Saturday, April 8, 2017

INRD/IC Bridge over Wabash River at Riverton, IN

(1910 Bridge Hunter,  1886 Bridge Hunter, Satellite)

Google has a photo of the 1880s bridge, but it is a Flickr photo copyrighted by Union Depot - Historic Railroad. The Flickr comments do include a history of the railroad. The photostream contains another photo of this bridge. Thomas Keesling put a copyright on some more old photographs of this bridge: 3/4, closeup, and elevation.

A comment on the "closeup" photo:
Tony Dillon 5y  
This is very interesting to me as I have not seen any photos of this bridge before. It is hard to make out the trusses completely, but they almost appear to have triple-intersecting diagonals. If true. that would place it in rare company with the Laughery Creek Bridge (my profile pic) which is the only remaining example. The plaque looks similar to the one that existed on the old White River Bridge in Indianapolis that still stands today (plaques now missing). That bridge was built in 1886 by the Keystone Bridge Company and is likely the oldest remaining railroad bridge in the state. It was also previously an Illinois Central span and so the plaque comparison makes sense.

Dave Honan
Dave Honan
The swing span shows that river traffic on the Wabash was still considered important in 1910. The quote on Bridge Hunter indicates the span was last opened on July 7, 1938. The swing steel girder span was installed in 1965 from IC's Cumberland River Bridge in Kuttawa, Kentucky to satisfy the hubris of two Indiana state senators who wanted to make the Wabash a viable commercial waterway. But no machinery was installed. The center pylon still has its large orbital gear.

Richard Koenig posted
A northbound Illinois Central Gulf train crosses over the Wabash River Bridge at Riverton, Indiana. The lead unit is Illinois Central number 9500, an EMD GP38AC. Image by Richard Koenig; taken in the fall of 1979.
Considering the hard times that the railroads were having in the 1970s, this bridge was nicely painted. Especially since this was one of the many IC branches that ICG wanted to dump. This branch is now part of the Indiana Railroad (INRD).

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