Friday, February 19, 2016

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

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, Satellite)

The 1889 IC bridge now has its own set of notes.

20161126 6772, cropped +0+40, taken from 8th Street River Access
A grey bridge against a grey sky is a bummer, but I can't change the weather. Fortunately, cranking up the contrast did help some.
I drove down a side street trying to get a closer view.
But the closer I got, the more the obstructions got in the way.
Blair Denny posted
The Canadian National's (Illinois Central's) Ohio River Bridge at Cairo, IL
[Blair got out of his car and did some walking.]

Satellite
Note that the Kentucky side has a long trestle to let flood waters pass.

Over the river, they reused the old bridges piers, but in the approach they changed to a steel trestle. However, they let the old truss piers stand. Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook 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.

Satellite

Christian Goepel posted
Chris Hudson posted
IC Cairo Bridge - Illinois Side 2016

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 posted again
"LOOK OUT BELOW!!"
Between 1950 and 1952 the IC rebuilt its Ohio River bridge at Cairo, IL. To save costs the existing piers were reused, and new spans were constructed on a floating platform next to the bridge. Once the new span was ready, the old span was pushed out of the way and the new span was rolled into position. This technique had never been attempted before on bridges of this size.
After each span was replaced, it was stripped of rails, ties, wires, etc. The steel skeleton was then dropped into the Ohio River, accompanied by a massive SPLASH, and divers would then cut up the span for scrap. In this view from August 21, 1951, the third span is taking the dive. This view is looking from the Illinois shore towards Kentucky. Collection of Cliff Downey
Alex Sansone How exactly was it pushed over ?
Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook When each span was replaced, it was rolled onto a steel platform next to the pier (the platform is visible in the photo above). At the top of the platform is a "sled" that attached to the bridge span, and the sled was on an incline. The pins holding the sled were pulled, a barge would give a gentle tug, and then gravity did the rest.
Lou Maxberry I was present at one of the replacement sections. As info. The contractor that removed the steel from the river was blind also all of his divers were blind.
Mike Thompson Just layer rail over that a few years ago
Cliff also made an album of 12 pictures of the reconstruction of the bridge. The first picture includes a steam powered crane. Each picture has interesting comments.

Cliff Downey posted two photos with the comment:
In recent weeks I've posted several photos of IC's Ohio River bridge at Cairo, IL, taken in the early 1950's when the bridge was rebuilt. Here are a couple more, but a little background info is needed to understand these photos.
On November 14, 1951, crews from American Bridge Company (the contractor on the bridge project) replaced the 400' through truss span on the far southern end of the bridge with a pair of 200' deck girder spans.
During the move the old span was moved onto a platform next to the bridge and afterwards was stripped down to a bare frame. Once stripped, the old span would be dropped to the ground so it could be cut up for scrap and hauled away.
By the afternoon of November 28 all was ready for the span to make its great fall. In one of the photos, the old span can be seen resting on the temporary platform. Note that the span is sitting atop a skid, which itself is mounted on an angled ramp. Once the all-clear is given, a few bolts and pins under the ramp were removed, and a winch mounted on a barge gave a good tug.
Gravity then took over and the span fell onto the river bank below. As seen in the second photo, on the day the span fell, the river bank was partially flooded. Note that at the end of each of the old spans was a beam with the words "Cairo Bridge" cast into it, along with 1889, the year the bridge was completed.
Both photos taken by IC photographers and are from the collection of Cliff Downey
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Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted
In mid-1950 the IC began rebuilding its Ohio River bridge at Cairo, IL. Most of the bridge piers were in good condition, so the railroad decided to replace the old superstructure with new spans.
In its original form, the Cairo bridge consisted of long approach trestles on both sides of the river (the approach trestle on the Illinois side of the river was filled in around 1900, and the trestle on the Kentucky side of the river was replaced in the early 1930s).. The main part of the bridge, over the river itself, consisted of two 518' spans plus seven 400' spans. After consulting with bridge engineers, the IC decided that the three 400' through truss spans on the Kentucky side of the river would each be replaced by a pair of 200' deck spans. New piers were built at the center of the old piers to support the 200' deck spans.
The first span (the 518' span closest to the Illinois shore) was replaced in October, 1950. The next span was not replaced until June, 1951. Afterwards, crews replaced one span roughly every 4-8 weeks. By early 1952 only one span was left to be replaced. That was the 400' span that was right on the river bank on the Kentucky side of the river. This span was to be replaced by two 200' spans. These two spans had actually been built in mid-1950. They were lashed together, mounted on barges, and served as a construction platform. The other spans were built atop these two spans. With the rest of the bridge completed, it was time to put these two spans into place.
The attached photo was taken on February 11, 1952, the date that the old 400' span was rolled out and the two new 200' spans were rolled into position. In the photo, the old span has already been rolled out the way and is sitting off to the left. Crews are hard at work, securing the new spans to the piers, putting finishing touches on the track and side walkway, and making ready to reopen the bridge.
The photographer is perched high above the tracks on one of the 400' spans (drones were unheard of in 1952) and is looking towards Kentucky. As noted earlier, these two spans were right on the Kentucky shore, but thanks to high water the river is running far inland. The IC runs north-south through Cairo, according to timetable directions, but due to the Ohio River's ever-changing course, the photographer is looking almost directly east!
IC photo, Cliff Downey coll.
Robert Coughlin I remember crossing the Ohio river on this bridge many times. You know your high up when there are trees that are 50 feet tall and you are above them by another 50 to 100 feet.

Dennis DeBruler I found an interesting resource: http://bridgestunnels.com/.../cairo-bridge-illinois.../. The original plans were to build 150' upstream.. But when the river boat interests called for an 800' navigation span, IC decided to improve their existing piers and require the contractors to devise a span replacement technique that significantly reduced the outage. To put 800' in perspective, when the river boat interests required a 700' span for the Metropolis Bridge (https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../cb-bridge-over...), they thought that would kill that project. Instead, the bridge builders called their bluff and built "the longest pin-connected simple through truss span in the world." So by being greedy and asking for 800', they ended up with the old 518' spans.

Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook Thanks for sharing Dennis DeBruler, I hadn't seen that site and will have to check it out. I've read various articles written back in the late 1800s and the early 1900s when the IC was building bridges in west Kentucky, and it was interesting to read about the various demands that riverboat operators demanded.


Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted again
On February 11, 1952, the last two spans were moved into position on the IC's rebuilt Ohio River bridge at Cairo, Ill. The last spans were a pair of 200' spans on the Kentucky side of the river, which replaced a 400' span.

The two spans installed on February 11 actually were the first spans built. These two spans had been built in mid-1950, mounted on barges and served as a construction platform for the other new spans.

In this photo taken by an IC company photographer, the old span has been moved out of the way and the two new spans have been moved into position. Crews are busy putting the finishing touches on the span so the bridge can be reopened to train traffic.

The old span is resting on a temporary platform. It will be stripped to a bare frame and then in a few weeks will be dropped to the ground below where it will be cut up for scrap and hauled away.

IC photo, Cliff Downey collection.


Doug Rogers commented
1st time I crossed it
Update:
Abandonedimages by Michael Wright posted
I lot going on in this shot of the Cairo bridge. The barges on the Ohio,the flood wall and if you look near the bottom left you can see some abandoned tracks with 2 double diamonds.
David Harris commented on the above posting
Great image, Michael. Love aerials of places like this. Here is a CCC&StL Conrail era shot from ground level made on July 25, 1981. I think I also have a shot of a sb ICG train starting across the bridge the same day. Will try to locate and scan/post.
[You can see some of the bridge truss around the caboose.]
Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook shared a video of a tow barely fitting under the old bridge. (Click "Not Now" if you are not a Facebook member.)

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.
Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted
An unknown photographer snapped this view of a southbound IC passenger train tip-toeing across the Ohio River bridge on December 2, 1951. Reconstruction of the Cairo bridge was nearing an end (the last two spans were installed on February 11, 1952) and the photographer might have been an IC photographer or media photographer and was on the bridge documenting the work. Or, he could have been an idiot railfan trying to shoot trains from a different angle.
Photographer unknown, Cliff Downey collection.
Randy James Looks like two e7'sBill Rice My Uncle Robert Kealy designed and built the railroad bridge.Paul Turner Walked it.Also- that smokestack to the left is about exactly where I matriculated in the 1980’s. Baseball practice and football practice and games provided a great view of both Mainline action and my dad going to switch Bunge and interchange with the Mop and Cairo Terminal.

Nothing much better than playing center field and turning around and waving at your dad on the platform of a Centrailia long porch working 3-11. He was good for 12 hours if it was there, or an early quit if not.

John Sniffen posted
Photo from rear of northbound passenger train after crossing the bridge over the Ohio River at Cairo on Sept. 3, 1928. Photographer was Robert S. Platt, a geography professor from the University of Chicago, who was returning from a rail trip to Mexico. From American Geographical Society Library Digital Photo Archive, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Link to enlargeable photo: https://collections.lib.uwm.edu/…/c…/agsnorth/id/10796/rec/1
Bill Pulliam First paying trip we derailed when we stopped at the depot. I was flagging and was scared to death walking that bridge. We had about a 175 car train on GS2.

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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