RCP&E Redwood River Bridge

Deck Truss Bridge over Redwood River
Near Florence, Lyon County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name DM&E Redwood River Bridge
Built By Chicago & Northwestern Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railway
Length 260 Feet Total, 132 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 30 Feet (Estimated)
Type Double Intersection Warren Deck Truss with Deck Plate Girder
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 4 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
DM&E Bridge Number 1341
In 1879, the Chicago and Dakota railway desired a line to bypass the longer route through Watertown, SD.

The new line started at Tracy, at the existing line, went west through a couple of small towns. It then went through Brookings, SD.

If you have read the Little House on the Prairie books, this rail line should sound familiar. In the book By the Shores of Silver Lake Laura talks about the railroad camp at De Smet, about 20 miles west of Brookings. She also describes the building of the Sioux River Bridge near Brookings.

After building to Huron, SD in 1881 the C&D was quickly purchased by the Chicago Northwestern, which was the beginning of the southern Minnesota railroad empire that was the Chicago Northwestern…

The line through Marshall and Watertown served as a backup, but was later abandoned. The line through Brookings has remained the mainline ever since 1881.

In 1986, the struggling Chicago Northwestern sold the entire line from Winona, MN through Minnesota, South Dakota and even into Wyoming to the Dakota Minnesota Eastern.

The DM&E built further west, and thrived on the line. They made it to 2008 when they were purchased by Canadian Pacific. Canadian Pacific kept the name.

At Tracy, there is a yard, and the border between the Tracy Sub, which operates east to Waseca, and the Huron Sub, which operates west to Huron, SD. In 2008, the FRA ordered rail and tie replacement for this line, and it has been happening ever since.

In late 2013, it was announced all track west of Tracy had been sold to Genesee & Wyoming Corporation, who specializes in using shortline segments.

The Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern, a subsidiary had commenced operations in June of 2014, naming this the Huron Subdivision.

This bridge is an amazing bridge over the Redwood River in far southwestern Minnesota.

The Redwood River starts near Pipestone, about 20 miles southwest of here, heads northeastward, going through Marshall and Vesta before arriving in Redwood Falls.
This bridge is the only one like it on the DM&E in Minnesota. In fact, it is the only Deck Truss on the DM&E in Minnesota.
The bridge is comprised of a 60' Deck Plate Girder approach on either side, along with the 132' main span. The rest of the 260' structure is made up of the abutments.

The main deck truss span is a Double Intersection Warren, which means the members cross others twice.
The Redwood River here runs in a valley, surrounded by hills and ridges. This bridge can be seen from about a mile north on MN 91 when its fall or winter, and 1/2 a mile west from MN-23 any time of year.
The area under the bridge is very sandy, and many fossils and shells can be found.

I was here on a very warm mid March 2012 afternoon. It reached almost 85 degrees further in my trip near Windom.
All the abutments and piers are stone.
The photo above is looking from the east bank of the river.

Redwood River Railroad Bridges

Upstream BNSF Redwood River Bridge #9
Downstream BNSF Redwood River Bridge #8

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