BNSF 4th Street Bridge (Middle)

Concrete Encased Deck Girder Bridge over 4th Street
Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name BNSF 4th Street Bridge (Middle)
Built By Great Northern Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 50 Feet Total
Width 6 Tracks, 2 In Use
Height Above Ground 13 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Concrete Encased Deck Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 50 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Local Significance
In 1862, the first railroad in Minnesota would be constructed by the St. Paul & Pacific Railway to connect Minneapolis and St. Paul, following what is today the midway area.
This short 10 mile segment would be critical to the growth of Minnesota.
Eventually, the line would be extended to the west towards Fargo, North Dakota; and to the north towards Duluth, Minnesota.
In 1879, the St. Paul & Pacific was purchased by the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway.
This railroad began rapid expansions throughout Minnesota and the surrounding areas, and eventually became a part of the Great Northern Railway in 1890.
The railroad used this segment as a critical line, with connections to several other lines. Industries began to pop up along the line, and it began to rival the Northern Pacific, only a few blocks to the north.
Both lines connected with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, as well as Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railroads in Saint Paul, which served as a connection to Chicago.

By 1970, the Great Northern, Northern Pacific and CB&Q merged together to form the Burlington Northern Railroad, a major freight hauler in the midwest.
Throughout the next two decades, many of the yard tracks and industries would be torn down on this segment.
In 1996, the BN merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to form BNSF Railway, which currently operates the line as the Midway Subdivision.
The line is a complementary line to the St. Paul Subdivision, formerly the Northern Pacific mainline. This line serves more industries and yards, including a massive intermodal yard at Energy Park.

Today, the line also provides a major thoroughfare for oil heading towards Chicago from North Dakota.

This structure was the Great Northern Mainlines crossing of 4th Street. Immediately after crossing this bridge, the GN would transfer to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.
The bridge was built in 1902, and later encased in concrete as a fire retardant method.
The bridge sits on stone abutments, and appears to be in fair condition. It is one of only a few concrete encased spans around the Twin Cities region.
It is also believed that all six of the tracks on the bridge were built for Great Northern.
The bridge also had an additional structure which angled off of the north side at one point. This was removed during a consolidation period between 1970 and 1980.

The author has ranked the bridge as locally significant, because of the build date.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Great Northern Bridge Records at the Minnesota Historical Society
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