KCS E. Fork Wood River Bridge

Warren Through Truss over East Fork Wood River
East Alton, Madison County, Illinois

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Name KCS E. Fork Wood River Bridge
Built By Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway
Contractor King Bridge Company of Cleveland
Currently Owned By Kansas City Southern Railway
Length 125 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Warren Through Truss
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete
Date Built 1916
Traffic Count Less than 1 Train/Day
Current Status In Use
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date June 2016
In 1856, the Terra Haute and Alton Railroad constructed a line from Terra Haute, Indiana to Alton, Illinois. This new line would stretch for 174 miles across Illinois.
At the same time, the Belleville and Illinoistown Railroad built a 20 mile spur from East St. Louis, Illinois to East Alton, where it would meet up with the other line.

Both these railroads would become a part of the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad in 1856. This new line was similarly followed by competitors, yet provided a meaningful connection between the two cities.
By 1862, the railroad joined the St. Louis, Alton and Terre Haute Railroad, which had several other lines throughout the area.

With the StLA&TH slipping, the Cairo, Vincenes and Chicago Railway purchased the segments from Terra Haute to Alton and East Saint Louis in 1890.
The CV&C was leased to the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & Saint Louis Railway the same year. The CCC&StL was commonly known as the Big Four.

The Big Four operated numerous lines throughout Indiana and Ohio. They would be purchased by the New York Central in 1906, but continued to operate separately.

In 1913, the Big Four finally outright purchased the CV&C. The line would be operated as the Big Four name, until 1930. At this point, the New York Central fully engulfed the Big Four.

The New York Central was a very successful railroad, up until a merger with rival Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968. The railroad quickly failed, and was in bankruptcy in 1970. 6 years later, Conrail would be created to pick up the operations of numerous failed mergers.

This railroad did not survive however. The entire section between East Alton and Terra Haute would be abandoned in the 1970s.

Today, the only remaining segment is a short spur that is operated by Kansas City Southern in East Alton, as well as tracks leading into East Saint Louis.

This small Warren Through Truss bridge crosses the East Fork of the Wood River parallel to Powder Mill Road. It is currently owned by Kansas City Southern, but was originally a Big Four Bridge.
The bridge features a simple construction. It contains a single 6-Panel Riveted Warren Through Truss. This bridge contains a type of decorative X-Frame portal bracing.
It is set onto stone abutments, which were retrofitted at the time of construction. The bridge was designed and constructed by King Bridge Company.

The author has ranked this bridge as moderately significant, due to the newer age of the bridge and common design in the area.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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