In 1861, after the financial crisis of 1859, the Winona, St Peter, Missouri River railroad company was awarded the property. They laid the track on the graded line, and continued building. The railroad reached Rochester in 1864, and Owatonna in 1866, until they were purchased by Chicago Northwestern in 1867. The CNW continued building west in 1871.
C&NW reached Mankato, and build a little north, crossing the Minnesota River at St. Peter, staying north of the River until finally crossing back over at New Ulm. It then went to Tracy, and later Watertown, SD. It reached South Dakota in 1872.
The Chicago Northwestern opted for a new route between New Ulm and Mankato. They built it in 1899, using the old route as a backup. In 1971, the C&Nw abandoned the old route from New Ulm to Mankato, with the exception of a part from New Ulm to a small Rock Quarry.
By 1986, the C&NW was looking to abandoned this route. A group of Senators stepped in and purchasded the line, and named the Dakota Minnesota Eastern.
D&ME grew quite a bit over the next few years. They ran into trouble with Rochester MN because they were running really long trains. The one bad part of the DM&E was their Minnesota Trackage was really bad.
Since then, the DME was been purchased by Canadian Pacific, but continues to operate as a subsidiary. Lots of rail replacement projects have come up too.
This 1916 bridge was the result of a reconstruction project of a previous bridge. While this bridge never sees water from the Cottonwood River, there are others.
This bridge is considered steel girder. It had girders, not beams. It sits fairly high over a farm road.
It was built by Chicago Bridge & Iron Works, a relatively small scale company.
In about a mile and a half, there are 6 bridges.
The photo above is looking at the North side of the structure.