Canton Rail Bridge

Lost Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Near Inwood, Lyon County, Iowa
Canton, Lincoln County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Canton Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By D&I Railroad
Length 385 Feet Total, 130 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss, Deck Girder and Trestle
Substructure Type Timber Pile
Date Built 1910
Date Destroyed March 2019
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge has been Replaced)
Current Status Destroyed by Ice Jam
D&I Bridge Number T-648
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date December 2014
In 1878, the Sioux City & Pembina Railway built a line from Elk Point, South Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The line crossed across the Big Sioux a number of times, crossing between Iowa and South Dakota.

The line was merged into the Sioux City and Dakota Railroad in 1879.

By 1881, the line became a branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, also known as the Milwaukee Road.

In 1913, following an escapade to the Pacific Ocean, the railroad became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway.

Heading north out of Sioux Falls, the Milwaukee Road also operated a branch to North Dakota.

By 1981, with the Milwaukee Road falling to bankruptcy, the Dakota & Iowa (D&I) Railroad was formed as a joint coalition between Iowa and South Dakota to operate the former branch to Sioux City.

Today, D&I continues to operate the line from Sioux Falls to Sioux City, as well as the Dell Rapids branch.

Crossing the Big Sioux River near Canton, this large structure survived the flood of 1915, which devastated the area. Unfortunately, it could not hold up to a major ice jam and flooding in March 2019.
Built in 1910, the bridge featured a 5 panel, riveted Pratt Through Truss. A single deck girder span approached to the north, and trestle spans are on either side.
The entire bridge sat on wooden substructures, which is unusual for permanent structures.
Unfortunately when I visited the bridge, it was far too cold to try anything and get up closer to the bridge, but not cold enough to make the ice safe. Even worse, the bridge failed on March 15th, 2019. A new structure was later built to replace the bridge.

The author ranks this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the unique design of a riveted Pratt truss.
The photo above is an overview.

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream RI Big Sioux River Bridge
Downstream Fairview Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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