Ralston Rail Crossing

Through Plate Girder Bridge over Ralston Trail
Ralston, Sarpy County, Nebraska

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Ralston Rail Crossing
Built By Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Contractor McClintic-Marshall Co. of Chicago
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 189 Feet Total, 61 Foot Largest Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through and Deck Plate Girder with Concrete Slab
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1904, Approaches Built 1929
Traffic Count 6 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 24.16
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date November 2020
In 1871, the Omaha and South Western Railroad built a line from Oreapolis, Nebraska to Bellevue, Nebraska.
By 1885, an expansion would be made into Omaha. It would be quickly sold to the Omaha and North Platte Railroad.

The Omaha & North Platte desired to continue building west, reaching Ashland by 1888. They would continue north towards Fremont from that point.

The two railroads combined formed a loop, to allow Chicago, Burlington & Quincy trains to enter Omaha. The CB&Q mainline bypassed Omaha about 10 miles to the south.

The railroads became a full part of the CB&Q in 1908, which invested money to heavily rebuild the two.

The CB&Q continued operations of this route until 1970, when they merged with Great Northern and Northern Pacific to form Burlington Northern.

By 1996, the BN merged with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, the current owner of this line. It is currently known as the Omaha Subdivision.

Located near 72nd Street in Ralston, this large girder bridge was originally built to cross the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
Built in 1904, the bridge features a large through girder span, approached by deck girder spans on either side. In addition, a single concrete slab span approaches on either side, and these were built in 1929.
When the Missouri Pacific line below was abandoned, the grade was purchased by the City of Ralston for a trail. This trail was built in 2004.
As part of the trail project, a large concrete box culvert was built below the historic bridge. This box culvert takes the place of a typical shelter, which prevents pedestrians from falling debris. As a result of this box culvert, this bridge may end up being filled in sometime in the near future.
The most unique part of this bridge is the builder. McClintic-Marshall was the contractor for this bridge, and they built numerous railroad bridges throughout the United States. However, this is one of the earliest spans that was confirmed to have been built by this company.
In addition, the concrete slabs were likely pre-fabricated offsite. It is believed that the CB&Q manufactured these spans in Holdrege, Nebraska.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in fair to good condition. Little significant deterioration was noted.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design. Despite this, the bridge is a unique example of an early McClintic-Marshall Co. span.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Plaque
Contractor Plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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