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Media Viaduct

Lost Deck Girder Viaduct over Ellison Creek and Road
Media, Henderson County, Illinois

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Media Viaduct
Built By Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 737 Feet Total, 64 Foot Main Spans
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 80 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder Viaduct
Substructure Type Concrete and Steel Tower
Date Built 1894, Expanded 1907
Date Removed 2018
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge has been Removed)
Current Status Replaced by a New Bridge
BNSF Bridge Number 203.34
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date March 2017
In 1873, the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern Railroad constructed a line from Streator, Illinois to Ancona, Illinois, a short distance.
The line would be extended to Pequot in 1876. By 1881, the railroad would become part of the Chicago, St. Louis and Western Railroad.
By 1885, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway would purchase the C&StL as part of a project to connect Kansas City to Chicago.
It would be merged into the subsidiary Chicago, Santa Fe and California Railway.

The line would be extended to Chicago by 1885, using the B&O Depot.
In 1888, the line would be extended from Ancona to Fort Madison, Iowa. This also included a new crossing of the Mississippi River at Fort Madison; and crossing of the Illinois River at Chillicothe.

In 1900, the subsidiary was fully merged into the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. The ATSF system expanded to the west and southwest United States.
Between 1905 and 1911, the line would be double tracked from Chicago heading westward. The new line was important for freight heading from Iowa and Missouri to Chicago.

While the line provided a solid freight base, ATSF began to struggle. Through the era of mergers, there were a few attempted mergers.
Finally, the line merged with Burlington Northern Railway to form BNSF Railway in 1996. Today, this line is owned by BNSF and known as the Chillicothe Subdivision.
07/24/19


This massive viaduct once crossed over Ellison Creek just to the east of Media, Illinois.
Built in 1894, the bridge was later expanded for a second track in 1907. Containing a whopping 15 spans, the entire bridge is set onto steel towers and concrete blocks.
Evidence of the rebuild is quite clear. On the towers, a center portion clearly converges towards the middle of the structure. As part of the 1907 remodel, the towers were rebuilt with vertical pieces on either side of the existing tower.
Additional evidence can be found in the girders. Underneath the bridge are four girder lines. The center girders are clearly older and have different bracings. An additional girder line was added on either side, resting on the newer vertical portions of the towers.
As a result, each track effectively sits on one old girder and one new girder. The author had never before seen a structure quite like this, and has not seen it again since.
However, replacement of this unique bridge occured during 2017 and 2018. When the above photos were taken in March 2017, work had just begun. Since then, the old bridge was demolished in April 2018.
Overall, the bridge remains in fair condition, despite replacement plans. However, the bridge is likely an operational liability for the railroad, due to the extensive remodeling and old age.
No plaques were visible on the bridge, although at the time of photography, the author was not aware of the remodel history.

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the unique design and unique history of the bridge.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge could be accessed from a road which it crosses.

Citations

Source Type

Source

Build Date Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway 1937 Bridge Book
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele



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