UP Cannon River Bridge

Deck Plate Girder Bridge over Cannon River
Faribault, Rice County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name UP Cannon River Bridge
Built By Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 210 Feet Total, 110 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 45 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1905
Traffic Count 15 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 301.90
Significance Local Significance
In 1901, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway built a 54 mile route between Albert Lea and Comus (north of Faribault), as well as 11 miles connecting Inver Grove Heights to Rosemount.
This new route used a direct path between Albert Lea and St. Paul, and paralleled a nearby Milwaukee Road route.
In June of 1903, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad purchased the BCRN. The Rock Island utilized this route as a main line to connect to the Twin Cities.
Unfortunately for the Rock Island, it was never able to lure customers in the Saint Paul area to its facilities. As a result, it became more of a bridge railroad, connecting towns.

With a steady decline in company finances through the decades before, the Rock Island Railroad filed for bankruptcy in 1980. All Rock Island properties were shut down, and most salvaged.
This route became a contested route connecting the Twin Cities with Des Moines and Kansas City. In 1983, the Chicago & North Western Railway won the rights to the entire right of way between Kansas City and St. Paul. Rehabilitation work started soon after.
Extensive rebuilding of the line was necessary, as the Rock Island had not been maintaining properties for some years prior. This route required less extensive work than others, but still required a great deal of work to make operational.
In 1996, the C&NW was purchased by Union Pacific Railroad. Union Pacific currently owns this route, and it is known as the Albert Lea Subdivision. It continues to connect St. Paul and Kansas City.

Located just north of Faribault is this large deck girder structure.
Built in 1905, the bridge features a trio of deck girder spans on stone masonry substructures. Uniquely enough, the line was built in 1902, not 1905.
This discrepancy in build dates indicates that at least the main span of this bridge is a second generation span at this location.
More than likely, the original structure here was a pile trestle, which was replaced by this structure in 1905.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition.

The author has ranked the bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.

Cannon River Railroad Bridges
Upstream CGW Cannon River Bridge
Downstream Cannon Falls Railroad Bridge


Source Type


Build Date American Bridge Company plaque
Contractor American Bridge Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

Widget is loading comments...

© Copyright 2010- John Marvig and Contributors. All Rights Reserved