Beloit Trail Bridge

Through Plate Girder Bridge over Rock River
Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Beloit Trail Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By City of Beloit
Length 336 Feet Total, 84 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1911
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
C&NW Bridge Number 51
Significance Local Significance
In 1848, the Beloit and Madison Railroad began building a railroad from the namesake cities. Starting in Beloit, the railroad would reach Afton by 1854 and Footville by 1855.

A financial panic stopped the building until 1862, when the railroad would finally reach Evansville.

By 1863, after much controversy, the railroad was purchased by the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, which owned the line to Chicago.
The following year, the Chicago & Northwestern came into possession of the entire line towards Chicago. The C&NW was a young railroad, owning a few lines in southern Wisconsin.

The C&NW had completed the line to Madison that year, and much applause was received for the young railroad.

The railroad continued to receive criticism for bypassing Janesville, until a much needed connection was built in 1886.

The railroad was a secondary line to Chicago for a long time. Unfortunately, the Chicago & Northwestern abandoned the line from Evansville to Beloit in 1977.

Even after the 1995 purchase of the C&NW by Union Pacific, Union Pacific has plans to abandoned the route from Evansville to Madison, as it had not seen a train in a very long time.

A new development took place in May 2013, when the state agreed to purchase the line from Evansville to Madison, and allow Wiscosin & Southern to operate it.

As of October 2014, the line has reopened with limited service between Oregon and Madison.

The largest bridge in Beloit, this four span through girder bridge crosses the Rock River.
Built between 1911 and 1912 to replace an aging pony truss bridge, this bridge consists of four heavily built through girder spans.
These spans are set onto the substructures that were once used for the pony truss. It is believed that the former pony truss bridge was recycled and reused in another location.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. Currently, it serves as a trail.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from the trail it carries.

Rock River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Woods Family Trail Bridge
Downstream MILW Rock River Bridge


Source Type


Build Date American Bridge Company plaque
Contractor American Bridge Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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