De Soto Rail Bridge

Warren Pony Truss Bridge over Lexington Avenue
De Soto, Johnson County, Kansas

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name De Soto Rail Bridge
Built By Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway
Contractor Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of Milwaukee
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 105 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 14 Feet 9 Inches
Superstructure Type Warren Pony Truss
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1907, Moved Here 1940
Relocated From Arkansas River near Las Animas, CO
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Week (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date February 2017
In 1871, the Lawrence and Topeka Railroad built a 26 mile line connecting the two namesake cities. To the west, this railroad would connect with lines constructed the year previously by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.
In 1875, the Lawrence and Topeka Railroad would become a part of the Kansas City, Topeka and Western Railroad. At the same time, the KCT&W would construct approximately two miles of track between the Missouri/Kansas State Line and the Kansas City Union Station.
In addition, the Kansas Midland Railroad completed the connection between Lawrence and the state line in 1875, prior to merging with the KCT&W.

By 1899, the route would become a part of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. The ATSF connected several midwestern states to the southwestern United States.
This route served as a secondary mainline for the ATSF, bypassing the congested mainline which ran south of this line.

By 1996, the ATSF was struggling considerably. As a result, it merged with Burlington Northern to form BNSF Railway, the current operator of this line.
Currently, it is known as the Topeka Subdivision, which connects Emporia to Kansas City.

This massive warren pony truss bridge was originally constructed near Las Animas, Colorado to carry the Las Animas branch across the Arkansas River.
The bridge was moved here in 1940 as part of the construction of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. Originally, the road underneath was K-10; which has since been relocated to a freeway bypass nearby.
It is one of the few examples of a railroad crossing solely over a highway using a truss span.
The truss is a 6-panel riveted Warren Pony Truss. It was built in 1907 by the Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company. It was likely moved and re-erected by American Bridge Company.
The substructures of the bridge are typical concrete spans.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. The bridge appears to see occasional maintenance. There is no sign of much deterioration.

The author has ranked the bridge as being moderately significant due to the design and the relocation history. The ammunition plant was decommissioned in the late 1990s.
Since being decommissioned, the track only serves a couple of spurs.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


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

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