2 votes

UP - Camden Bridge



Photo taken June 2002 by Wayne Kizziar

BH Photo #100741


Through truss swing bridge over Ouachita River on the Cotton Belt (now Union Pacific) Railroad at Camden
Camden, Ouachita County, Arkansas
Still in use
- Southern Pacific Railroad (SP)
- St. Louis Southwestern Railway (SSW)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Swing Warren through truss
Also called
SP - Camden Bridge
SSW - Camden Bridge
Camden Railroad Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+33.60083, -92.82391   (decimal degrees)
33°36'03" N, 92°49'26" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/516337/3717912 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 10473 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


  • Wayne Kizziar - waynekizziar [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Fred Garcia
  • Douglas Butler


UP - Camden Bridge
Posted April 11, 2022, by Barton Jennings (be [dot] jennings3009 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Going through old St. Louis Southwestern annual reports, several state that a new 290-foot pin-connected turn span was installed over the Ouachita River in 1907.

UP - Camden Bridge
Posted July 29, 2020, by Barton Jennings (b [dot] jennings [at] mchsi [dot] com)

From a project that I am working on:

When originally built, the Texas & St. Louis Railway Company applied to build this bridge, and approval was given by Congress on June 27, 1882, and later by the Secretary of War. The requirements were for a bridge with an opening on each side of the pivot pier of not less than 130 feet in the clear. However, the bridge was built with only 110 feet of clearance. An investigation was held in 1883 that determined that the turn span covered the entire width of the river and that twenty feet on each side was not available, and that changing the design was not justified.

The turn span on the St. Louis Southwestern Ouachita River bridge has not been turned in decades. In fact, the Federal Register clearly states that the “draw of the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad Bridge, Mile 338.8 near Camden, need not be open for the passage of vessels.” This regulation dates back to at least April 6, 1990. However, that was not always the practice.

Rules and Regulations Relating to the Navigable Waters of the United States - Published by Authority of the Secretary of War, Compiled in the Office of the Chief of Engineers and Revised to July 1, 1933, provided the details about opening the Cotton Belt’s Ouachita River Bridge to river traffic. The regulations dated to August 4, 1927, and are as follows.

1. When a vessel, tug, or watercraft unable to pass under the closed bridge desires to pass through the draw at any time, notice of such intention shall be given to the agent of the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad Co. at Camden, Ark., by telephone or otherwise, and the draw shall be opened within 2 hours after such notice has been given.

2. The owner of the bridge shall keep conspicuously posted thereon, in such manner that it may be easily read at any time, a notice stating exactly how the agent may be reached, giving his telephone number and location, and shall arrange for ready telephonic communication with him at any time, either from the bridge or from its immediate vicinity.

3. The owner of the bridge shall keep the operating machinery of the draw in serviceable condition and shall have the draw opened and closed at intervals frequent enough to make certain that the machinery is thus kept in proper condition for its satisfactory operation.

4. These rules and regulations shall take effect and be in force from and after August 15, 1927.

UP - Camden Bridge
Posted May 11, 2020, by Brad Smith (gaberdine [at] hotmail [dot] com)

As to the moveable status of this bridge, it is a safe guess that it has not been opened in decades. The Ben Laney Bridge was built downstream in 1947 at about the same height above the water and it is NOT MOVEABLE. So 75 years might be a good figure.

The Martin Bridge (1912) that the Ben Laney Bridge Replaced WAS moveable.

Today, the Ouachita river is commercially navigable to Camden, basically to the Ben Laney Bridge. Even that is losing support because the freight volumes on the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project has low freight volumes. Not sure if ANY freight is actually going as far as Camden.

Camden Railroad Bridge
Posted September 7, 2009, by Fredrick Garcia (fandsgarcia [at] gmail [dot] com)

Visited this bridge on 6 Sept '09. I could see the bridge from the Ben Laney Bridge further downstream, but took a little bit of searching to locate it. Mosquitos were thick. This bridge does not appear to have had a control house, or if it did, there's no trace. However, there are two square shanked shafts between the ties over the pivot pier. Walked across & back. Trains don't run on weekends according to track inspector I met on bridge. He drove up in one of those pickup trucks that can run on the rails. Attaching a few images to augment those previously uploaded by Wayne Kizziar.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

Camden Railroad Bridge
Posted April 4, 2008, by Clark

From the looks of the swinging turntable, it looks like has not been opened for years, maybe even decades.