The next expansion came the following year, when the Chicago St. Paul & Fond Du Lac Railroad opened the line up to Janesville.
This is where the line ended, and it was not extended for years. The line had become part of the Chicago & Northwestern in 1855.
A chunk of the line between Chicago and Des Plaines was double tracked in 1882.
In 1886, a connector line was built between Evansville and Janesville, which created a possible opening to Madison.
The line on its southern end, between Harvard and Chicago was heavily used, while its northern end was not quite as heavily used.
The Chicago & Northwestern was purchased by Union Pacific in 1995, who has let the line north of Janesville fall into disrepair, and rarely accesses Evansville.
Today, the line is used by the METRA from Harvard to Chicago, and north of Janesville is not used as much. The whole line is known as the Harvard Subdivision.
One of the most unique bridges in southern Wisconsin, this massive deck truss bridge crosses the Rock River.
Originally built in 1896 as a single track bridge, the bridge was widened in 1908. Typically, widening steel bridges consisted of adding additional substructures, and adding new spans.
With a large bridge as this, it gets much more complex to widen a bridge. It appears new stone and concrete substructures were added, and a new southbound track constructed. The existing northbound track reused the same substructures, although the new spans were slightly longer to make up for the 1880s vintage parapet abutments.
Currently, the bridge consists of four large riveted Double Intersection Warren Deck Trusses. Parallel but separate spans can be seen for the bridge. These spans, despite being built 12 years apart, are extremely similar. Only minor differences can be noted in the design.
However, the southbound span consists of a deck girder spans on the north end, to balance out the older parapet abutment the northbound span uses. In addition, a through girder span crosses the former Milwaukee Road route. This span was added in 1908, likely to replace a span of similar construction.
The piers for the bridge are all cut ashlar stone, and the appear to have been originally built in 1896, and widened in 1908. The abutments of the bridge are a combination of concrete and stone.
Overall, the bridge appears to remain in good condition. The northbound track has since been removed, and traffic uses only the southbound span now.
Historic photo of the bridge
The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the large scale example of this design.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from US-51, just downstream.
|Upstream||Jeffris Park Trail Bridge|
|Downstream||WSOR Rock River Bridge (S)|