7 votes

NS - Decatur Drawbridge (1979)


Railroad Drawbridge

2 railroads share this common drawbridge over the Tennessee River.

Photo taken by Calvin Sneed in December 2008


BH Photo #131013

Street View 


Both CSX and Norfolk Southern share this common Tennessee River crossing. Norfolk Southern owns the tracks and the bridge, and leases space to CSX for its crossing.


Polygonal Warren Through Truss Vertical Lift Drawbridge over Tennessee River in Decatur
Decatur, Limestone County, Alabama, and Morgan County, Alabama
Open to traffic
First bridge built on this spot was burned during the Civil War, replaced with a pontoon bridge. A swing bridge was built in 1885, and it was replaced by this modern drawbridge in 1978-79.
- CSX Railroad (CSX)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Southern Railway (SOU)
Polygonal Warren through truss Vertical Lift Drawbridge with Warren through truss approach spans
Length of largest span: 400.0 ft.
Total length: 1,200.0 ft.
Also called
SOU - Decatur Drawbridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.61776, -86.98134   (decimal degrees)
34°37'04" N, 86°58'53" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/501710/3830655 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 38441 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 25, 2022: Updated by Paul Plassman: I believe this is also a Warren polygonal truss, rather than a Camelback
  • November 29, 2016: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • September 27, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • August 28, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • July 31, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • January 2, 2010: Updated by Calvin Sneed: http://www.csx.com/
  • December 28, 2008: Added by Calvin Sneed

Related Bridges 


  • Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Paul Plassman


CSX-Norfolk Southern Tennessee River Drawbridge (Decatur)
Posted July 8, 2014, by Tim Martin (tf_martn [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

Here is a photo I took of the bridge on October 24, 2010

Tennessee River Drawbridge
Posted July 30, 2011, by Ben Tate

Kevin, you're right. It was a swing bridge. I saw some pictures of it on a Facebook page today.

Tennessee River Drawbridge
Posted September 5, 2010, by Kevin Paulk (editor [at] charter [dot] net)

Isn't the lift span newer than the rest of the bridge? When I lived in Huntsville 40 years ago, our family frequently crossed the river on the nearby highway bridge on our way to and from Memphis. I seem to recall the RR bridge being a center-pivot swing bridge, with the channel very near the south bank. I'm guessing modern barge tows had to be busted down to fit through the old opening. Can anyone confirm my memory on this point?

CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway Tennessee River Drawbridge
Posted December 31, 2009, by Calvin Sneed (us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

You are correct..I checked with CSX in Jacksonville. That is the control house, not a counterweight. Don't know who added that it was a counterweight. It is not. The counterweight reference is now deleted.

CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway Tennessee River Drawbridge
Posted November 2, 2009, by Robert Thompson

Photo 7: I don't think that is a counterweight - it is on the lift span. It is probably the control house for the bridgetender.