Clinton Rail Bridge

Through Truss Swing Bridge Over Mississippi River
East Clinton, Whiteside County, Illinois
Clinton, Clinton County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!

Name Clinton Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor (Superstructure) Pennsylvania Steel Company of Steelton, Pennsylvania
Contractor (Substructure) Foundation Company of New York
Contractor (Erection) Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company of Leavenworth, Kansas
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 854 Feet Total, 460 Foot Swing Span
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Swing Bridge, Through Truss and Deck Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1909
Traffic Count 75 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use, Scheduled For Replacement
UP Bridge Number 136.65
C&NW Bridge Number 0 3/4
Significance High Significance
Documentation Date December 2017
A brief history of the Chicago & North Western Iowa Division mainline, now part of the Overland Route:


View an article regarding the construction of this bridge.

Located between Iowa and Illinois, the Clinton Swing Bridge is one the heaviest used railroad bridges across the Mississippi. The swing span is the largest ever erected, and it was the first electrified swing bridge.
When built, the bridge replaced an older single track bridge. That bridge contained several spans, mostly mismatched Pratt Trusses that would later be relocated to Fall River and Lawrence County, South Dakota.
This bridge currently contains four spans. A deck girder span, a Swing Span, a Parker Through Truss span and a Quadrangular Through Truss Span.
The Parker Through Truss contains 7 panels with riveted connections, the Quadrangular Span has riveted connections and the swing span has a pair of 8-panel leafs with riveted and pin connections.

Historic Photo
Blueprints of the bridge, from Railroad Gazette: Volume 48 Issue 2

Unfortunately, the bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2022, with demolition occurring by 2025.
As a result, this bridge is almost certainly bound for destruction when the new bridge opens, approximately 100 feet to the south. Construction on a new bridge begins in 2021, and the old crossing will be removed in 2025.
The bridge sits on all masonry substructures. The abutments are extra wide for a third track, which was where the old bridge sat.
During the first decade of the 20th Century, the C&NW engineered several trusses of their own and had them fabricated. The main span of this bridge was one of them.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the previous bridge

While not the oldest bridge across the Mississippi River, the series of three bridges which makes up this crossing is one of the largest. As a result, the author has ranked it as being of high significance, due to the unique design, massive size and old age.
The photo above is an overview. The photo below is sway bracing on the swing span.

Mississippi River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Sabula Rail Bridge
East Channel UP Sunfish Slough Bridge
Middle Channel Willow Island Rail Bridge
Downstream Government (Arsenal) Bridge

These Pictures Start at Varying Points in the Series

Detail Photos from December 2017


Source Type


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

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