Glasgow Rail Bridge

Parker Through Truss Bridge over Missouri River
Glasgow, Howard County, Missouri
Rural Saline County, Missouri

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Glasgow Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago & Alton Railroad
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Kansas City Southern Railway
Length 2,450 Feet Total; 339 Foot Largest Span
Width 1 Tracks (Gauntlet)
Height Above Ground 60 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through and Deck Truss with Deck Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry, Concrete and Steel Tower
Date Built 1900, Two Spans Replaced 1993
Traffic Count 5 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
KCS Bridge Number 381.7
Significance High Significance
Documentation Date October 2016
In 1870, the St. Louis, Jacksonville and Chicago Railroad began construction on a line from Roodhouse, Illinois to Quincy Junction, on the East Bank of the Mississippi River.
At Roodhouse, it connected to another StLJ&C mainline.

Three years prior, the Louisiana and Missouri River Railroad constructed a line between Mexico, Missouri and the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Missouri.

The two railroads would finally connect in 1873, when a bridge would be constructed over the Mississippi River.

An additional 163 miles to Kansas City would be built westward from Mexico in 1878, finally seeing completion in 1879. This line was constructed by the Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago Railroad.
Both the railroads in Missouri would be under control of the Chicago & Alton Railroad from completion. In Illinois, the St. Louis, Jacksonville and Chicago Railroad would become fully absorbed by the Chicago & Alton in 1899.

The Chicago & Alton operated this route as a backbone type route, connecting Kansas City to the Mississippi River.

In 1931, the Chicago & Alton would be renamed the Alton Railroad, and be operated as a subsidiary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. This lasted until 1947, when it became part of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.
The GMO operated this line until 1972, when they merged with Illinois Central to form Illinois Central Gulf; who operated this line until 1987.

By 1987, the line had deteriorated significantly. The line was sold to the Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway. This railroad failed very quickly, and by 1990 the line was spun off to Gateway Western Railroad.

From 1990 to 1997, Gateway Western was an affiliate of Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. After ATSF merged to form BNSF, GWWR became a subsidiary of Kansas City Southern.

Kansas City Southern fully dissolved the GWWR in 2001, and continues to operate this line.

Another massive bridge across the Missouri River carries the Kansas City Southern between Howard and Saline Counties; at the town of Glasgow.
It is safe to say that this is the most notable structure in Glasgow, Missouri. It crosses the Missouri River parallel to MO-240.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the bridge

While being so close to the highway is an advantage, it also obscures the structure and makes photography hard.

The main spans consist of four Parker Through Trusses. Span #3 (from west to east) is 339 feet long and has 12 panels. The outer spans are 311 feet long and have 11 panels. All spans have pinned connections and heavily laced members.
To the east, a pair of 138 foot Quadrangular Deck Trusses approach the main spans. These contain riveted connections. Seven Deck girder spans also approach these two trusses and rest on steel substructures. These cross Missouri Highway 5 (1st Street).
The west approach has a large Pratt deck truss of 238 feet long. The pin connected structure contains 10 panels.
Four modern I-Beam spans and a few deck girder spans also approach this truss. These I-Beams were added to replace a Quadrangular Deck Truss and a deck girder during the 1993 flood.
The substructures consist of stone, steel and concrete. The abutments and main river piers are largely constructed of stone. The piers supporting the east main span are stone, with steel towers. The reasoning behind this is unknown, but the 1878 bridge also contained this unusual design feature. It appears highly likely that these steel supports are original to the 1878 bridge and were reused in 1900.
During the 1900 construction, many of the original piers were demolished. The main river piers, with the exception of piers 5 and 6 were apparently replaced in the reconstruction.
The supports for the approaches use a steel trestle type of support. These rest on concrete footings.
The mismatched deck trusses are a very unique feature of this bridge. Lassig was well known for designing the Quadrangular Trusses, although many of theirs ended up on Chicago & North Western lines.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the previous bridge

The previous bridge was smaller, and contained only three Whipple Through Trusses. Much of the reconstruction of the substructures was done because of this.
A unique fact was the predecessor was the all steel bridge in the world when constructed in 1878. These spans were removed, but possibly reused on other portions of the system or on other railroads.
During the 1993 flood, a deck truss and a deck girder span fell into the flooding Missouri River when a pier gave way. This was replaced by four beam spans, sitting on steel supports.
This bridge is one of two active railroad crossings between Kansas City and St. Charles in Eastern Missouri. As a result, the bridge sees a fair amount of detour traffic. However, KCS only operates approximately five regular trains per day over the bridge.

Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition. The approaches appear to be in fair condition, with some spalling and corrosion.
The author has ranked this bridge as being highly significant, due to the immense size of the structure. The bridge retains a fair amount of historic integrity, with modifications old and new seen throughout the structure.
The photo above is an overview looking west. The photo below is looking at the portal bracing of one of the main spans.

Missouri River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Sibley Rail Bridge
Downstream Boonville Lift Bridge

These Pictures Start at Varying Points in the Series

Detail Photos from September 2016


Source Type


Build Date Portal Cutout
Contractor Missing Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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