Karnak Bridge
Luverne 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 Karnak Bridge
Built By Great Northern Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 2,736 Feet Total, 70 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 180 Feet (Estimated)
Type Deck Girder Trestle
Date Built 1912
Traffic Count 30 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Regional Significance
In 1881, the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway built a line from Fargo, North Dakota to Grand Forks, North Dakota.
This new line allowed for faster shipments between two of the largest cities in the booming North Dakota.

In 1890, the StPM&M became a part of the Great Northern Railway. The Great Northern continued to operate this line through the 20th century, providing a critical connection between Fargo and North Dakota, which was also accomplished with several parallel lines.
However, the GN preferred this line to the P Line, the Ada Subdivision or the Mayville Line. In 1970, when the Great Northern merged with Northern Pacific and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy to form Burlington Northern; this was well shown.
While the other lines were slowly abandoned, this line became priority for upgrades.

In 1996, the BN merged with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, the current operator of this line. It is currently operated as the Hillsboro Subdivision.

This massive high trestle crosses the Sheyenne River and its massive valley between Karnak and Luverne.

Because of the nature of the area, the Sheyenne River carved a deep valley at this location. It was dammed up to create Lake Ashtabula, which this bridge currently crosses.

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 highest and the middle in length. It is longer and taller than the Gassman Coulee Trestle near Minot, but shorter in distance than the Hi-Line Bridge to the south in Valley City.

The structure is best accessed by using 10th Street SE from the west. The east side appears to be off limits and not possible to access. The bridge contains 26 main spans and 25 tower spans, giving a total count of 51 spans.
The bridge was built single track, and unlike the Valley City Bridge; it cannot be converted to a double track structure.

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.

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