1 vote

CSX - Wyton Bridge


Photo taken by Jacob P. Bernard in March 2010


BH Photo #158383



Concrete arch bridge over North Fork Vermilion River on CSX Transportation at Danville
Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois
Open to traffic
Built 1902 for the Peoria & Eastern Railroad
- Yawger & Betterfeld of Indianapolis, Indiana (Contractors)
- CSX Railroad (CSX)
- Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway (CCC&StL; Big 4)
- Conrail (CR)
- New York Central Railroad (NYC)
- Penn Central Railroad (PC)
- Peoria & Eastern Railroad (P&E)
Closed-spandrel concrete arch
Total length: 115.0 ft.
Also called
CSX - Little Arches
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.12949, -87.64326   (decimal degrees)
40°07'46" N, 87°38'36" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/445195/4442327 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville NW
Inventory number
BH 44323 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 26, 2015: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • September 20, 2015: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • June 30, 2015: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 14, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Peoria & Eastern Railroad"
  • March 20, 2010: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • March 17, 2010: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • March 5, 2010: Added by Jacob P. Bernard

Related Bridges 


  • Jacob P. Bernard
  • Mike Roegner


Wyton Bridge
Posted February 1, 2017, by Mike Roegner (mroegner [at] dancomnews [dot] com)

The old steel bridge is still there. It's buried under tons of dirt.

I remember seeing a photo of the repaired bridge, and the east end of the bridge was a timber pile bridge, but I didn't notice how the river was spanned. After the concrete "twin 50" concrete arch was built, the Peoria & Eastern RR started running trains across the old steel bridge and dumping dirt. One article mentioned that as of May 10, 1903, 150,000 yards of fill had been dumped and it was not yet up to the level of the old steel bridge.

The plan was to fill in the area up to the level of the old bridge, then the tracks would have to raised another 20 feet. That would eliminate the grade that began at Chandler Street, and would allow elimination of the fire-prone wooden bridge over the tracks at Logan Ave. There wasn't any mention as to where they were getting all the dirt.

I wish the small photo was a little larger. Since the steel bridge isnít showing, I think that shows the bridge after the fill work was done.

Following are a couple of articles from the newspaper. I can't guarantee the accuracy of the math. Journalists like to write, but I'm not they can add all that well.


May 10, 1903


Has been dumped into P&E Fill, Yet it is not up to trestle.

Since the work of filling in the new arch over the North Fork was commenced a few weeks ago the work has gone on steadily and the Italians employed there have frequently been ordered to work an hour or two overtime as it is desirable to complete the work as soon as possible. More trains than are now in the service here would be in the way of those now working else more trains would be placed in the service, but with the number now working there dirt and gravel is being piled into the hole very rapidly.

More than 150,000 yards of dirt and gravel have been dumped at the bridge or more than 200,000 tons and yet the fill is not up to the steel frame of the old trestle and will not be for a day or two, though by the last of next week it is thought the dirt will have reached to the old trestle work and then will remain only a few hundred cars to be put in until a force of men will begin raising the track. After the fill is completed to the trestle work it then remains for the men to raise it a good twenty feet more, which will require many thousand cars of ballast.

There has already been dumped at that point more the 200 train loads of nearly 4,000 cars. In all about 250,000,000 pounds of ballast have already been unloaded there and it will readily be seen that there is a vast amount of work to done on the structure yet before it is completed.

May 5, 1903


Chandler Street and Harmon Avenue crossings will be raised some.

The plans for the raising of the tracks of the P&E at the east end of the new arch are now in the hands of the city engineer and, as the improvement will not only benefit the railroad company but the city in general, it is probable that they will be approved as they stand.

The tracks at Logan Avenue will be raised about twenty so that the viaduct over Logan Avenue will be done away with and a grade crossing takes its place. At that place and also at Grant Street there is a cut of several feet so that the raise of the tracks will not affect the streets but at Chandler Street the tracks will have to be raised a few feet, but the raise will be so little that with the street sloping up to the track it will be hardly noticeable as is the case with Jackson Street. Harmon Avenue will be disturb but a few inches and just beyond that street the grade runs out, though on the bridge or arch just completed the raise is about forty feet. When completed the tracks will be so near level that the trains which now run at high speed through the western portion of the city so they can easily get a start up the hill can easily get up without a run and they will then have to conform to the ordinance governing the speed of the trains in the city limits.


May 5 1903

Sunday being a nice warm day quite a large number of people were attracted to the North Fork river where the P&E arch has just been completed. It is estimated that more than three hundred visitors viewed the great piece of engineering during the day and yet at no time was there more that fifty people on the structure. The general opinion was that the work was a credit to both contractors and to the company.

Wyton Bridge
Posted May 5, 2015, by Bob Hageman (rvhjr1945 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is what was referred to as the "Little Arches" The metal bridge was indeed the precursor to this bridge and was destroyed by a train wreck. The river is the North Fork of the Vermilion. The "blue pond" there was the site of Western Brick Company location #2. It is now the site of Danville Metal Stamping. Wyton Tower handled the switching of the Big 4 Cairo Division and Peoria Division. The "Big Arches" which you probably played on and around was farther south and went across the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River. There was also a "shale pit" to the SE of it and it was the site of the Danville Brick Company. It was another place many of us played as kids. Interestingly enough those bricks that you described are along the North Fork which makes a sharp turn there from west to south and joins the Salt Fork a little farther south to form the Vermilion River. If you look at some of the construction pictures of the Big Arches you can see the previous bridge located next to it. I have never seen any pictures of it except in those construction pictures.

Wyton Bridge or the Big Arches
Posted April 13, 2015, by Chuck Johnson (Chas john 2001 at yahoo dot com (Remove spaces))

I used to swim here every day when I was a kid. I've been in, under, on top, and through the 'Little Arches"' many, many times. I used to walk up the side walls, sit on the ledges, etc.

I'm having trouble visualizing this metal bridge in place of the concrete arches. I cannot seem to fit this bridge where the little arches now stand. It is too long of a span. Wyton RR station was just a little bit South of the little Arches and we would stop and talk to the guy who worked there.

The tracks split and went West to Champaign, or South towards the Belgium yards. The pond at Danville Metal was part of the old brickyard on the SE side of the bridge. The entire South riverbank was predominately brick bats. We used to 'night' fish at the Northeast side and we would pickup a long kerosene smoke pot which was placed under the track switch to keep it from freezing in cold weather. We would carry it down the path to the river and fish most of the night, then return it to the switch track.

I think this metal span bridge would better fit where the 'Big Arches' are located just North of GM on the Salt Fork. Can anyone say which direction this photo is facing towards?

I think this photo of the metal bridge may have been taken from the NW side of the 'Big Arches', on the low ground and looking SE toward the bluffs.

North Fork River Railroad Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's a photo of the earlier bridge - more or less. This is referred to as "The Wreck of 1893". A Big 4 train ran into 4 cars that broken loose from a previous train and were standing on the bridge. The bridge had been rebuilt 4 years earlier and was considered one of the better bridges on the railroad. There is disagreement about whether the brakes on the cars had been set of if they were free rolling. The theory is that if the brakes had been set, the cars would have tended to grab the rails when hit by the following train. That force was enough to move the span forward off the pier, and gravity took over.

I've seen a photo of the repaired bridge but don't have a copy myself. The missing section was replaced with a timber pile bridge. The Big 4 planned to replace the bridge with a higher metal bridge, but I don't know if that was ever done.

The February 21, 1902 issue of The Railway Age reports that the Peoria & Eastern has contracted with Yawger & Betterfeld of Indianapolis for a double arch concrete bridge to be erected on the North Branch of the Vermilion River at Danville, IL.

Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.