Abandoned N. Branch Leaf River Arch

Abandoned Stone Arch over N. Branch of Leaf River
Near Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Abandoned N. Branch Leaf River Arch
Built By Illinois Central Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Private Owner
Length 9 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 4 Feet (Estimated)
Type Stone Arch
Date Built 1851
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned
In 1853, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad Company built a line north from Cairo, Illinois, in the southern tip of Illinois to Freeport, in north-central Illinois. The line opened to Galena on October 28th, 1854.

By 1870, the line had extended across the Mississippi and all the way to Nebraska.

The line eventually came under the ownership of Illinois Central. The IC used this as a mainline, connecting to the bigger mainline to Chicago and to New Orleans, Louisiana.

In 1972, the IC purchased its main competitor, the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad, forming the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.

The ICG years were bad. The Iowa Division was dismantled, and this line, along with many others were sold to Subsidiary Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad in 1985.

The ICG changed the name back to Illinois Central in 1988, and purchased back the Iowa Division in 1996.

By then it was too late. Other railroads had been doing well, and competition became too much for the IC. They sold themselves to the Canadian National Railway in 1998, who would later purchase the Wisconsin Central in western Wisconsin and several other railroads.

The CN continues to operate this line with about 5 trains a day.

This little stone arch hasn't been used in over 100 years, and is falling apart.

The bridge was built in 1851, when the IC built the first line through the area.

It crosses a branch of the Leaf River.
The structure was bypassed in 1912, when the line was relocated and put onto a new fill and trestle.

Since then, the bridge has been subject to many floods, which have destroyed the structure. Today, almost none of the structure remains.

The photo above is an overview.

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