This bridge is located within a power plant substation and the public is forbidden from using the road. Thus, this bridge was photographed from a distance and then the image was cropped.
Photo taken by Robert Elder in January 2005
BH Photo #112587
The line this bridge is on ties directly into the Frisco's north of here. Unless KG&E had their own switcher, which doesn't seem likely as unlike a grain processor or cement plant, there's no carloads to shunt, Frisco probably handled inbound/outbount carloads.
Forgot to state that the bridge is visible in this picture, this side of the coal plant.
Speculating~ the Frisco had nothing to do with this bridge. Their bridge, carrying them to Parsons, was a few miles north on the Neosho. This bridge would have been constructed in order to bring in heavy items (generators and turbine) for the new plant. That material was transported by rail back then.
The article below details how the Electric company had purchased the entire railroad line from the Plant to Cherokee Ks. in case they ever had to transport any of their heavy machinery out on rail. Good thing they did... this transformer was at the new plant, west side of river.. and had to go back to GE... across that bridge.
The original power plant was coal fired and built in 1923. A spur off of the Frisco railroad at Strauss, Kansas would have brought in all the equipment to build the plant, and coal to power it. That plant was torn down in the 1980's, I'm thinking.
I have the article from the Parsons Sun detailing all this.. somewhere.
The new gas/oil fired plant was built/completed in 1954, across the river to the west.
Here is a 1954 aerial shot of the plant, nearly finished, in the foreground, '23 model in the distance... still generating.
Old plant was only a few megawatt. The newspaper article interviewed the plant superintendent and he said "this old plant doesn't make enough power to even operate a modern plant".
Slightly confused on this one, visited about 8 months ago, lots of cars on site, could see folks working behind fence, security booth stopped me and asked what I was doing, gave same answer as always about being a bridge enthusiast, not only was I denied access, I had not one but 2 cars follow me from the site as I drove south the entire way until I crossed city limits, it was rudiculous, the plant seemed fully staffed and heavily monitored at that time.
I know most of the history of this KG&E power plant property as my father n both of my grandfathers worked here.
Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or does this bridge have some weird hip vertivals?
I have long suspected that this bridge might have been relocated here. I am highly confident that a railroad would not build a pin connected Pratt truss in 1953.
What I suspect might have happened is the bridge might have been relocated from a busy mainline to this little spur. Again, this is purely speculation.
Finally got up close to the bridge. A stamp gives a date of 1953, but the truss looks significantly older. I believe it was relocated from another location.
Yep... Looks RR to me as well!
That has been my suspicion. Rail to road.
Historicaerials shows this bridge in 1958 as a spur of the St. Louis-San Fransisco Railroad, but later as a road bridge.
If I recall correctly, this bridge used to have a pigtail ramp on the East end. Of course, I was never able to get very close to it so I might be misremembering. If I am correct about the pigtail ramp, then that would certainly indicate vehicle use.
That's what I was looking for, Nathan. I saw several references to the Neosho power plant but couldn't figure out if it was by the river or the town of Neosho. Good old Parsons Sun.
Gas generators make sense considering the large amount of gas in the ground around here. This raises the question of why they needed a rail bridge if not to move coal. They ran a rail line to the original plant site but putting up a bridge just to build on the other side of the river seems like a lot of expense. The people I knew who might remember are long gone.
Not sure if I am missing something obvious in this conversation, but it appears that in 2012 a power plant called the Neosho Steam Electric Station was removed off Wallace Road south of US-400 along the Neosho River... that would appear to reference a location near this bridge. Is that was everyone is wondering about?
The recently demolished plant was newer than the bridge; likely if the bridge is associated with the power plants it was the 1930s ones:
Westar Energy decided last year that to be more efficient, the plant, on which construction began in 1953 and operations began in 1954, would no longer be used to generate electricity.
Like the two other gas-powered steam electric stations built on the east side of the Neosho River in the 1930s, and later razed, the newer station on the west side of the river has been decommissioned.
This appears to have been the site of a power plant, located between the lake and the river. I don't see any trace of it now other than some disturbed ground. It's hard to find info on what was here, what became of it, or even a name.
Guessing, KS added a lot of generating capacity in the 1920s and closed down a number of older plants over the last 30 years as utility companies consolidated. From the air currently it looks like switching gear in the enclosures.
Now that the plant has closed, I wonder if the bridge could be in danger of demolition. Thankfully, the Neosho River is not considered navigable, so keeping the river free of pylons is less critical from the Federal Government point of view.
Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, opened 1942, closed 2005.
HAER does not mention a power generating facility associated with the plant.
Ammunition plant? Okay, that explains all of the fences and no trespassing signs...
Taking a look at the old Quadrangle map, it shows a rail line going over the bridge. Used to be a power plant there, most likely for the old Kansas Ammunition Plat to the west of there. Also, there is evidence that the line continued into the plant as well.
The old topo maps on Historic Aerials are a bit ambiguous...
Old railroad bridge?