Hi-Line Bridge
Valley City Trestle

Deck Girder High Trestle over Sheyenne River
Karnak, Griggs County, North Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Hi-Line Bridge
Built By Northern Pacific Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 3,860 Feet Total, 100 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track, Expandable to 2
Height Above Ground 162 Feet
Superstructure Type Deck Girder Viaduct
Substructure Type Concrete and Steel Tower
Date Built 1908
Traffic Count 30 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Regional 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 massive high trestle crosses the Sheyenne River and its massive valley at Valley City.
Because of the nature of the area, the Sheyenne River carved a deep valley at this location. THe Northern Pacific built this bridge to bypass the steep grades of going through Valley City.
The bridge is a massive high trestle, with the main spans resting on steel bents. In addition, the towers and other substructures are made of concrete.
Of the large bridges in North Dakota, this structure is the second highest and the longest. It is longer and taller than the Gassman Coulee Trestle near Minot, but shorter in height than the Karnak Bridge to the north at Karnak.
The structure contains a total of 27 towers, meaning there are 55 spans in the bridge. The bridge is easily seen from the west side. The east side is harder to access, because it crosses an active Canadian Pacific line.
The bridge was built as a single track bridge, but it appears that it can be converted to double track with relative ease.
Overall, it appears that the bridge remains in relatively good condition.

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the lack of notable railroad bridges in Western Minnesota and North Dakota.

The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Northern Pacific Bridge Book, provided by Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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