Arlington Rail Bridge

Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge over Elkhorn River
Arlington, Washington County, Nebraska

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Name Arlington Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 285 Feet Total, 160 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Quadrangular Through Truss and I-Beam
Substructure Type Concrete and Steel Bent
Date Built 1902, Approaches Rebuilt 1964
Traffic Count 30 Trains/Day (Estimate)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 359.43
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1867, the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad built a line from Missouri Valley, Iowa to California Junction, Iowa.
The line was a short spur from the main line.

By 1869, the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad took control of the short spur, and continued building west.

To get from Iowa to Nebraska meant to cross the Missouri River. This was accomplished by barge, and in the winter, ice crossing.

The railroad was opened to Fremont, Nebraska by 1869. At Fremont, it would connect to the Union Pacific Transcontinental Mainline.

The line was a short bypass of Omaha, connecting to the Chicago & North Western Railway at Missouri Valley.
By 1883, a bridge would be built across the river at Blair.

In 1901, the C&NW purchased the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad. The line continued to serve as a smalltime bypass.

By the 1960s, with many consolidations well underway, the line became more important. It allowed coal and intermodal trains to bypass the congested Omaha area.

By 1995, C&NW was purchased by Union Pacific. Union Pacific continues to operate this line as the Blair Subdivision.
It is considered one of the most high priority Union Pacific lines, and is in the process of being upgraded to allow seamless operations.

Crossing the Elkhorn River west of Arlington sits this large riveted Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge.
Built in 1902 to replace an older truss, likely of the same design, the bridge has seen some alterations.
Originally, it seems that the bridge was also approached by wooden trestle spans. However, a flood in the early 1960s destroyed these and they were replaced with I-Beams.
In addition, the bridge is set on concrete and steel pile piers.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition. A significant rehabilitation has occured to strengthen the truss.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the truss design.
The photo above is an overview.

Elkhorn River Railroad Bridges
Upstream BNSF Elkhorn River Bridge (Winslow)
Downstream UP Elkhorn River Bridge (Waterloo)


Source Type


Main Span Build Date Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society Archives
Approach Spans Build Date Based on previous flooding events
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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