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Thames River Railway Bridge

Sarnia Bridge

Thames River Railway Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): C. Hanchey, CC BY-NC 2.0, flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07/

Bridge Documented: July 1, 2012

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Key Facts

St. Marys: Perth County, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1905 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
Main Span Count Not Available
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This high level deck plate girder bridge rests on reused stone piers and abutments that date to 1857-1858. The bridge carried the Sarnia line of the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR). Canadian National Railway (CN) ceased traffic on the bridge in 1989. The former railroad bridge became part of the Grand Trunk Trail in 1999.

The Grand Trunk Western had a railway line that split in St. Marys, with one line headed toward Sarnia, and the other toward London. The line to Sarnia had to cross the North Branch Thames River, while the line to London had to cross the Trout Creek. For each, a high level bridge was constructed. Today, the Trout Creek Bridge (also called the London Bridge) remains in use by trains, while the North Branch Thames River Bridge (also called the Sarnia Bridge) is today part of a rail-trail, and thus used by pedestrians instead of trains. It is known that both bridges were originally built in 1857-1858 on stone piers and abutments. The superstructure type is not known. In 1905, it is documented that the Sarnia Bridge's superstructure was replaced with steel deck plate girders, which is the superstructure seen today. Since the London Bridge has girders of similar design and was originally built at the same time as the Sarnia Bridge, it is presumed that the London Bridge's superstructure was replaced ca. 1905 as well. The stone piers and abutments for both bridges appear to be the original 1857-1858 substructure, and as such, the tall piers are notable for their age and size.



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