American Machinist, Volume 14 - 1891
MATTOON, ILL.-Bids are wanted Sept. 1 for the construction of bridge piers along the line of the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Ry. at Evansville, Ind., Grayville, Ill., and Newton, Ill. A. J. Davis, Engr.
The Engineering Record, Volume 36 - 1897
E.O. Hopkins, Reciever, Evansville, Ind., informs us that a draw-span bridge is now being erected over the Wabash River, near Grayville, Ill.
Engineering News-record, Volume 39 - 1898
Advices from Grayville, Ill., state that the Illinois Central R. R. Co., will replace the old railway bridge over the Wabash River with a new steel structure to cost between $160,000 and $200,000. The old bridge is said to be too light for the heavy engines. It was built in 1881. Work on the new bridge will begin as soon as material can be placed on the ground.
Engineering and Contracting, Volume 40 - 1913
Although the truss spans appear to have been built in the 1880s, a portion of the bridge was rebuilt in 1898, and again in 1913. Other build dates include 1880, 1882 and 1885. Regardless, this bridge is certainly the oldest still standing over the Wabash River.
The Peoria, Decatur and Evansville Railway was completed from Parkersburg to Evansville in 1881. Ownership was then transferred to the Illinois Central Railroad in 1900. In 1972, a section of the west approach trestle was replaced, as well as the third easternmost pier. The line was acquired by Indiana Hi-Rail Corporation in 1990. In late July 1996, the last train crossed the bridge when an Owensville Terminal crew collected scrap on its way back to Evansville.
In 1985, a cutoff was formed on the river just north of the bridge, which may have contributed to one of the piers sliding in the riverbed. In the early hours of January 12, 2005 the second easternmost pier gave way, and the two westernmost truss spans collapsed. The first east span was cut up and hauled away by the Army Corps of Engineers for scrap, while the second east span was washed away. As of 2012, the first east pier has also given way due to a caving river bank.
According to a 1945 Illinois Central Track Chart:
4-157' Pratt Through Truss Spans (Built 1892) 238' Draw Span (Built 1897) 95' Through Girder (Built 1924) No mention was made of the deck girder spans, so they were added post-1945