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Westminster Junction Tunnel #1

Stone Arch Tunnel over BNSF Railway
Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Westminster Junction Tunnel #1
Built By Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
Built By Northern Pacific Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 267 Feet Total
Width 30 Feet Total (Estimated)
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Stone Arch Tunnel
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1889
Traffic Count (Through) 50 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Moderate Significance
Between 1868 and 1872, the West Wisconsin Railway would construct 188 miles of track in western and central Wisconsin.
Starting in Elroy, the route would be constructed westwards, reaching Eau Claire by 1870. A short 10 mile branch was built between Warrens and Tomah in 1868.
By 1871, the route would reach Hudson. The same year, the St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylor Falls Railway would build a route between Hudson and St. Paul, Minnesota.
By 1878, the WW became part of the Chicago, St. Paul & Minneapolis Railway, which in turn became part of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway in 1880.
The Omaha road became controlled by the Chicago & North Western Railway upon formation.
A second main track was constructed along this route between Wyeville and St. Paul between 1911 and 1913, as part of an upgrade to the C&NW system.

The Omaha Road was leased by the C&NW in 1957, and was outright merged in 1972. The C&NW continued to operate this as a main track until 1995, when it was purchased by Union Pacific.
Today, Union Pacific operates this line as part of a main line to the Twin Cities.
06/26/21


One of four bridges and tunnels at Westminster Junction, this stone arch tunnel is the southeastern of the four remaining structures.
Built for a connecting track between the Omaha Road and Northern Pacific to cross another Northern Pacific track, the bridge currently carries a Union Pacific/BNSF track over a BNSF track.
Built in 1889, this is classified as a tunnel, due to the length of 267 feet. The tunnel has also appeared to been rebuilt, including a new floor and drainage system.
This tunnel is officially as being tunnel #1 in a Northern Pacific bridge book. At one time, five total tunnels existed at Westminster Street. Today, four remain.
Better photos of this tunnel are a must; however, due to the dangerous nature of active railroad tracks and trespassing, the bridge could not be completely documented.
Overall, the bridge appears to remain in great condition, and should continue to serve traffic for many years to come.
A sign at the junction indicates that these four tunnels were vital to the growth of the St. Paul railroad network. Before the construction of this two level junction, a major bottleneck existed.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the economic impact these four tunnels had on the City of St. Paul and the railroad companies that built them.
The photo above is an overview.

Citations

Source Type

Source

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



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