Vinton Railroad Arch

Concrete Encased Stone Arch Bridge over Mud Creek and Road
Vinton, Benton County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Vinton Railroad Arch
Built By Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Iowa Northern Railway
Length 115 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 35 Feet (Estimated)
Type Concrete Encased Stone Arch
Date Built Ca. 1886
Traffic Count 3 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
In 1871, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota Railway Company built a continuation from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo, completed in 1872.
The new extention would cross the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, continue north through Shellsburg, Vinton and La Porte City before arriving in Waterloo.

In 1876, the railroad went into receivership and was sold to the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern. The BCR&N built 5 more miles to Manly, Iowa in 1877 where it then purchased trackage rights over the Iowa Central to Northwood. The Iowa Central never built past Northwood, and the BCR&N built to Albert Lea, where it could meet up with the M&STL. The Iowa Central used this line too.

After building and buying all the way to St. Paul, MN in 1902 the BCR&N was purchased by the Rock Island Railroad. (CRIP) The Rock Island had trackage rights in the St. Paul area. This completed the Spine Line. The Spine Line ran from St. Paul, MN to Kansas City, MO. This line was crucial to the Rock Islands health. The Spine Line ran through Mason City, splitting off at Manly, in Cerro Gordo County.

But the Rock Island was a poor railroad, often going into Bankruptcy. Negotiations began for a Union Pacific and Rock Island merger in 1960, and fell through in 1980. The line here was well engineered, but due to a suffering Rock Island became unkempt and unmaintained. The Rock Island entered receivership in 1980. The Iowa Northern purchased the portion from Cedar Rapids to Vinton. A few years later, they acquired the gaps between sections. They also acquired a 13 mile branch to Dysart from Vinton, which was abandoned in 1994.

Today, the Iowa Northern provides good service between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, and is the only direct link between the towns remaining.
The track and bridges have been strengthened and rebuilt for stable operations.

This stone arch was an absolute piece of art before it recieved the concrete jacket, and it could still be considered that.

It is unknown exactly when it was built and encased, but it was likely built about 1886.

The bridge is a must visit for BCR&N fans. The old photos are provided by Hank Zaletel.

The photo above is an overview

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