Rating:
2 votes

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)

Photos 

This nine panel, pin connected, Parker through truss carries the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad over the Marais des Cygnes River. The bridge is located approximately 1.25 miles south and 1.5 miles west of Pomona, Kansas. This photo was taken from a gravel road located immediately east of the bridge.

Photo taken by Robert Elder in January 2004

Enlarge

BH Photo #111537

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Parker through truss bridge over Marais Des Cygnes River on Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
Location
Franklin County, Kansas
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1905
Builder
- American Bridge Co. of New York
Railroads
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
Design
Parker through truss
Dimensions
Span length: 200.0 ft.
Total length: 200.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.59043, -95.48136   (decimal degrees)
38°35'26" N, 95°28'53" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/283885/4274247 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Pomona
Inventory number
BH 36226 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 28, 2017: New photos from John Marvig
  • September 6, 2016: New photos from John Marvig
  • September 5, 2016: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • February 11, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Adjusted GPS Coordinates.
  • February 8, 2008: Added by Robert Elder

Sources 

  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Only if they require federal permit (Army Corps for example) or are federally funded (very rare that taxpayer dollars fund private for-profit corporations, but this DOES happen sometimes). Many railroad bridges avoid Section 106.

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

If the bridges are NRHP eligible, would that trigger Section 106 and subject the bridge to KSHS review?

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Reading about these bridges, they are eligible for NR listings in Kansas due to the truss design. Thereís only a handful of railroad trusses left in the state (okay, a decent amount), but relocating or reusing even a few of these would be a major win. Fortunately, if nobody wants these, there are still a number of identical spans in the area that would give more of a chance to market the spans.

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hi John:

What I am deducing from your comment is that the current bridges would not be demolished before the new bridges are complete. If that is true, that could buy us a few weeks (or months) to find a buyer.

I have already e-amailed one of my contacts.

I was unaware that these bridges were NRHP eligible.

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Robert,

What I've seen on other structures of this magnitude is they slide it onto temporary piers and demolish it there. A news article reports that there is a 32 hour window to switch out both bridges. Considering the new bridges are different in length (and by quite a bit), a parallel bridge could be constructed as well.

If you find someone whos a willing buyer, I'm sure we could put some heat on BNSF to give the spans away. Since both these are also eligible for the NRHP, there could be additional funds available. Not sure if there are still gaps where the trail crosses major roads, but a configuration like this could create some interest in the trail:

http://bridgehunter.com/mn/washington/manning-avenue/

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

John:

If the 1890s railroad bridge near Augusta could fill that gap, that would be great. Thanks for letting me know that it could be scheduled for replacement.

As for this bridge, do you know if the railroad plans do to a crane lift or use a cutting torch? If they plan to crane lift it, could it be set aside temporarily while a new owner can be found?

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Unfortunately, itís almost certainly too late for these structures. Articles Iíve found online suggest work could begin in March. What Iím finding interesting is how the new spans are gonna be bigger. This almost certainly is to relieve flooding.

If you found someone who wanted a big railroad bridge, especially near Augusta; a span like this almost certainly would work. The only thing that would bother me about that location is how the old bridge was so easily undercut. Stream conditions probably arenít ideal there and a adjusted alignment would be needed.

In my opinion, a bridge like this or Quenemo wouldnít be a good fit for that location. If they wanted to use a historic railroad truss at that location, the best option would probably be an older and smaller structure. One that immediately rings a bell is that odd 1890s truss near Augusta. Almost certainly to be replaced in the next 10 years, that structure appeared to be in really good condition, despite clearance issues for the railroad. If you come across someone interested in doing better than a prefabricated pedestrian bridge, send them my way and I would be more than willing to talk to the railroad.

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 15, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

John:

This sounds great. Are you hoping to discuss this with the railroad? I can always check with local connections. Because you have worked with the railroad so much, I don't want to step on your toes in that aspect of the project.

There are several rail trails being built in the area, and I know that they occasionally need bridges. A classic example of course can be found at Augusta where the Whitewater River undermined an old railroad bridge leaving a gap where the trail needs to go. Of course, there are rail trails that are much closer to this bridge.

So, in short, I think it's probably best for you to be the man who talks with the railroad. I can check with some local contacts and see what ideas they might have. This is a very heavily built truss, so it's not like it can't carry pedestrians golf carts, vehicles and most types of farm equipment.

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 14, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Robert,

I can see what will inevitably happen to this line. I'm sure BNSF wants these trusses gone, as they are a slight inconvenience. Fortunately, BNSF is more often than not willing to give away these historic trusses. However, a truss that size isn't going to fit well into a city square park. Best thing for it would to be relocated to farm use, as it should be durable and have years of life left. Also tough though, because of the clearance restriction.

It would be nice to see a group form and take charge of restoring and relocating historic railroad bridges. Lot of gems that are inevitably in trouble.

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 14, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Well, that is a shame.

John, you seem to have a lot of good contacts of various railroad companies. If anybody could convince a railroad company to sell the bridge to someone who wants to preserve it then you would be the man!

Of the two bridges that are scheduled for replacement thus far, this one is the most significant. It has a rather unusual Camelback profile.

Who wants to save a bridge?

BNSF - Marais Des Cygnes River Bridge (E)
Posted February 14, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)