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INRD - Tulip Trestle

Photos 

Oblique View of Towers

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.

Photo taken by Tom Hall in June 2008

BH Photo #115518

Map 

Street View 

Video 

Tulip Trestle

Video shot on a drone 8/17/2014.

Video linked to by Ed Hollowell

Play video on YouTube

Tulip Trestle 

Written by Tom Hall

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.

Facts 

Overview
Deck plate girder bridge over Richland Creek on Indiana Railroad
Location
Greene County, Indiana
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1906 for the Indiana Southern Railroad
Builders
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- Archibald Stuart Baldwin of Winchester, Virginia
- Collier Bridge Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana
- Strobel Steel Construction Co. of Chicago, Illinois
Railroads
- Illinois Central Railroad (IC)
- Indiana Rail Road (INRD)
Design
Deck plate girder
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 75.0 ft.
Total length: 2,307.0 ft. (0.4 mi.)
Also called
INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Bridge X75-6 (railroad inventory name)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.07526, -86.85336   (decimal degrees)
39°04'31" N, 86°51'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/512684/4325138 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Solsberry
Inventory number
BH 36720 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 19, 2014: New video from Ed Hollowell
  • January 9, 2012: New photos from Nick
  • September 23, 2010: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • April 3, 2010: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Added alternate name
  • March 27, 2010: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • March 7, 2009: Updated by Robert Stephenson: GPS
  • February 24, 2009: New photos from Nathan Morton
  • June 20, 2008: Essay added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Tom Hall
  • Tom Hall
  • Nathan Morton - morton890 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Robert Stephenson - seinfeld99 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Tulip Trestle
  • Jacob P. Bernard
  • Ed Hollowell - erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com
  • Nick

Comments 

INRD - Tulip Trestle
Posted July 21, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Historical article with photos.

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 544,204 bytes)

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted June 24, 2015, by Chris (cfdellarocco [at] gmail [dot] com)

When is the best time to visit in order to see a train cross?

Thanks!

Chris

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted December 11, 2014, by Richard Koenig (rkoenig [at] kzoo [dot] edu)

I have a couple of shots of this bridge, one with ICG train probably around 1977 and the other with INRD leaf special (1990)

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted November 19, 2014, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Really GREAT! HD video of this Viaduct shot from drone posted on YouTube. I added it to the listing but make sure you see the high def version. It's beautiful!

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 13, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Ralph... as a general rule I tend to stand back from the tracks when a train is approaching. I have however felt the rails immediately after a train passes by, and there is not always a discernible vibration... even after large freight train passes. Just that distinctive high pitched ringing sound that you hear a few seconds before and after. Just thought I should mention this in case someone is thinking about using this vibration test.

This particular bridge represents the most dangerous type of railroad bridge. A long single track deck girder with no shelter alcoves... and not even any portions of the superstructure (like a thru truss bottom chord) someone could walk onto if a train was coming. Yeah, anyone who goes out on this bridge is Trespassing. That's not really the amazing thing. Anyone who has ever cut across the RR tracks as a walking shortcut in an areas where there isn't an official grade crossing is technically trespassing and yet in cities this happens constantly... and although illegal isn't really dangerous in most cases. The issue here is that it is dangerous and anyone who would go out on a bridge of this design is either profoundly stupid or trying to commit suicide.

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 13, 2014, by Ralph Demars

Here's a tip: feel the outside rail before going on the tracks*. If it has a vibration, that means a train's coming. If it dosen't, then it's safe to hop on the grade and take a picture!

BTW I went on a RR bridge to take pictures recently, but I didn't get on the main span and I used the technique above. Here is the link to that bridge. Expect photos soon!

http://bridgehunter.com/me/kennebec/st-sebasticook-river/

*NEVER trespass on a active rail line, unless it's for a really quick pic. Also, using that technique would be a great idea. It could save a few lives. By few, I estimate about 100 or so.

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 12, 2014, by James Norwood

It is never acceptable to walk out onto an active rail bridge. These women were lucky, I have read about others trying this on regular trackbed and being hit by dragging chains, partially open doors on bottom feed hopper cars, and others decapitated by air hoses hanging low. I also have no respect for photographers who place high school incoming seniors on active track for "the shot". It is trespassing, and if one is for whatever reason on a railroad track, stay out of the guage(in between the rails)!!!! Ok, off my soapbox, back to regular programming.......

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 8, 2014, by Matt (mhults7791 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I take that last sentence back. From what I can tell, there are 300-500 train suicides per year out of 900 pedestrian trespassing deaths. So several hundred railroad trespassers die in accidents each year. Trains come quicker than you think, so don't waste any time getting the heck off the tracks

INRD - Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 7, 2014, by Matt (mhults7791 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Some have asked what to do if you are caught in the middle of the trestle with a train coming. Well, obviously you shouldn't go out to the middle of it. If a train comes and kills you a lot of people won't feel sorry for you. Everyone on the Internet will call you stupid, and it would be horrible for your family. Just stay on the end of the trestle; the view is plenty good from there, and if a train comes you can just take a few steps and be gone. Now if you foolishly ignore my advice and a train comes, jumping off is suicide above 100 feet, but if you're close to the end it may be an option. If you're further out, the train may not be able to stop in time because they take about half a mile to stop, so if it starts to get close you have to lie down in between the tracks (face down is probably better) and let the train go over you. There's about ten inches of clearance so if you're obese you'll probably die. Make sure there is room for the wheels between you and the rails on either side. Two women survived this way out at Lake Lemon. There's no guarantee you won't die because things could be hanging down from the train, so this certainly isn't something to try for fun. This is serious stuff. 900 people die on the tracks per year, although the vast majority of those are suicides.

INRD Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted September 15, 2013, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

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!

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted September 15, 2013, by Joshua Collins (Bigjc1979 [at] aol [dot] com)

This article is over a year old, but...

http://tribstar.com/features/x1483811482/A-giant-among-railr...

Arsonist trying to burn this bridge multiple times recently.
Posted November 6, 2010, by James Norwood

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.

http://gcdailyworld.com/story/1678763.html

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.

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 2, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

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!

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 2, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Or grow some wings....and quickly!!

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 2, 2010, by Jake (simpspin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

"I always wonder what I would do if the train came while I was in the middle."

Repent?

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 2, 2010, by Monty Teague (teague [dot] monty [at] att [dot] net)

Here I am hanging from a rope. It gives you an idea of the scale of this bridge.

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted August 2, 2010, by Monty Teague (teague [dot] monty [at] att [dot] net)

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.

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted February 26, 2009, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I guess you must have felt pretty confident that there weren't any trains coming.........nice shots

Richland Creek Viaduct
Posted February 26, 2009, by Nathan Morton (morton890 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

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).