4 votes

UP - Wapsipinicon River Bridge


Photo taken by RLB1993

View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #242424


History of the Bridge 

Written by Jason Smith

This bridge may be the site of the first Thacher through truss bridge that was designed and patented by Edwin Thacher in 1881. A Thacher truss features a combination of either a Warren and Pratt configuration or a configuration of a Warren and Stearns truss. The middle panel of the truss span features an equalateral A-frame design. According to Donald Jackson, the first bridge was a 147 foot long structure built over the Wapsipinicion River for the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad in 1881. As this line was acquired by Rock Island Railroad in 1903 and later by Chicago and Northwestern due to the railroad's receivership proceedings, plus given the geographical formations of the region south and east of Cedar Rapids, it is highly likely that the first Thacher Truss Bridge was built at this site, although it is unclear when it was replaced, let alone when this bridge (the current structure) was built.


Through truss bridge over Wapsipinicon River on Union Pacific Railroad
Clinton County, Iowa
Open to traffic
- Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
2 Span Quadrangular lattice through truss
Length of largest span: 167.0 ft.
Total length: 322.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.82702, -90.81226   (decimal degrees)
41°49'37" N, 90°48'44" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/681678/4632884 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 53593 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 31, 2018: New photos from John Marvig
  • January 3, 2014: Updated by John Marvig: Added build date
  • August 14, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
  • January 30, 2013: New photo from Luke Harden
  • November 8, 2012: Essay added by Jason Smith
  • November 7, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • September 21, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • September 21, 2012: Added by Luke Harden

Related Bridges 


  • Luke
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Image
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com


UP Wapsipinicon River Bridge
Posted September 22, 2013, by Dylan VanAntwerp (dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com)

Correct; the picture I am referring to is the one Luke sent me awhile ago, which I assume is the same one used in the bridge's entry:


UP Wapsipinicon River Bridge
Posted September 22, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Jason, It's probably the exact same pic pf the bridge that I shared with you, as I also shared it with Dylan.

UP Wapsipinicon River Bridge
Posted September 22, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Here's a more detailed info on the Thacher truss: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2013/04/15/name-that-b...

UP Wapsipinicon River Bridge
Posted September 22, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Thanks Dylan for the information. I can go ahead and post your comments in the Chronicles' comment section. Can you post your pic of the Thacher truss please? Thx.


UP Wapsipinicon River Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by Dylan VanAntwerp (dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com)

Jason, I was reading through your essay, and I must point out some issues. I know nothing about Thacher trusses or their history, but if the first Thacher truss was a BCR&N structure, there is absolutely no way it was built at this site. Although the CNW did acquire a large number of ex-RI lines following the Rock's 1980 demise, this line has always been a CNW line since its inception. In fact, this line is one of the oldest routes CNW built, being its original E/W line across Iowa. The only place I know of where the BCR&N crossed the Wapsipinicon River was at Independence, and there is a picture showing it to be a Thacher Truss.