Cedar Falls Railroad Bridge

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Cedar River
Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!

Name Cedar Falls Railroad Bridge
Built By Illinois Central Railroad
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago ILL
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 444 Feet Total, 148 Foot Largest Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 25 Feet (Estimated)
Type Pratt Through Truss
Date Built 1899
Traffic Count 7 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
CN Bridge Number 282.6

In 1853, the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad was charted. In the fall of 1855, the first ceremonial shovel of dirt was overturned.

While enthusism was at an all time high for the new railroad which was to go directly across Iowa, connecting Chicago, Illinois to the Missouri River at Sioux City, building was slow.

By 1860, the railroad had only made it 78 miles west of Dubuque to Cedar Falls (near Waterloo). The Civil War, which had begun this year had put a halt to all further building.

After 1865, when the Civil War ended, the line had reached Iowa Falls by 1866 under the new name Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad. But time was running out! Three other land grant railroads were nearing the Missouri River, and the Union Pacific line that could connect to the Pacific!

The Iowa Falls & Sioux City Railroad was to complete the line to Sioux City. They built from both ends, and it was completed in near Storm Lake in July 1870.

Also in 1870, the Cedar Falls & Minnesota Railroad, which built a line from Cedar Falls to Albert Lea, Minnesota reached the Minnesota border.

Both these lines were leased to the Illinois Central Railroad.

Later, in 1898, the Fort Dodge & Omaha Railroad was organized to build a line from Fort Dodge, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska. The line was built in 208 days, being completed in late 1899.

The Illinois Central could get its self into Omaha by the Omaha Bridge & Terminal Railway, which operated the swing bridge across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs, IA to Omaha.

All the lines became part of the Illinois Central.

The Illinois Central used this line as a mainline, realizing it was a good line with stable traffic. The Illinois Central was a very stable railroad.

In 1972, the IC purchased its main competitor, the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad, forming the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.

The ICG years were bad. The Iowa Division was dismantled, and this line, along with many others were sold to Subsidiary Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad in 1985.

The ICG changed the name back to Illinois Central in 1988, and purchased back the Iowa Division in 1996.

By then it was too late. Other railroads had been doing well, and competition became too much for the IC. They sold themselves to the Canadian National Railway in 1998, who would later purchase the Wisconsin Central in western Wisconsin and several other railroads.

CN has continued to operate this line well. It currently sees about 5 trains/day between Fort Dodge and Dubuque. About 2/day from Fort Dodge to Omaha, and 3/day from Fort Dodge to Sioux City.

This three span Pratt Through Truss crossing the Cedar River in Cedar Falls is a local landmark. Each pin connected six panel pratt through truss is 148 Feet Long with X Frame Portal Bracing.

All substructures are concrete encased stone.

Miraculously, this bridge survived the flood of 2008, which wiped out the old IANR bridge in downtown Waterloo and several others.

The bridge is a must see for north central Iowa. In addition, Iowa Northern Railroad uses this bridge.

The photo above is looking from the west bank. There are 28 photos in the overview and 16 in the details.

Cedar River Railroad Bridges

Upstream Confuence of Main and West Forks
Downstream UP Cedar River Bridge

Detail Views

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