11 votes

CR - "Eight Track" Bascule Bridge


Photo taken by Steve Conro in September 2012


BH Photo #240405

Street View 


The design and history of these four parallel, double-track, double-leaf bridges is the most unusual of the bridges built in the Heritage Corridor. -- Historic American Engineering Record

The Main Drainage Channel of the Sanitary District of Chicago is crossed by 3 railroads. The Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis; Chicago Terminal Transfer and the Chicago Junction Railways. The first having the western four tracks and the others having the next two each easterly tracks. Making a total of eight tracks crossing the channel. From this is derived the name of the structure. --Journal of the Western Society of Engineers--

Two western spans no longer in use.


Warren through truss with all verticals bridge over Sanitary & Ship Canal on Chicago & Northern Pacific
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
Open to traffic
Built 1909
- Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. of Chicago, Illinois
- Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Co. of Chicago, Illinois
- Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad (BOCT)
- CSX Railroad (CSX)
- Canadian National Railway (CN)
- Chicago & Northern Pacific Railroad (C&NP)
- Chicago Junction Railway (CJR)
- Chicago Terminal Transfer Railroad (CTT)
- Conrail (CR)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Penn Central Railroad (PC)
- Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
- Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad (PCC&StL)
Warren through truss with all verticals.
Four Separate two track lift bridges. The western two are no longer in use.
Also called
Scissor Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.83670, -87.68725   (decimal degrees)
41°50'12" N, 87°41'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/442937/4631873 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 50842 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 26, 2018: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • May 19, 2017: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • August 30, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • July 16, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Canadian National Railway", "CSX Railroad", "Norfolk Southern Railway"
  • September 30, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad", "Chicago Junction Railway", "Chicago Terminal Transfer Railroad"
  • September 29, 2012: Updated by Steve Conro: Removed category "Pennsylvania Railroad"
  • January 6, 2012: Updated by J.P.: Added categories "Navigable waterway", "Pennsylvania Railroad", "chicago and northern pacific railroad"

Related Bridges 


  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • HAER IL-99 - Pennsylvania Railroad, "Eight-track" Bascule Bridge, Spanning Sanitary & Ship Canal, west of Western Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, IL
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Douglas Butler


"Eight Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted February 11, 2019, by Mark Mayfield (Mayfieldeb [at] q [dot] com)

This is indeed part of CREATE. This new connection will allow BNSF Railway improved access from their former Santa Fe line to points north.

"Eight Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted May 22, 2016, by Patrick Cooney

Looks like the decking in the satellite views is new steel, and on the other side it looks like its freshly graded. Maybe they're doing some rehab on the two out of service spans to bring them back into use as part of the CREATE project?

"Eight-Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted July 15, 2015, by Anonymous

I have questions on this bridge.You mentioned about a designation as a Chicago landmark.What is a landmark designation?I have never heard of it.Also from the map I looked at it looks like 2 bridges are abandoned,not one.Let me know about this designation and if both bridges are under that.

"Eight-Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted July 14, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This is extremely alarming as it appears to show demo of the 1901 Warren deck truss spans. This bridge is a DESIGNATED Chicago Landmark. I have dispatched an email to the Landmarks Commission to request on why this alteration/demolition was approved. I traditionally have a lot of trouble getting communication from the City of Chicago, but hopefully can get a response in this case.

"Eight-Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted July 14, 2015, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Looking on Google Maps (from May 2015), it appears the bridge is undergoing more renovations. The westernmost span has had its south approach removed. Anyone have any further information?

"Eight-Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted September 30, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

They would have been operated during World War II for sure, since the nearby Western Avenue Bridge was retrofit into a lift bridge at that time and it is far higher than the RR bridges. Not sure when the S&S canal ceased to have operable bridges. I do know that these RR bridges have the lowest clearance of all bridges on the S&S Canal. Many scrapes and bends are visible on the underside of these bridges from barges that were too tall.

"Eight-Track" Bascule Bridge
Posted September 29, 2012, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I wonder what the last time this bridge was 'opened'? I'd bet it's been a while.