Barker Island Rail Bridge (S)

Warren Pony Truss Bridge over Wisconsin River
Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Barker Island Rail Bridge (S)
Built By Chicago & Northwestern Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 98 Feet Total, 70 Foot Longest Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 5 Feet (Estimated)
Type Double Intersection Warren Pony Truss and Trestle
Date Built 1913 using Older Parts
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Week (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
In 1881, the Chicago & Northwestern Railway constructed a line from Neilsville to Merrilan, where it would connect to the mainline towards Madison and towards Saint Paul.

In 1891, the line would be extended to Marshfield.

By 1892, the Chicago & Northwestern subsidiary Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway completed a new 40 mile route between Wausau and Marshfield.

At Wausau, the line connected to a line towards Green Bay, and at Marshfield it connected to a number of lines heading in all directions.

By 1893, the MLS&W became a full part of the Chicago & Northwestern. The C&NW had built a number of branch lines serving the major industry of Wausau since 1880, one of which included the Barker Island Spur, which would serve Barker Island and northern Wausau.

The C&NW used this line as a main route from the mainline at Merrilan (near Black River Falls) to Wausau and Green Bay.

The line was damaged heavily in the 1912 floods which destroyed much of Wausau. The main bridge over the Wisconsin River, along with many other structures, were destroyed in the flood.

Much of the line was abandoned in 1981, after it fell out of favor, since the paper mills of Wausau and surrounding areas began shipping by truck.

The remaining stub of the line in Wausau was purchased by the Wisconsin Central in 1997, who in turn was purchased by Canadian National in 2001.
The line had been cut on both ends of Wausau, no longer connecting to major destinations. The line did however connect to the former Wisconsin Valley line of the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific; which was also owned by Wisconsin Central.

Today, the largest remains of this line are on Barker Island, serving limited industry.

This span is by far the smallest on the Island of bridges in Wausau, and crosses a back channel which separates Barker Island from Stewart Island.

The span was likely relocated from Beloit (in Rock County), modified and placed here after the previous bridge was destroyed in the floods of 1912.

The bridge in Beloit had four of these riveted, Double Intersection Warren Pony Truss spans, which were replaced by Through Girder spans in early 1913.

This bridge currently sits on steel formed concrete pilings, and is approached by a single span of trestle on either end.

The truss has a total of 6 panels with riveted connections.

The photo above is looking from the east bank of the Wisconsin River towards the Island.

Wisconsin River Railroad Bridges

Upstream (East Channel) Barker Island Trail Bridge
Downstream (East Channel) Woodson Park Rail Bridge

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