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BNSF Platte River Bridge (Farley)

Baltimore Through Truss Bridge over Platte River
Farley, Platte County, Missouri

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Name BNSF Platte River Bridge (Farley)
Built By Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Contractor (Approaches) American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 490 Feet Total, 200 Foot Main Span
Width 2 Tracks, 1 In Use
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Type Baltimore Through Truss, Through Girder and Concrete Slab
Date Built 1920, Truss Added 1951
Traffic Count 20 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 20.50
Significance Local Significance
In 1858, the Platte County Railroad begun construction on a line from Weston, Missouri to St. Joseph, Missouri. This railroad would become the Platte Country Railroad in 1863. By 1864, this railroad would be split into the Atchison and St. Joseph Railroad; as well as the Weston and Atchison Railroad.
The Atchison and St. Joseph Railroad would complete the St. Joseph-Winthrop portion in 1861; and begin construction on the North Kansas City-Weston portion of the line in 1863.
The Weston and Atchison Railroad would complete the lines between Weston and Winthrop. These two railroads would be merged back together in 1867 to form the Missouri Valley Railroad; which completed the North Kansas City-Weston portion of the line.

In 1867, the St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad built an 81 mile line from St. Joseph, Missouri to the Iowa border. The entire line would parallel the Missouri River from Kansas City northwards.
By 1870; the railroad would be reorganized as the Kansas City, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs Railroad. This railroad also built a number of other branch lines and relocated significant portions of trackage along the Missouri River.

In 1901, the railroad would be formally merged into the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; which had constructed a large amount of trackage around the region. The line was critical for connecting Council Bluffs to Kansas City.
The CB&Q continued to operate this as a mainline; until 1970. In 1970, the CB&Q would merge with Great Northern and Northern Pacific to form Burlington Northern; a large railroad which operated a consierable amount of trackage through the area.

In 1996, BN merged with the struggling Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to form BNSF Railway; the current operator of the line.
This portion is currently the southern part of the St. Joseph subdivision.
11/10/17


This massive truss bridge crosses the Platte River parallel to Missouri State Highway 45.
There are a number of Platte Rivers in the midwest. This particular river is known as the Little Platte River to help distinguish it from the major river that runs through the plains of Nebraska.
This river rises near Creston, Iowa flowing south until it reaches the Missouri River near Kansas City.
The bridge here features a massively built up 8-panel riveted Baltimore Through Truss. This truss is believed to have been added in 1951 after a flood washed out the former center spans, a trio of through girder spans.
The truss was likely constructed in late 1951 for use at this location. The truss seems to match a type of construction that would have occurred in this time period.
In addition, the bridge is approached by a single through girder on the south, along with a concrete slab span. On the north, the bridge has a remaining span of the former main spans, as well as an additional approach through girder. These spans have a pair of concrete slab spans as an approach.
The bridge is set entirely onto concrete substructures. A pair of 100 foot long through girder spans were washed out in 1951, and replaced by the current truss.

The author has ranked the bridge as being locally significant, due to the common nature of the through girder spans; and the more modern nature of the truss span.
The photo above is an overview.

Platte River (Iowa-Missouri) Railroad Bridges
Upstream Sharps Station Interurban Bridge
Downstream Mouth at Missouri River


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