CN Wall Lake Inlet Bridge

Concrete Arch Bridge over Wall Lake Inlet
Carnarvon, Sac County, Iowa

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Name CN Wall Lake Inlet Bridge
Built By Illinois Central Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 45 Feet Total, 15 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Concrete Arch
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1911
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
CN Bridge Number 422.4
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date December 2018
In 1898, the Fort Dodge and Omaha Railroad began construction of a new line, linking a Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad (Illinois Central) line at Tara, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska.

This new line would be completed in a staggering 208 days, opening in early 1899. The line was owned by the D&SC (which was a subsidiary of Illinois Central).
The line was also the most significant branch off the D&SC mainline through Iowa.

The new line connected mainly rural areas, and crossed into Omaha on a swing bridge over the Missouri River.
This bridge was leased from the Omaha Bridge and Terminal Railway Company.

When completed, the line was regarded as a mainline, connecting Nebraska to Chicago. East of Tara, the line connected Waterloo, Dubuque and Chicago.

By 1947, the IC fully absorbed any remains of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad. IC became the sole operator and proprietor of this line.
In 1972, the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio merged with IC to form the Illinois Central Gulf.

In 1985, operations of the ICG western division (west from Chicago) was spun off into the Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad.
By 1996, the railroad was repurchased by Illinois Central. Canadian National Railway purchased Illinois Central in 1999, and continues to operate the line as the Omaha Subdivision.

Located near the small town of Carnarvon, this massive concrete arch bridge crosses the Wall Lake Inlet.
Built in 1911, the bridge features a trio of large concrete arch spans, set onto concrete substructures. This type of arch culvert was standard for this route, although this appears to be the only structure with more than one span.
Triple concrete arches are very uncommon on American railroads. They typically indicate that the waterway is large, or there is a strong potential for flooding.
Overall, it appears that the bridge is in good condition. Virtually no serious deterioration was found on the structure, but it appears that the bridge may have received an encasement.

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


Source Type


Build Date 1973 Illinois Central Track Profile
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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