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WVRR - West Branch Whitewater River Bridge


WWVR @ Whitewater Bridge

Looks like a lot of trees are piled up.

Photo taken by Ed Hollowell in January 2010


BH Photo #155602



Bridge for the Whitewater Valley Railroad to cross the Whitewater River at Laurel, Indiana. The railroad was originally built in 1867 and runs from Cincinnati to Cambridge City Indiana on the route of the Whitewater Canal. Later the route was owned by the Cleveland Cincinnati Chicago & St Louis ( The Big Four) and became a part of the New York Central in 1930.

Rebuilt for Big Four Railroad in 1906 with five spans of fabricated girders. Two spans were washed out in the 1913 flood and repaired with wood pilings until 66 foot plate girders were installed in 1914. The three remaining fabricated girders from the 1906 bridge were replaced with plate girders in 1925 brining it to the current configuration. Piers are from the 1906 build with parts of the abutments in stone which may date back to the original aqueduct of the canal.

In the 1970's the track was leased by the Whitewater Valley Railroad, a museum group for tourist excursions to the historic area at Metamora, Indiana where the canal and water powered mill continues to operate for visitors. In 1983 Whitewater Valley Railroad took control of the 17 miles from Connersville, Indiana to Metamora and operates excursions many weekends.


Deck plate girder bridge over Whitewater River West Branch on Whitewater Valley Railroad
Laurel, Franklin County, Indiana
Open to traffic
Replaced 1867 bridge for Whitewater Valley Railroad. Substantly modified in 1914 and 1925.
- Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway (CCC&StL; Big Four)
- Whitewater Valley Railroad (WVRR)
Girder on four concrete piers with abutments of older cut stone and newer concrete added.
Length of largest span: 66.0 ft.
Total length: 412.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.49503, -85.18606   (decimal degrees)
39°29'42" N, 85°11'10" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/655976/4373283 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
725 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 44179 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 16, 2018: New photos from Ed Hollowell
  • March 4, 2016: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Correct status
  • February 28, 2016: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Correct span lenght and add details to discription.
  • June 1, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Whitewater Valley Railroad", "Railroad", "Big Four Railroad"
  • February 19, 2010: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Correct date in description



WVRR - West Branch Whitewater River Bridge
Posted January 3, 2018, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

In December 2017 I crossed this bridge. The water was clear and low. Near the middle I saw what appeared to be a number of cut stone blocks on the river bed. Might these have been from original pieces of Aqueduct? I'll try and find out more.

Laurel Railroad Bridge
Posted April 11, 2011, by Richard Tekulve (CANOEINDIANA [at] YAHOO [dot] COM)

Yesterday I canoed through this trestle and noticed a metal plate on the upstream (North) pier. It looked like a date of 1905 next to some names. It was on one of the center piers. It was almost impossible to stop and look because of the immense current flowing through the piers along with the tree blockage = a dangerous situation. In lower water levels it would be much easier. Perhaps a person could climb out onto one of the piers and get a better look at it. Not always do you see metal plaques on railroad trestles as they are usually sketched into the stone somewhere usually on the ends. It' amazing what you can see from the view of a canoe sometimes going under these bridges especially the railroad types. Unfortunately, you are more than not in moving water that doesn't like to wait very long for observations. I always try to record some type of date on the railroad structures since there appears to be less collectible info on the trestles more so than the county road bridges for history, length etc.

Laurel Railroad Bridge
Posted September 22, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Doing some research on the bridge history. I think that the aqueduct that was wiped out in the 1847 flood and rebuilt several times was in same place and may have used the same piers and abutments.