Fargo Rail Bridge

Through Girder Bridge over Red River of the North
Moorhead, Clay County, Minnesota
Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Fargo Rail Bridge
Built By Northern Pacific Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 710 Feet Total, 85 Foot Main Spans
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Girder and Concrete Box Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry, Concrete and Steel H-Pile
Date Built 1924, Rehabilitated 2009-2013
Traffic Count 65 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 6.94
Significance Local Significance
In 1870, the Northern Pacific Railroad began building west from Carlton, Minnesota. The proposed route would cut west across Minnesota, crossing into North Dakota and ending at the Missouri River.
The railroad reached North Dakota after crossing the Red River in 1871. The city of Fargo was charted along the west bank of the Red River, near where the route crossed the river.
The route continued through Valley City and Jamestown, reaching Bismarck in 1873. The railroad would continue west in the early 1880s.

The route became very important for Northern Pacific. Portions of the line later became double tracked. Inevitably, this route became part of a transcontinental corridor, reaching the Pacific Ocean.
Ownership did not change until 1970, when Northern Pacific merged with rival Great Northern and partner Chicago, Burlington & Quincy to form Burlington Northern.

BN continued operating this route as a mainline, in conjunction with several thousand miles of other track.
By 1996, BN had become successful enough to merge with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway to form BNSF Railway.
BNSF is the current operator of the route, naming it the Jamestown Subdivision.

This bridge is one of a pair in Fargo/Moorhead which cross the Red River of the North (Red River).
The bridge was originally built in 1924 to replace a former through truss swing bridge. This bridge was built with through girder spans and trestle.
To be built as a double tracked bridge, the old piers had to be widened. This was achieved by adding concrete parapets to the swing pier.
With the two main spans being through girders, they are supported by massive concrete piers.
The approaches to this bridge were rebuilt between 2009 and 2013, with a typical modular concrete box girder design.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.

Red River of the North Railroad Bridges
Upstream Confluence of Otter Tail and Boix De Sioux Rivers
Downstream Memorial Park Rail Bridge


Source Type


Main Span Build Date Northern Pacific Bridge Book, provided by Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association
Approach Build Date Stamps on modular approaches
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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