Manitowoc High Trestle

Deck Girder Viaduct over Manitowoc River
Manitowoc, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Manitowoc High Trestle
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 1,009 Feet Total; 60 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 80 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Girder Viaduct
Substructure Type Stone Masonry, Steel Tower and Concrete Pile
Date Built 1906
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
C&NW Bridge Number U-8
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1873, the Chicago & Northwestern Subsidiary the Northwestern Union Railway completed an additional 25 miles of track between Sheboygan and Manitowoc.

The line was an extension of the Milwaukee to Sheboygan line completed the year before.

In late 1906, the Chicago & Northwestern Railway completed their line from Manitowoc to Green Bay.

The Chicago & Northwestern began to disfavor this line, as their existing Milwaukee to Green Bay mainline also crossed through the Fox Cities, more industrious centers.
The line was downgraded after WWII, and as a result, from the Sheboygan/Manitowoc County line, the line north was sold to Fox Valley Railway Ltd in 1988.
The Fox Valley couldn't make it work, and as a result, the system was purchased by the Wisconsin Central Ltd in 1993, who was in turn purchased by the Canadian National in 2001.

While the line south of Manitowoc to Sheboygan is disused, and likely will never see a train again, the line only goes as far north as Rockwood from Manitowoc currently.
The section between Denmark and Rockwood was abandoned in 1996, and turned into the Devils River State Trail.

Currently, the Canadian National operated sections are the Denmark Industrial Lead and the Rockwell Industrial Lead. From Sheboygan to the county line, it is in possession of the Union Pacific, who acquired the C&NW in 1995.

This large scale deck girder bridge towers over the Manitowoc River on the north side of Manitowoc.
The bridge is of simple design. It consists of 20 deck girder spans, which rest on high steel bents. It was built in 1906 when the line north from Manitowoc was being built.
In addition, the bridge rests mainly on stone substructures and footings. However, the north end uses concrete pile piers; which likely replaced older wooden piers.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the bridge

Overall, the structure appears to be in very good condition. It has been ranked by the author as being moderately significant, due to the landmark status in the area; and the great historic integrity.
The photo above is an overview.

Manitowoc River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Valders Rail Bridge
Downstream Manitowoc Low Trestle


Source Type


Build Date Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society Archives
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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