Chapman Rail Bridge

Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge over Chapman Creek
Chapman, Dickinson County, Kansas

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Name Chapman Rail Bridge
Built By Union Pacific Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 154 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Quadrangular Through Truss
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 3 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 151.55
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date March 2017
After the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, numerous railroads were charting routes from the Midwest to the Pacific using federal land grants.
The Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad was initially authorized by the Kansas Legislature in 1855, and changed the name to the Union Pacific Eastern Division in 1863.
Construction began in Kansas City in September 1863. The original goal was to meet the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad somewhere near Clay Center, Kansas.
In 1864, the first 40 miles of line between Kansas City and Lawrence was placed into operation. During the fall of 1866, the railroad extended again to Junction City, and reached Salina the following year.
The planners of the railroad realized it would be far more profitable to reach Denver instead of ending at the originally intended Fort Riley. Citizens lobbied heavily to extend the railroad even further west.
Reorganized as the Kansas Pacific, an extension towards Colorado began building west from Salina in 1869. When the railroad reached Kit Carson, Colorado the following year, the KP began building east from Denver. The two railroads met at Strasburg, Colorado in August 1870.
Because the western segment from Denver to Strasburg originally connected with another railroad, the meeting at Strasburg was the first time the east and west coast were connected by railroad, including a bridge over the Missouri River, which did not exist at that time in Omaha.
In 1874, Jay Gould gained control of the KP, and was reorganized as the Union Pacific Railroad. Other than track upgrades, the line saw little change since the 1870 connection.
Today, UP continues to operate the line in four subdivisions. The eastern portion of the Kansas Subdivision extends from Kansas City to Topeka, the Salina Subdivision extends from Topeka to Salina, the Sharon Springs Subdivision extends from Salina to Sharon Springs, and the Limon Subdivision extends from Sharon Springs to Denver.

This single span Quadrangular Through Truss bridge crosses Chapman Creek in Chapman.
The bridge features a single span with riveted connections. In addition, it is built with a large skew which greatly affects the appearance of the bridge.
While similar to other trusses on this line, this design of truss is relatively rare in Kansas and Missouri.
Reportedly built in 1902, the bridge has had little alteration since construction. The one alteration is the replacement of the original portal bracings to be able to accommodate larger trains.
The bridge rests on stone substructures, and is easy to access from the parallel road. The builder is assumed based on similar bridges.
The bridge remains in great condition and is well maintained, although is not part of the busiest mainline across Kansas.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the low number of Quadrangular Trusses in the region, as well as the skew.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from a parallel road.


Source Type


Build Date Junction City Weekly Union; May 16th, 1902
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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