This bridge was designed by George Morison. Morison designed some of the first large-scale metal truss bridges in the country and many of the 19th century railroad bridges over the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were associated with Morison. Many of his simple-span truss bridges are long spans even by today's standards, and some were record-breaking (or close to record-breaking) when first completed....The Merchants Bridge varies from his typical use of the Whipple truss, in favor of a Pennsylvania truss. [Historic Bridges]The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) owns both railroad bridges across the Mississippi at St. Louis --- this one and the MacArthur Bridge. It is because of the monopoly prices that they used to charge to cross the river that the major east/west railroads interchange in Chicago or Kansas City. John Weeks indicated the prices were high enough that ferries ran on into the 1920s. Even today, CSX has quit using its L&N (Evansville) and B&O (Vincennes) routes to St. Louis. Only its Pennsy (Terre Haute) route is still used. I'm speculating that route survives to serve industries on the Illinois side of the river rather than to interchange traffic with BNSF and/or UP.
Even though it is double tracked, only one train at a time is allowed on it. Missouri wants to use $150m that is part of a $1billion fund application to replace this bridge. I think the CREATE projects to untangle the 75th Street area in Chicago [from 75thcip from CREATE] that needs $1 billion should have much higher priority than a $600m new right-of-way across Missouri. [StLtoday]
The steel inside the bridge was modified a long time ago to accommodate taller freight. The approaches to the Merchants Bridge were rebuilt in 2005.
Replace the Merchant's bridge with what? All the Mississippi river railroad bridges have been trusses. IIRC, the newest railroad crossing across the Mississippi river in the Midwest was the CB&Q/BN/BNSF bridge at Qunicy, IL, built in 1960.
|Willam A. Shaffer added|
The Merchants Bridge spans the Mississippi River north of Downtown St. Louis, MO. (Photo by William A. Shaffer)
|Historic Postcard from Bridge Hunter|
|Dave Hall Posting|
|Dave Hall Posting|