Known as Richland Creek Viaduct or Tulip Trestle.
It was built in 1906 and is still in use by the Indiana Southern Railroad.
It is the third longest bridge of its type in the world. Its dimensions are one-half mile long, 2,307 feet to be precise, and it stands 157 feet off the ground at its tallest point.
The viaduct consists of seventeen 75-foot deck-plate girder spans, alternating with eighteen 40-foot girder tower spans. The viaduct also consists of two 50-foot spans at the west end and two 60-foot and two 45-foot spans at the east end. The weight of all that plus the weight of the track itself, is approximately 2,895 tons.
The cost of this massive project was about $246,504. A Chicago bridge engineer estimated that to build a bridge the same size today would cost around $10,000 per foot or $20 million.
To construct a bridge the size of the viaduct, a massive coordinated effort had to be organized. The first item that was needed was money. The viaduct was first owned by Indiana Southern Railroad, and Illinois Central Gulf, another railroad company, secretly financed it. Mainly immigrant Italian laborers constructed it.
The steel workers were paid 30 cents an hour and common laborers were paid only 15 cents an hour. Frank Hunt, who was a subcontractor, was reported to have hired 50 teams to work on the railroad. The teams were paid $3.50 per day and the drivers were paid $1.50 per day. This was considered to be above-average wages. However, men and horses were in such demand for this mammoth project that the supply of both became quite low.
Several companies did the rest of the work. The Collier Bridge Company did the concrete work, and the American Bridge Company made the steel frame which was later put together by Strobel Steel Construction Company. In charge of overall construction was Archibald Stuart Baldwin.
I notice the tribstar story left out one of the most obvious legends, the graffiti on the main girder which says "Michelle will you marry me?" in two foot high letters. They were likely afraid it would encourage more trespassing.
Sure wish I knew how that worked out!
This article is over a year old, but...
Anyone visiting needs to be aware of this, and be on the lookout for these vandals. What a disgrace. Story is from Greene County Daily World, thanks to HoosierVirg for alerting us. Story copied below, but go to link for many photos.
Rash of arson fires threatens historic Viaduct; Railroad offers $1,000 reward for information
Friday, November 5, 2010
By Anna Rochelle, Staff Writer
Numerous fires in the area of the Viaduct have prompted a request for information from the public that will lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible. One fire on top of the trestle, pictured above, shows railroad ties on fire far above the road below. Photo provided by GCSD Det. Chris McDonald BLOOMFIELD, Ind.-- A string of suspicious fires on, under, around and near the Viaduct this fall has put lives in danger, slowed train traffic, damaged a landmark and attracted the attention of a number of law enforcement officers and investigators who are not taking the incidents lightly.
Greene County Sheriff's Detective Chris McDonald says all of these fires are not accidental but are suspected to be the work of arsonists.
"These are acts of domestic terrorism," said McDonald. "It's not something to be taken lightly."
At its highest point, the Viaduct is 157 feet tall. This photo shows a Richland Fire Department firefighter on top of the span during one recent fire. Firefighters carried water in backpacks then walked out across the top of the trestle to extinguish flames. Photo provided by GCSD Det. Chris McDonald The case has been under an ongoing investigation by the Sheriff's Department, a fire department and special agents from the Indiana Rail Road Company since the first incident was reported in early September.
On Friday, some details about the case were released along with requests for information from the public.
A press release from the Indiana Rail Road Company, which owns the trestle, said, "Local law enforcement and special agents are investigating a string of recent fires on the historic Tulip Trestle in rural Greene County.
Photo of fire on top of the Viaduct provided by GCSD Det. Chris McDonald "The trestle, which is more than 100 years old, is still in active service and carries heavy freight trains on a daily basis. Fire and law enforcement personnel have been called to the site to extinguish four fires both atop and near the structure within the past two weeks.
"Evidence at the scene of at least two of the incidents indicates the fires were caused by arson.
"Investigators have identified possible suspects in the case, and the Indiana Rail Road Company is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting the blazes."
Photo of damage to railroad ties atop trestle provided by GCSD Det. Chris McDonald Chris Rund, Indiana Rail Road's Assistant Vice-president in Public Relations, said the company would appreciate help from anyone with information about these incidents.
When asked if it were possible that the fires were sparked by passing trains, Rund said it was unlikely in this case.
"It's not unheard of, an occasional ember from the exhaust could cause a fire, but evidence recovered on the scene of these incidents clearly indicates arson," said Rund.
Photo shows more damage and the eight-pound steel plates that the ties rest on. Fires have caused some of these to fall to the ground below posing a hazard to emergency personnel. Photo provided by GCSD Det. Chris McDonald In addition, Rund said there have been no other incidents reported in or around railroad tracks in Greene County in the last few weeks -- only in the area of the Viaduct.
Rund said the first train crossed the Viaduct in December of 1906 and the structure supports much heavier loads today than then. He added the trestle is 2,307 feet long and stands 157 feet tall from the ground to the top of the rail at its highest point.
Det. McDonald said one of the fires on top of the structure was located about halfway out across the long span.
Law enforcement and Indiana Rail Road Company special agents are requesting information from the public. Photo of more damage provided by GCSD Det. Chris McDonald Fire Chief Terry Jackson of the Richland Fire Department confirmed his department has been responding to numerous fire calls in the area and that fighting a fire on top of the Viaduct is no easy task.
"Our firefighters have had to walk out on and across the top of the Viaduct," said Jackson. "Carrying the water in backpacks."
Rund said, "This is really troubling -- these fires are placing the safety of these firefighters at risk."
Jacklyn Hardy, Indiana Rail Road's Assistant Vice-president in Administrative Services went on to explain that responding to emergencies on the structure poses a threat not only to the firefighters but to railroad personnel making emergency repairs. She added that an incident that caused extensive damage to the structure could halt train traffic for an extended period of time and threaten industries and jobs that depend on rail service.
Rund said three trains cross the trestle every day and damage from the recent fires has slowed traffic for periods of several hours while crews made repairs.
Hardy reminded the public that the Viaduct is privately-owned railroad infrastructure and that, whether committing malicious acts or not, any trespasser on railroad property is breaking the law.
"We realize that this structure is a landmark in this area and a popular destination for sightseers, photographers and railroad enthusiasts," said Hardy, "but the public is not permitted on the structure itself or on railroad right of way. The railroad is a place of heavy industry and interstate commerce, and any unauthorized person on railroad property is subject to arrest and prosecution."
In the case of the culprit or culprits that have allegedly set these fires, Det. McDonald says they could face a far more serious charge than trespassing -- arson, and he is hopeful that someone with information about any one of these incidents will come forward.
He says there have been four fires on railroad property but there have been other fires in the area that he believes are connected.
"There have been two other suspicious fires in the area. Both started near the edge of a roadway then spread. One was located approximately two miles southwest of the Viaduct and the other was 1.5 miles northeast."
One spread into a wooded area, another spread into a sizable field fire on the property formerly known as the location of "The Farm" restaurant. The detective has also noticed burned areas in the woods on the northwest side of the trestle.
McDonald said the fires have generally been reported then fought in the hours after a normal school day but before the sun went down.
The first fire on railroad property was on a Sunday evening, Sept. 5. It burned a pile of railroad ties off the side of the tracks on an approach to the trestle.
Late on a Monday afternoon, Oct. 25, a fire on the top of the trestle destroyed three railroad ties.
Then firefighters had a bigger challenge in the late afternoon and evening hours on Monday of this week, Nov. 1. This fire, located halfway out across the span, destroyed at least 10 railroad ties.
The Richland firefighters were back on the scene the next day, Nov. 2, to fight a fire underneath the trestle which Jackson said burned about four acres of ground.
McDonald added the firefighters have also reported fires on the top side have caused eight-pound steel plates (that the burned ties rested upon) to come loose and fall to the ground which, at that height, posed an extreme hazard to emergency personnel on the ground.
According to information from the railroad company, the Indiana Rail Road Company is a Class 2 regional freight railroad operating on a 500-mile route structure of former Milwaukee Road and Illinois Central lines in Indiana and Illinois, including terminals at Chicago, Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Louisville. Annual carloadings approach 180,000 and include coal, petroleum products, plastics, ethanol, grain, aggregates, lumber, appliances and other mixed freight. The company maintains headquarters in Indianapolis.
The company is offering rewards for information that will lead to an arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for these fires.
Both Det. McDonald and Rund have confirmed there are suspects but no further information was released.
There are several ways a person with information can contact authorities.
Contact Detective Chris McDonald at the Greene County Sheriff's Department by calling 812-384-4411.
Contact Special Agent Larry Atwell who is in charge of the Indiana Rail Road Company's investigation by calling 317-716-1057.
Anonymous tips may also be called in to Greene County CrimeStoppers at 812-847-5463 or 812-TIP-LINE which is the main phone number, or by calling their toll-free number, 866-446-4672.
Some high level RR bridges have safety alcoves on them so workers on the bridge can let a train go by, but I don't see any on this bridge. Also, some of these high level bridges have low speed limits for trains, so the train might have time to stop if somebody was on it. Either way, if the engineer sees an unauthorized person on the bridge they will probably call the RR police.
Awesome photos though!
Or grow some wings....and quickly!!
"I always wonder what I would do if the train came while I was in the middle."
I have repelled off of this bridge many times and have walked across it several times. Once very early in the morning to go hunting. I always wonder what I would do if the train came while I was in the middle.
I guess you must have felt pretty confident that there weren't any trains coming.........nice shots
Bridge is now owned by the Indiana Rail Road, a class 3 regional railroad. This particular line runs from Indianapolis to Newton, Il with several interchange points (including the Indiana Southern RR near Switz City).