Brandon Rail Bridge

Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Brandon, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

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Name Brandon Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Ellis & Eastern Railroad
Length 470 Feet Total, 150 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Quadrangular Through Truss and Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry encased in Concrete and Timber Pile
Date Built 1887
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status Used Sparingly
CNW Bridge Number P-106
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1875, the Saint Paul & Sioux City Railway began feeling threatened by the competing Southern Minnesota Railway, which was beginning construction on building to Sioux Falls.

They formed the subsidiary Worthington & Sioux Falls Railway to construct the approximately 50 mile segment of main line from Agate Junction (near Worthington) to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

It opened to Adrian, Minnesota by 1875, Luverne, Minnesota in 1876 and Sioux Falls in 1878.

In 1879, it would be continued west by the Chicago, St. Paul Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, reaching Mitchell by 1882.

In 1882, the CStPM&O became a subsidiary of the Chicago & North Western Railway.

The Chicago & North Western operated this line as a branch line, until 1888, when it abandoned the whole Agate Junction to Mitchell segment.

The Buffalo Ridge Railroad Authority stepped in and purchased the line from Buffalo Ridge, through Sioux Falls to Agate the same year.

In 2015, the Minnesota Southern operates from Valley Junction to Agate, where it meets a Union Pacific mainline.

In addition, the Ellis & Eastern Railway serves from Brandon to Sioux Falls.

This old and historic truss bridge crosses the Big Sioux River just west of Brandon.
The bridge features a quadrangular through truss main span, which has a more "boxy" design than other similar structures.
This truss has riveted connections, and a pedimented portal bracing.
In addition, the bridge is approached by several spans of wooden trestle on either side.
The piers for the truss span are however made of stone, encased in concrete.

The author has ranked this structure as moderate significance for a number of reasons. The first is the age of the structure. The bridge is an early example of a Lassig Quadrangular Through Truss. In addition, it is a moderately early example of the design to start with.

The photo above is an overview.

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream BNSF Big Sioux River Bridge (Brandon)
Downstream IC Big Sioux River Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Eighth Annual Report of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
Contractor Based on identical structures
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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