logo

Grand Forks Rail Bridge

Girder Bridge across Red River of the North
East Grand Forks, Polk County, Minnesota
To
Grand Forks, Grand Forks, North Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Grand Forks Rail Bridge
Built By Great Northern Railroad
Contractor 1 Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of Milwaukee, Wis
Contractor 2 American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 1,056 Feet Total, 95 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 25 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder with I-Beam and Concrete Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry, Concrete, Timber Pile and Steel H-Pile
Date Built 1918, 1924, 1956 and 2005
Traffic Count 7 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 107.0
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1875, the Red River Valley Railroad Company built a line from Crookston to Fisher. The line was extended to Grand Forks by 1879, connecting the cities of Crookston and Grand Forks. The railroad quickly became part of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, which became part of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba by 1882.

Then in 1888, the line was continued east from Crookston, through Erskine, to Fosston by the StPM&M.

At the same time, the Duluth and Winnipeg Railroad Company was building from Duluth to Deer River, on the other side of the state. The line was completed between the two cities, going through Sawn River and Grand Rapids in 1892. By 1900, the Eastern Railway Company of Minnesota opened the line between Deer River and Fosston, connecting Duluth to Grand Forks.

The new line was critical, as freight could be shipped from western minnesota to Duluth, and placed on barges heading towards Michigan or other areas of the country.

The line was extended further west of Grand Forks, and east of Duluth over time, but we are only focusing on this portion.

The line crossed the Mississippi River in Ball Club and Bemidji. New lines were constructed from Cass Lake to Sauk Centre, connecting to another mainline, as well as several lines into the Iron Range.

All the line became part of the Great Northern by 1907, who proceeded to operate the line until its demise in 1970, where it merged with the Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy to form the Burlington Northern.

The BN kept the line around as a mainline, and the Burlington Northern merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad in 1996 to form Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, now known as BNSF.

BNSF continues to operate the line as a mainline, seeing about 5 trains per day. It should remain around for a long time, as it remains a critical line.
06/01/18


Crossing between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks is the well known railroad bridge connecting the structure.
The first bridge here was an 1879 wooden truss bridge, but was rebuilt 1885. In the 1890s, the swing span was rebuilt using iron trusses. All generations of structure had timber stringer approaches.
In 1918, the approach trusses were replaced by through plate girder spans, built by Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company. In 1924, the main swing span was replaced with a pair of stationary through girder spans built by American Bridge Company.
The trestle approaches were replaced in 1956 by 10 spans of I-Beam resting on concrete substructures. The west side trestle spans were replaced by precast modular spans in 2005.
Sitting on various substructures, the bridge contains stone masonry, concrete, timber pile and H-Pile piers.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, for the numerous build dates and designs.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge is easily accessed from nearby trails.

Red River of the North Railroad Bridges
Upstream NP Bridge #95
Downstream Memorial Park Rail Bridge

Citations

Source Type

Source

Main Spans Build Date American Bridge Company plaque
Main Spans Contractor American Bridge Company plaque
Approach Girders Build Date Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Approach Girders Contractor Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele



Widget is loading comments...



© Copyright 2010- John Marvig and Contributors. All Rights Reserved