Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oshkosh Railroad Bridges

WC: (Satellite, the remnants are now a fishing pier)
C&NW: (Satellite)

Between Fond du Lac, WI and Neenah; that is, along the west shore of Lake Winnebago, SOO/Wisconsin Central and C&NW had routes that paralleled each other. Canadian National probably got control of the WC route when SOO dumped its former WC routes after it bought a lot of the bankrupt Milwaukee Road routes. CN must have bought the C&NW route from either C&NW or UP. In Oshkosh, CN sold the WC route north of the river to Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WCL) and the route south of the river to Wisconsin & Southern Railway (WSOR). As of 2005, WCL was abandoned and WSOR now terminates west of I-41. So the SOO/WC bridge became unused. And as Diane indicates, it was removed in 1999.

Tim Shanahan shared Diane Perron Nelson's photo
1999 . Oshkosh , Wisc. SOO Line railroad swing bridge was put out of service & removed .

It looks like the steel girder spans to the swing span have now been repurposed as a heavy duty fishing pier.
Sam Carlson posted
Oshkosh, by gosh! On October 29, 1995.
Dennis DeBruler I'm glad you caught this bridge because it was removed in 1999.
Sam commented on his post
 I even caught it on its last day of operation. I was up here for the last train.

Sam Carlson posted
Kind of going out on a limb just to get a shot of a signal. Shot from the Oshkosh swing bridge on November 4, 1995. You're looking south. Highball Oshkosh!

Steven J. Brown posted
Milwaukee Road 261 from the Wisconsin Central drawbridge tender's house in Oshkosh, WI - September 19, 1993. in
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Rick Billington posted
Crossing the Soo Line bridge in Oshkosh, WI.
All that's left of the bridge now, is one section saved as a fishing platform.

1961 Oshkosh Quad @ 24,000

The C&NW bridge was closer to the mouth of the river and was also a swing bridge until at least 2010. The new bridge appears in the 2013 Historical Aerials photo. Google Maps uses a picture of this old bridge as the "signature picture" for the town, which I copied below.
Google Photo, Jessie, cropped, Aug 2008
Bird's Eye View
With Bing, if you zoom in with the Bird's Eye mode, you see the old bridge.
Zoomed Out
As you zoom out, it switches to an aerial view and you see the newer bridge.

Diane's comment concerning the photo below: "2013 . Oshkosh , Wisc. 1st train over the new train bridge . Sooo many in Oshkosh miss our 1899 rail bridge ."
Diane Perron Nelson posted

A Google Photo makes it easy to confirm that it is a Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge. I wonder how far down they had to go when building the foundation to hit bedrock because this design requires a very stable foundation.
Google Photo

Tim Shanahan shared Diane Perron Nelson's photo
1966 . Oshkosh , Wisc. Main St. Rail Bridge . Now gone .
[The rail would have been an electric interurban route.]
Tim Shanahan shared Diane Perron Nelson's photo
1984 . Oshkosh , Wisc. SOO Line traveling Northbound over the Fox River . Bridge now gone .
3D Satellite
Keith Pokorny posted
CN 2839 leads a Southbound manifest over the new lift bridge over the Fox River in Oshkosh, WI. 10/10/2016
Michael J Klapperich posted 18 photos with the comment: "Oshkosh bridge 2013, when she was put in service."
Michael J Klapperich This bridge was brand spanking new in 2013 when I took the pictures. The old swing bridge that was taken out, is in one of the pics, they floated it out of the way and it got cut up. It had 1899 date plates on it.




















William Shapotkin posted five photos with the comment:
In an earlier post, I showed pix of the still-standing (and in-use (for non-rail purposes) one-time Oshkosh, WI C&NW psgr station on (what is today) the CN. While taking pix of that station, Michael Muellenbach and I caught (over a period of two days) no fewer than four frt trns passing this station. What timing, you ask? Well, it was not that difficult, as the still-operating moveable bridge over the Fox River (located just a few blocks south of the station -- and which has an on-duty bridgetender (i.e.: it is NOT dispatcher controlled, which would mean from Homewood, IL) is normally in the "open" position -- allowing river traffic to travel thru unrestricted. Well, when a train is about to show up (roughly 5-10 minutes ahead of its anticipated arrival), the bridge closes, thus allowing train movements thru town.
If you were to stand at a location north of the Fox River (as there may not be a decent spot to wait south of the river) and see the bridge go down, it's "train time." As there is a signal just north of the bridge, if it remains red once the bridge goes down, the approaching train is N/B (what was once C&NW timetable W/B) -- if it is green, the approaching train is S/B (formerly C&NW timetable E/B).
Here are three views of the bridge in the open position and two views of a N/B frt passing thru town -- all thru the camera of Michael Muellenbach. We had a GREAT time photographing trains on this line at Oshkosh and other locations over a four-day period of Aug 14-17, 2019. Although the locomotives are no longer painted yellow-and-green, it was great to see the C&NW alive and well.






Rick Billington posted
Wisconsin Central crossing the Fox River in Oshkosh, WI.
Rick Billington posted
1999 The Great American Circus Train, crossing the Fox River in Oshkosh, WI.

Joe Davis posted
Samantha Coyle ...this one is for you...CN Grand Trunk Heritage unit 8952 crossing the Fox River in downtown Oshkosh, Wisconsin...4/15/23

Brian Cazel posted six photos of an intermodal crossing the bridge and then the bridge going back up.

(new window) source  At 2:00, the boat could have at least gone under the far end instead of the close end to not cut the clearance so close.

The following is a different edit of the above bridge closing. The bridge going down and up is timelapsed.
safe_image for [CN OSHKOSH DRAW BRIDGE] on 8 19 2017


  1. Not all info is correct. The Soo Line spun off all of these routes to Wisconsin Central Limited in 1987 I believe, and eventually in 1993 the WCL acquired the FRVR and GBW, which gave them the ex C&NW route too, and they combined parts of the former Soo and C&NW, they use the former C&NW through Oshkosh but the ex Soo over most of the railroad. CN bought WCL in autumn of 2001.

  2. That old bridge is actually used on the east side of the river walk, behind the Riverview dentists office now. If you walk a bit, you'll still be able to see "1899" headmarked on the bridge. I went to school at UWO.