The railroad bridge replacements I have seen are mostly deteriorated timber trestles and corroded out girders. Railroads don't mind trusses (BNSF even has some pin connected ones on their mainlines
)and for the most part, the major class 1 and 2 railroads just keep making repairs to the trusses. Class 3 railroads are having a harder time, but still make sure they keep them updated. A lot of mainline trusses could be around for years (and I do mean years) to come.
This UP mainline bridge (90 to 110 trains/day) was likely built in 1900. If that date is correct, that's 113 years old. And it still serves traffic with some repairs and altercations over the years.
No witch hunt of bridges is coming up in my opinion
I am not a railroad expert and so will not comment about the different class railroads. Maybe some bridges on certain class railroad lines are not at risk. My concern about the potential loss of pin-connected railroad bridges is simply based on my experience with highway bridges following the I-35W Bridge collapse. Additionally, I have noted a massive increase in railroad bridge demolitions and replacements in the past five years. Maybe these are on different class railroads, so maybe we don't need to worry about some railroad lines. However, in general, railroads are replacing their bridges at a rapid rate, and I can't see how the collapse of this bridge will do anything but accelerate that pattern. My experience has always shown that maintaining existing bridges is always the best use of money, but perhaps due to fears of fracture critical bridges and perhaps increasing loads on bridges, railroads seem to be finding reasons to replace bridges. Worse, as private bridges, there is no way to prevent the demolition of historic railroad bridges.
Nathan, you are really jumping the gun there. Railroads aren't simply going to go on a rampage against their own bridges because of one incident. The collapse of a delapidated old bridge on a low margin shortline is a very small blip on the radar to BNSF or UP.
Jason nailed it. There are so many trusses out there that railroads can't get rid of them all at once even if they wanted to. Taking out a RR bridge is a huge undertaking and not something the companies go into lightly. Considering that the new bridge has to last another century and anticpate future needs, it takes a lot of time and planning. Then throw in the cost of construction, not to mention getting government approval in the first place, and you see why it's a long drawn out process.
The big RRs have the time and money to keep an eye on their bridges and fix them or replace them when necessary. As long as a truss serves their needs and isn't falling apart, it's not going anywhere. What this does is shine the spotlight on Class III railroads and the problems they face. Maintaining infrastructure is hugely expensive, and many shortlines simply don't have the money to do so adequately. As the bridges on these shortlines continue to age and degrade, we will probably see more episodes of bridge failure. These shortlines don't have millions of dollars laying around to build new bridges.
Highly doubtful that this collapse will trigger such a purge for there are way too many of these bridges on the railroads today, the RRs maintain and inspect them regularly, and they are normally heavier than those that carry cars. However it will with no doubt will raise questions about the safety of these railroads, esp. if they are owned by smaller railroad companies that are barely making ends meet financially....
Some railfans suspect that a derailment was the cause.
Considering that Keokuk Junction is a class III shortline, it could be either one, because it's highly likely that most of their profits went into operating costs and payroll, with not much left over for track maintenance.
But that's just a guess.
Do we know for sure if this collapse was due to a problem in the superstructure or if it was abutment failure? Wouldn't be surprised if it were the latter given flooding earlier in the year...
...Not that the railroad would be forthcoming with their findings.
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to hear the official explanation for why a non-deficient UCEB from 1977 collapsed near Mount Vernon, IL. That collapse is far scarier than this one.
A devastating loss of a beautiful Detroit Bridge and Iron Works Bridge. This bridge will undoubtedly be used (even if unjustly) by all railroads in the United States as an excuse to demolish as many pin-connected truss bridges as possible as soon as possible. Not good.
Here is a link to a discussion in trainorders.com forums involving the collapse:
This a link to a news story about the collapse:
I hope this isn't fatal to the railroad...
Has been done. Here's the link: http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1868838752/Sheriffs-Dept-Train-fell-through-trestle-into-Fulton-County-creek
Thanks for the information.
Change the status of this bridge to collapsed under the weight of a train on Monday at 4:50pm. Reported by the Peoria Journal Star.
Information came from an image of the plaque on this forum which also catalouges other bridges in central Illinois: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=18734012