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Southwind Rail Trail Bridge

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Bridge

Southwind Rail Trail Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 6, 2016

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Southwind Rail Trail) Over Elm Creek
Iola: Allen County, Kansas: United States
Structure Type
Metal 8 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1890 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
165 Feet (50 Meters)
Structure Length
228 Feet (69 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

2018 Update: John Marvig located ATSF Bridge Records which answered some questions about this bridge. The bridge was built in Built 1890, the approach span was addded in 1900, and it was strengthened in 1919 using pieces from Bridge #533A over the Purgatoire River near Las Animas, Colorado. That span was built in 1898.

This railroad bridge is a very unusual design. It is composed of four truss lines, with each pair sitting right next to each other and connected by riveted plates. At quick glance, its configuration appears to be an original detail much like this bridge in Canada. However, closer inspection reveals that with this example in Kansas, the detail is not original and is the result of an alteration. Because rivets are used to connect the two truss pairs it is assumed that the alteration occurred long ago, at least before ca. 1970 to be sure. It appears likely that what happened is a two-span through truss in some unknown location was relocated here, and the two truss spans were combined into a single, stronger single-span through truss span at this location. Evidence for this includes the empty rivet holes on the outer trusses at the top of the vertical members where knee braces would have originally been attached. Splices at the center of the struts and portal bracing suggest that the width of the roadway was also changed at this time. The plates used to connect the truss pairs appear to be salvaged because numerous empty rivet holes are present on them.


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