Saturday, September 10, 2016

CSX/Rock Island/Big4/K&S Bridge over Illinois River at Seneca, IL

Birds Eye View
(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, John Weeks III)

It carried the Kankakee & Seneca Railroad over the Illinois River.

As John Weeks III mentions, trespassing signs prevent getting good pictures from land. I noticed that the No Trespassing signs on the north side of the river state that violators will be prosecuted. Fortunately, The Bridge Hunter collection of pictures includes some that Steve Conro was able to get from the south side. Since I'm not going to do any better photos than John and Steve did on the ground, I found some satellite and aerial views.
1940 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Photo from Facebook
According to comments in the reference in the picture's caption, this original bridge was wooden, and it was replaced by a steel truss bridge in 1910. The existing bridge would have been built as part of the 1930s 9-foot navigation channel project.
Kankakee and Seneca Railroad Company posted
On August 18th, 1916 a westbound K&S train started across the southern span of the Illinois River bridge in Seneca. When the locomotive cleared the span it gave way derailing the locomotive's tender but the first four cars went down with the bridge span. There were no injuries but an EJ&E gondola, a CRI&P automobile boxcar, a CNO&TP boxcar, and one unknown boxcar were severely damaged.
The train was lead by CCC&STL 6221, a 4-6-0 built in 1892 by ALCO's Richmond Works.
Special thanks to the Seneca Historical Guild for the photograph.
Satellite
Update: This bridge serves just one industry. It used to be a DuPont explosives plant. Looking at the satellite, I see H.B. Fuller is using this plant area. I didn't think they used rail service because the track is so heavily tree covered. But I did find railcars at the plant in a satellite image. I saved the image because who know what will appear after Google updates the images. Bing's aerial view shows about the same number of cars but it is a different image because the cars are positioned a little differently.

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