Friday, February 19, 2016

CN/IC RR Bridge over Ohio River at Cairo, IL

Chris Hudson posted
IC Cairo Bridge - Illinois Side 2016
(Bridge Hunter (old)Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, Satellite)

Chris Hudson posted
Billy Pomeroy commented on the above posting
Timothy Miller posted four pictures with the comment:
Growing up on the ICRR in Millington, you were aware of the important points north.Fulton.Cairo.Chicago.Photos were taken in the early 70's going over the Cairo Bridge.
Since there are no tracks at the base of the approach, I assume the train was heading north.

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Cliff Downey posted
On August 21, 1951, the 3rd span to be replaced on IC's bridge across the Ohio River at Cairo, IL, is dropped into the river. The replacement span had been moved into place a few weeks earlier. After the span was stripped of rails, timbers, wires, etc., it was dropped into the river and cut up for scrap. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.
Cliff has an album of 12 photos of the 1950-52 reconstruction and a nice description of the work.

Doug Rogers commented
1st time I crossed it
Update:
Photo 14 from Classic Trains, Henry J. McCord
New Orleans–St. Louis Rebel motor train at North Cairo, Ill., July 1946.
[Comments on a posting disagreed with "North Cairo." It was Illinois.]
Paul Turner It sits (or did sit) right above the Cairo Water Treatment plant, now Illinois American. Looking down on Bunge and the former Burkhart plant.
Paul Turner Those folks at Classic Trains are great, and I’m a subscriber, but that’s not North Cairo. In RR timetable parlance, that’s, as the shanty indicates, Illinois. But that is Cairo, geographically in the general sense. I’ve climbed those stairs, there are 99 of them, as we counted them in High School.
Cliff Downey shared an album of twelve photos with the comment:
llinois Central's bridge across the Ohio River opened for business on October 29, 1889. At the time a 2-8-0 was the largest locomotive in IC's fleet. As locomotives and cars became heavier the bridge was strengthened several times, and the steel approach trestles on both sides of the river were either filled in (on the Illinois side) or replaced (on the Kentucky side).
By the 1940's the bridge was worn out. Building a new bridge was considered but rejected due to its cost. Instead the railroad decided to rebuild the Cairo bridge. The old piers would be retained but each of the old spans would be replaced. In order to keep the bridge open during reconstruction a creative arrangement was worked out. Each new span would be built on a platform next to the span it would replace. An old span would be rolled out of the way and then the new one would be rolled into place. This arrangement helped keep the bridge open, except for the 24 period required to move each span. The first span to be replaced was a 518' span on the Illinois side of the river. Crews would then move across the river, replacing another 518' span plus seven 400' spans.
The first new span was moved into place on October 16, 1950. Due to high water the second span was not installed until June 5, 1951. Afterwards the pace quickened and the last new span was installed on February 11, 1952..
The photos presented here were taken by IC's company photographers and are from the collection of Cliff Downey. Along with a group of documents about the Cairo bridge reconstruction, they were purchased at a swap meet (in Nashville, TN, of all places!) several years.
The first new spans to be built for the Cairo bridge were two 200' spans that were to be installed on the Kentucky side of the river. These were then lashed together and used as a platform used to support the other spans as they were built. This view from June 22, 1950, shows one of the 200' spans under construction. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.

This aerial view taken on October 16, 1950, shows that the first span on the IC's Cairo bridge to be replaced (measuring 518' and the one closest to the Illinois shore) has been moved out of the way and crews have yet begun to start moving in the new span. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.
Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook The Cairo bridge certainly is an impressive structure. BTW, the approach trestle on the Kentucky shore is not original. By the early 1930s the trestle was falling apart due to a combination of heavy use and brine dripping from reefers. So, the original trestle was replaced by an all new approach trestle. Incidentally, believe it or nor, there also was a steel approach trestle on the north side of the bridge. Around 1903-1905 it was replaced by the massive fill and freight yard that still exists.

This photo was taken at 9:30am on Oct. 16, 1950, , shortly after crews began moving the first new span of the Cairo bridge. Yes, that is a giant yardstick in the distance. It was used to measure movement of the two spans. IC photos, Cliff Downey collection

By 10:08am the old span was mostly out of the way. October 16, 1950, IC photo, Cliff Downey collection

By 1:29pm on October 16, 1950, the first span to be replaced on IC's Cairo bridge was completely out of the way. Crews will soon begin moving in the new span. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.

By 4:55pm on Oct. 16, 1950, the new span was almost in place. Once movement is complete, crews will begin reconnecting the rails, signal wires, company telephone, etc., and the bridge will reopen shortly after midnight. Afterwards, the old span will be stripped and dropped into the river on November 8, 1950, and cut up for scrap. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.

On August 21, 1951, the 3rd span to be replaced on IC's bridge across the Ohio River is dropped into the river. The replacement span had been moved into place a few weeks earlier. After the span was stripped of rails, timbers, wires, etc., it was dropped into the river and cut up for scrap. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.
\Kenneth Joseph Young Did they use divers with torches to cut up the span that was underwater?Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook Correct. The Coast Guard mandated that the debris be removed within a certain amount of time so the divers had to work quickly.Lindsey Fowler That is a great picture a great catch.. Back in those days all you could do was manually click and wind the shutter and that's it... Really good to catch it like this.

One of the spans on the Kentucky side of the river is being dropped to the ground on October 10, 1951. This 400' span was replaced by two 200' spans. Note that the 400' spans in front of the old span, plus the one behind it, that still need to be replaced. Each of these will also be replaced by a pair of 200' spans. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.
Kenneth Joseph Young The openings in the stone piers were made for the installation of the two 200 ft deck trusses?Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook Yes.
A couple of piers out in the river are concrete and look new. However, they are the original piers but had been encased in concrete because the piers had been damaged in an earthquake.
Donnie Biederman why did they have to replace the bridge? heavier trains, well it wasn't double stacks.Illinois Central Railroad ScrapbookSeveral reasons. It was engineered to support the weight of 2-8-0's and there was little cushion to account for trains as they grew heavier. The bridge was reinforced several times over the years but the biggest steamer it could accommodate was a 2400 class 4-8-2 used in passenger service. Also the bridge structure had been compromised by the salt brine dripping from ice-cooled reefers.

When this 400' span of the IC's Cairo bridge was dropped on October 10, 1951, it created a crater about 4 feet deep, which the man at left is standing in. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.

On November 28, 1951, iron workers make final adjustments to the "launching pad" for one of the old spans of IC's Cairo bridge. Later that day the old span will be dropped to the ground. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.

One of the old spans on IC's Cairo, IL, bridge is seen after it has been dropped to the ground. Note the cast "Cairo bridge" nameplate at right. There was one of these nameplates at each end of the old spans. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.

Bridge construction was a dirty, dangerous job. This group of iron workers was crouched around one of the jacks used during the movement of each span of IC's Ohio River bridge at Cairo, IL. IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.


Terry Bryant posted three photos with the comment: "It was a nice day yesterday [Feb. 5, 2017] so I decided to ride up north toward Wickliffe, KY and took the opportunity to see the IC bridge over the Ohio. I wanted to see this since I was a kid!"

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David Honan
A broadside view of CNIC's long bridge over the Ohio River at Cairo, IL. The river was very swollen at the time this photo was taken, decreasing the apparent size of the bridge. (March 23, 2002)

David Honan
A composite view of the bridge put together from two photos. (March 23, 2002)

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