Hayward Rail Bridge

Abandoned Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge Over Namekagon River
Hayward, Sawyer County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Hayward Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Private Owner (Partial)
Length 200 Feet Total, 150 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Quadrangular Lattice Through Truss
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Timber Pile
Date Built 1891
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned
C&NW Bridge Number 278
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date October 2014
In 1881, the North Wisconsin Railway began building north from Hudson, Wisconsin with a goal of reaching Lake Superior.

They didn't build their line very fast, and only reached Spooner by 1879. At this point, the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway gained control.
The next year, the line would be extended to Cable. It would reach Mason by 1882 and would hit Lake Superior at Bayfield in 1883.

In 1882, prior to the completion of this line, the CStPM&O began operations under Chicago & North Western control.
These operations would continue until 1957, when the C&NW outright purchased the line.

The line was a major agricultural and ore hauling line. The C&NW also had a parallel line which stretched from Eau Claire to Superior.
The two lines crossed in Superior.

The Chicago & North Western was one of the last railroads to pull up all of its branch lines, and decided to pull up this line in 1980.

A small segment from Trego to Hayward still exists as the Wisconsin Great Northern Railway, which is a tourist railroad.

The vast majority of the rest of the line is abandoned grades, with some trail segments using the grade.

This large abandoned through truss bridge crosses the Namekagon River north of Hayward.
Built in 1891, this large Quadrangular Through Truss span follows a standardized design seen at other places throughout the Omaha Road system.
The bridge consists of the main riveted span, and is approached by a pair of trestle spans on either side. The truss rests on stone piers.
Currently, the owner is unknown for the bridge. The railroad grade to the north is still listed as being part of the Chicago & North Western Railway, which is likely having taxes paid for by Union Pacific.
To the south, the bridge is owned by a private owner. However, the actual river is not owned, by Wisconsin law.
Regardless of the owner, it is hoped that this bridge will continue to survive for years to come. It is one of many reminders of a bygone era of railroading.
Overall, the truss remains in fair to good condition. The approach on the south side has been removed, and the deck on the south side of the truss has also been removed.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the old age and truss design.
The photo above is an overview. Due to the unknown nature of the ownership of the bridge, the author requests that attempts to access this bridge are respectful.

Namekagon River Railroad Bridges
Upstream C&NW Namekagon River Bridge (Cable)
Downstream Stinnett Landing Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Eleventh Annual Report of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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