"but, how was it made to turn?"
Well they are usually turned by an electric motor and there is a huge reduction gear that transmits the motion to a smaller gear which engages the base of the turn table. Each end has a locking device.
Canadian National owns the Illinois Central.
I always thought this was a Chicago and Northwestern Swing Bridge not an Illinois Central. Also I don't understand the reference to Canadian National Railway.
Highly detailed general information on movable bridges is available in these books:
I have always been a fan of this bridge since i can remember. I always wondered how did this thing actually work? i know there are sets of wheels to make them turn but, how was it made to turn? was there a person on each side in a box and they would press a button and it would start to turn? if so, how did each of them talk to each to tell them to turn the bridge if needed be? Now since this bridge is no longer working what happens if the open side needs to close how would they go about doing that? Also, I heard from many people that this bridge was struck by lighting many years ago. Finally if it is possible where can i find specs on this bridge meaning, how it was actually moved was it by wires, steam, moved using a hand crank. and could you direct me to a site that has more information on this type of bridge? I would greatly be thankful oh and one last thing, these tracks on the bridge where do they lead to? starting from Omaha to Council bluffs Iowa.
Hi! If any of you would like, I have written the history of this bridge. It is part of a large manuscript dealing with the Omaha District of the Illinois Central. I have a BA in History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and am also a member of the Illinois Central Historical Society. The IC Archives at the Newberry Library in CHicago are a great resource. Also two article is Railway Gazette appeared in 1902 and 1903 I believe. You can write me at
Mark D. Budka 1950 Washington Street #2, Lincoln, Nebraska 68502. This was a very famous bridge from 1893 to 1908. It was a crown jewel in JAL Waddel's crown of bridges.
my dad recently passed and has worked on the ic bridge for 33 yrs
Is there much information out there on this bridge? I work near the bridge and its railine at the Waterworks in Council Bluffs. It's my understanding that the treatment chemicals were shipped by rail to the water plant on a spur off of the tracks that lead to this bridge. Does anyone know when use of the bridge ended? Did it have two sets of track accross it at one time? Are there any plans for the future of the bridge?
Craig has a good point......would be worth trying!
Chandra, here is my opinion, if you go to the public info in the HAER database, is it possible you could find an appropriate bridge for your project that has the public info you need, rather then the other way around.
From all that I have seen personally, getting any specific information or Railroad structures is a tall order, as the RR companies are not public domain. Perhaps one of our railroad enthusiasts (James and Ed come to mind), or Nathan might be able to shed some light on it.
I am a design student in Chicago, and I'm working on an architecture project involving unused railroad bridges in the United States. This is a purely hypothetical design project, however I still need the bridge's dimensions in order to do well. Does anyone know where I could get this information on this or other unused bridges. Even just an overall height and width would be a great help. It would be amazing to get a look at the original plans, but that may be too tall an order. Thank you in advance for any leads or information you might have.
The Iowa swing span of the East Omaha Bridge was built in 1893. It is of wraught iron. The Nebraska swing span was built in 1904. This span is of steel.
The original owner was the Omaha Bridge & Terminal Railway Company. The IC first had rights over the bridge from 18 Dec 1899. IC gained controlling interest in 1902. IC took complete control of OB&T on 3 July 1903.