Work has begun on a new railroad bridge. As far as I know, the old one will be demolished. Sad to see, but a great legacy of service for Texarkana's last swing bridge. 110+ years on the KCS... Nod of my hat to one of Texarkana's many landmarks.
Barges still traverse the Red River from Shreveport and southward through the maze network that connects the Red to the Mississippi. There was a swing railroad bridge in Alexandria up until the mid 1990s, when the rail line was rerouted to the south over a new, higher bridge. There's also a vertical lift railroad bridge north of Alexandria (which I listed here).
The bridges at Shreveport were key turned. That is a large hand key turned them. Likely the one further up stream at Index was the same way. The bridges at Shreveport were welded into place, but they used a torch and had them open in a matter of moments so the Casino boats could get upstream past them.
I watched them use a power pack which didn't run then guys took turns using a large key to turn them. Took all of about 10 minutes.
As to the RR bridgs on the Red River, All of the ones built before 1960 were built to navigable. Even those as far south as Shreveport had not been opened in decades before the casino boats were floated into place.
The Index passenger bridge was just east of the rairoad bridge. It was a narrow through truss bridge. It was lilely no more than 22 feet wide on US59 & 71.
The current bridges one begins in Texas and the other in Arkansas with both ending in Arkansas were mainly built by Texas.
i was wandering about the other bridge that was east of this railroad bridge. does any one have any photos or any history of the bridge? what i can remember it was a drawbridge.
I may be able to answer this persons question. Back around the time this bridge was built, there was still much steamboat traffic on many rivers in the United States. Steamboats could travel on water with a depth less than 12 feet and the steam pipes would have obviously required enough clearance to avoid striking the bridge. You may recall that was where Samuel Clemens got his nickname. "By the mark, twain," was a common phrase rivermen used to note that the river channel was at least 12 feet deep (2 fathoms)and subsequently safe to traverse. At the turn of the 20th century, the nation's road network outside of the major population areas was primitive at best with few graded roads and no paved ones. Also, there may have not been that many railroad spurs in that area and river travel was still an alternate form of moving people and goods. This probably continued up until the 1930's (and maybe the 1940's at the latest) until the much-improved road networks came into being after World War II. The swing span on this bridge (and many others like it throughout the U.S.) was probably initially powered by steam and later converted to electricity and would have been located on the swinging span. Once larger boats stopped plying the river, the railroad locked the span into place and removed all of the equipment necessary to move the span. The Kansas City Southern railroad would probably have the information on when this occurred. I have seen many bridges of this type over smaller rivers throughout the United States where there is no longer any commercial boat traffic. Because these bridges were built to carry steam locomotives which weighed more in most cases that the current diesel engines do, the railroads have not replaced these bridges except where necessary. Hope that this helps!
This is a beautiful bridge with a swing section. I have to wonder though, why did they put a swing bridge over such a shallow stretch of water. I realize that rivers rise and fall with the seasonal water run-off, but, what boat traffic would go down such a river with enough frequency to necccesitate the need for what must have been an expensive swing bridge, back when it was built in 1899? Also, it doesn't mention in the comments whether the swing section still swings....and how does it swing, if it does...since no operator's house is seen on the bridge? It would be very interesting if moveable bridges were always shown in the "open" position...whenever possible. Also, any people or vehicles that can be included in the photos gives a sense of perspective to the bridge structure.