides. I did not notice where the old ROW would have been on the MO side, where it connected to the present BNSF tracks. Here is a couple of pics to share.

Approaching Missouri.

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Posted by spokyone on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:16 PM

 nanaimo73 wrote:

FERRY-This run was between the St. Louis & Iron Mountain (later Missouri Pacific)
at Belmont, Missouri over to the Mobile and Ohio in Columbus, Kentucky.
Ferry service ended on this route during 1911.
Terraserver   Googlemap

About 12 mile south of this location is a car ferry between Hickman KY and Dorena MO. These two towns are not very pleasing to the eye. Hickman has some barge loading facilities.
  All of the car ferries from Cassville WI to here are very similar. We have used all but one, from WI to Memphis. We saw a lot of barge traffic that cloudy day at Hickman.

 

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Posted by spokyone on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:27 PM
 nanaimo73 wrote:

Memphis - Harahan 
The next two bridges are beside each other at Memphis, along with the Interstate 55 bridge.
Bridge #52 is the Harahan bridge, the former Arkansas and Memphis Railway Bridge and Terminal Company (Missouri Pacific, Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, and St. Louis Southwestern) bridge. This was opened in 1916 and is now used by Union Pacific. To the west the Union Pacific line at Briark Junction splits with the former Missouri Pacific line heading west for Bald Knob and the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific line (used by Cotton Belt) heads southwest for Brinkley and (formerly) Little Rock. To the east is IC Crossing, where the MP, CRI&P, SSW and SLSF lines met Illinois Central's north-south mainline. This IC line is now Canadian National, and is used by Amtrak's City of New Orleans. Five of the 11 diamonds are still located at IC Junction.
Terraserver   WikiMapia    Googlemap   article   article   Bridgehunter 
 Wikipedia   Photos   Photo   Photos   Photos 
61 b/w photos of these bridges can be seen on the following website by searching "mississippi bridge" and going to #14
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/habs_haer/  
Passenger- The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific ran passenger trains over Harahan Bridge until November 10, 1967.  
Traffic- moderate (40 to 60 GMT)
Bridge type- fixed
.

Memphis - Frisco 
Bridge #53 is the Frisco Bridge, opened in May of 1892 for the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis. The KCFS&M became part of the St. Louis-San Francisco. SLSF joined Burlington Northern in 1980 and is now BNSF. The third bridge here is Interstate 55.
To the west is Bridge Junction, where the BNSF (SLSF) line crosses over the UP and heads northwest. After 20 miles this line separates at River Junction with one line 
going to St. Louis and the other to Springfield. To the east is IC Crossing, which is now a Canadian National mainline used by Amtrak's City of New Orleans. 
Terraserver   WikiMapia   Googlemap   article   article   Bridgehunter 
ASCE article    Wikipedia   Photo   Photos   Photos 
Passenger- The last St. Louis-San Francisco passenger train using the bridge
operated on December 9, 1967. 
Traffic- heavy (60 to 100 GMT)
Bridge type- fixed


 Here is best pic from our recent trip as viewed from Martyr's Park.

 

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:57 PM

Nice pitures, Bob. Thanks for posting them.

Some day I will have to complete my travels, and tour the River south from Dubuque. 

Dale
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 06, 2008 10:58 AM
Just a short note to nanaimo73 - thanks for putting in the links to my website.
Unfortunately, my URL's changed recently when I was forced to move to a new
server. So, any link that starts "http://www.visi.com/~jweeks" should be updated
to be "http://www.johnweeks.com". The hostname changed, and the ~jweeks is
no longer needed.

I have also started photographing bridges on the Missouri River. I have photos
and write-ups for South Dakota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana. There are
not many railroad bridges in this area, but the ones that are there are quite
interesting.

-john-

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 4:06 PM

Thanks for the heads up, John.

You have done some pretty good work.

JohnWeeks.Mississippi.headwaters
JohnWeeks.Mississippi.twincities
JohnWeeks.Mississippi.upper
JohnWeeks.Mississippi.lower

JohnWeeks.Missouri.upper

JohnWeeks.home

_______________________________________________

This was recently posted on the IC Yahoo Group-

Norco, LA - Friday April 11

West of New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the
flood gates of the Bonnet Carrie Spillway today to divert water
from the swollen Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain.

Three railroad trestles pass over the spillway - the CN McComb
and Baton Rouge subs, and the KCS New Orleans sub. On any
other day, the spillway is a great area to drive down into to take
pictures of trains. Since the gates have been open, the area,
which is also frequented by many people in various outdoor
activities, is now under several feet or more of water.

The gate opening is a big event in that they've only been opened
several times since the spillway's structure was built in the early
30's. I went out today to take pictures, and DID happen to catch
the first trains to cross the spillway after the noon gate opening.
There are no operational restrictions that I know of for trains
while the gates are open.

Photos:

KCS New Orleans Sub trestle:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122248

Normally there is a dirt road next to the trestle, but it is now under
water. The gates had only been open about 45 minutes. I came
back a few hours later, and it was noticeably higher. The flood gates
will be open for 2-3 weeks, and eventually the water will be rise
to several feet of the trestle deck.

CN train M31971 was one of the first to cross the spillway about
40 minutes after gate opening. Power on today's train was CN
C40-8M 2429 and CN 5789 SD75I.

CN 2429:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122249

M31971 making its way across the trestle. *Most of the vegetation
in the photos will be under water within a week:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122250
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122252
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122254

The next across was a CN loaded grain train with BNSF hoppers:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122255

After leaving the spillway, I ran across Gateway Eastern 2000
GP38-2 stopped next to the KCS yard office in Norco, LA:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122256
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1122257

Shawn - Amite, LA

Dale
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Posted by blhanel on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 10:26 PM

I hope the folks at Kalmbach can figure out how to fix this.  This thread and the Iowa Counties thread are my two all-time favorites.

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Posted by Bergie on Friday, October 17, 2008 2:40 PM

blhanel
I hope the folks at Kalmbach can figure out how to fix this.  This thread and the Iowa Counties thread are my two all-time favorites.

 

I have our tech guys looking into why the original post (and all the good info) was cut off during the transfer to the new forum platform.

Erik

Erik Bergstrom
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Posted by Bergie on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:09 PM

I'm happy to report that the first post is back in its entirety.

Bergie

 

Erik Bergstrom
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Posted by Brytta on Sunday, August 18, 2013 11:42 AM

I really love the photo! Great job!Cool

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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:58 AM

    Even though this Original Post dates to July of 2005; It is a compilation of some very thorough research, and  tremendous effort by   Nanaimo 73   ( Dale )   Bow

  I had thought it lost in the Changes of Format, and Enhancements of features of the FORUM.  

  It is a pleasure to see it back, and I would hope that others will also find it a terrific body of reference materials.  Cool

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by SSW9389 on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:13 AM

Recent research on the Birds Point, Missouri to Cairo, Illinois carfloat operation has revealed that it may have remained open for business until the very late 1920s. This was a Missouri Pacific car ferry with Cotton Belt as a tenant. The Cairo Mississippi River Highway Bridge opened in 1929. The Cotton Belt line to Birds Point was abandoned in late 1938. The Missouri Pacific line to Birds Point was abandoned March 31, 1942.

Tags: MP , SSW
COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
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Posted by JC UPTON on Friday, October 21, 2016 1:26 PM

Two  comments from Louisiana:

1) The bridge at Baton Rouge:

  a) replaced two car (carfloat) ferries; one at Angola to  Lettsworth? (L&A / KCS), one at Baton Rouge (now lost in the Exxon refinery) to  Anchorage, near Port Allen (Misouri Pacific)

b) is a single track with a 4 lane highway cantilevered on the outside of the RR thru truss

c) is (allegedly deliberately) too low for ocean going shipping 

2) The bridge at New Orleans:

a) replaced a car ferry New Orleans to Algeris (SPRR)

b) is a double track with originally a 4 (very narrow) lane highway cantilevered on the outside of the RR thru truss, but recently the highway rebuilt to 6 modern design highway lanes, requiring add on thru trusses on either side of the RR

c) is high enough for ocean going shipping to pass

d) terminates on the West (south) bank at Bridge City/Avondale (not Gretna)

 

from the Far East of the Sunset Route

(In the shadow of the Huey P Long bridge)

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