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CNW - Brule River Bridge



Brule River Bridge 1978 with fire damage on approach

Photo taken by Bruce Oldenberg


BH Photo #514714


A 1906 branch of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad once ran from Wisconsin to Michigan, and crossed the state line (the Brule River) between Tipler, Wisconsin, and Scott Lake, Michigan. The rails to Tipler were removed in the ?1980's? Now the old ROW is the Nicolet State Trail through Tipler, and that trail ends at a mile south of the state line, near National Forest Road 2152. That's a mile away from this bridge. It looks accessible from the south from a trail head of the Nicolet State Trail. Even though the trail doesn't officially go over this bridge.


Abandoned deck plate girder bridge over Brule River on Chicago & North Western Railway
Florence County, Wisconsin, and Iron County, Michigan
built 1906, last train was before 1979, and had a fire under south approach in the 1970's
- Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW)
Deck plate girder with concrete foundation and wood trestle approaches
Length of largest span: 30.0 ft.
Total length: 60.0 ft.
Deck width: 10.0 ft.
Also called
State Line railroad bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+46.00772, -88.57828   (decimal degrees)
46°00'28" N, 88°34'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/377807/5096115 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 95816 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 11, 2022: Updated by Luke: Added categories "Chicago & North Western Railway", "Railroad"
  • January 7, 2022: New photos from Bruce Oldenberg


Brule River Railroad Bridge
Posted January 7, 2022, by Bruce Oldenberg (bruceoldn2n7 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I went to see this bridge in 1978 after I heard about it being burnt (a few years earlier) by some kids 'camping out'. That fire closed this end of the railroad. Which lead to an interesting story by a shipping agent of some mill in Michigan who noticed his shipping rates for cars of lumber to Wisconsin. The cost went up when it showed more miles

than previous shipments. There are other routes out of Michigan, but this was the shortest one for him.

Apparently, the railroad had held the cost steady for a few years after the fire, and just routed the cars over the next best (but longer) route. Until they finally just charged the actual rate. The shipping agent inquired about the higher cost and pointed out that the line was still shown as being in service by railroad maps and the Official Guide. And after a few months, the railroad said OK, they would hold to the cost of the older shorter route, even though the fire made that defunct years earlier.