1 vote

N&W - Champaign Branch Boneyard Creek Bridge


BH Photo #290441


This bridge is located on the former Champaign branch of the Wabash Railroad, originally built in 1881 to connect Sidney with the Illinois Central Railroad in Champaign.

Illinois Traction also used this track north of Main Street by 1938. The line was abandoned by Norfolk Southern in 1981.

The bridge has undergone extensive renovations to be fit for pedestrian use, as part of the Boneyard Creek Improvements Project, which was completed in November 2014.

Brief history 

Written by James Holzmeier

The original 154' 1881 pile trestle at this location was given Wabash Bridge #3127, when the bridge was on the old Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad's Sidney to Havana line. According to Wabash RR records, in 1898 the original trestle was renewed with a 7-span timber stringer on piles; 109' in length. At that time, it was given Wabash Bridge #464, coinciding with the renumbering of bridges on the Sidney-Urbana branch line. At an unknown date, Bridge #464 was renewed with the last DPG span, quite possibly when Co. Rd. 1350E (Race St) extended across the tracks at this location. That would've shortened the total length of the bridge from 109' to its final 75' (or thereabouts) length.


Deck plate girder bridge over Boneyard Creek on Wabash, later N&W Railway in Urbana
Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois
Open to pedestrian traffic
Built ca. 1910(?), abandoned ca. 1981
- Illinois Traction System (ITS)
- Interurban
- Norfolk & Western Railway (NW)
- Wabash Railroad (WAB)
Main span: Deck plate girder
Approaches: Timber stringer
Total length: 75.0 ft.
Deck width: 10.0 ft.
Also called
Wabash Railroad Bridge #3127 (1881-1898)
Wabash Railroad Bridge #3127 (1881-1898)
Wabash Railroad Bridge #464 (1898-1981)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.11478, -88.20845   (decimal degrees)
40°06'53" N, 88°12'30" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/397018/4441197 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 62247 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 23, 2022: New photos from John Marvig
  • December 20, 2014: Essay added by James Holzmeier
  • November 10, 2014: Updated by James Holzmeier: Updated description
  • August 14, 2014: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 4, 2014: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard



N&W Champaign Branch Boneyard Creek Bridge
Posted November 29, 2014, by Jacob P. Bernard

The major reconstructions of the bridge included the new east abutment and covering the timber pilings in concrete. Beside those and other additions including a new deck, hand railings, lighting, etc., the original bridge was left mostly intact.

Although the railroad was built in 1881, I believe that the original timber pile bridge was replaced with this bridge sometime around 1900-1910, possibly when Illinois Traction first started using the track.

N&W Champaign Branch Boneyard Creek Bridge
Posted November 10, 2014, by James Holzmeier (wabashry [at] gmail [dot] com)

Jacob Bernard: is the new pedestrian bridge simply constructed as a shell, around the old RR bridge? James Holzmeier, Wabash RR Historical Society