Then in 1888, the line was continued east from Crookston, through Erskine, to Fosston by the StPM&M. The StPM&M became part of the Great Northern in 1890.
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, reaching Swan River and Grand Rapids in 1892. By 1900, the Eastern Railway 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 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.
Great Northern proceeded to operate the line from 1907 until its demise in 1970, when it merged with the Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy to form the Burlington Northern.
Burlington Northern continued to operate the route as a main line. In 1996, BN merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, the current owner of this route.
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.
|Upstream||NP Bridge #95|
|Downstream||Memorial Park Rail Bridge|