2 votes

RI - Kansas River Bridge (Manhattan)


RI - Kansas River Bridge

Rock Island railroad geeps in the rocket scheme lead a freight across the Kansas River bridge in Manhattan, KS. Note the large, unusual stone abutment in between the trusses and the timber approach trestle. Date and photographer unknown.

Photographer unknown


View this photo at trainorders.com

BH Photo #290814



Date comes from City of Manhattan website


Lost warren through truss bridge over Kansas River on CRI&P Railroad
Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas
No longer exists
Built 1904, Two spans rebuilt 1936
- McClintic-Marshall Co. of Chicago, Illinois & Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1936 Spans)
- Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRIP (1866-1920); RI (1920-1975) ROCK (1975-1980))
4 - 155' Pin-connected Warren through truss with all verticals
6 - 53' Steel Wide Flange Beam
Length of largest span: 155.0 ft.
Total length: 938.0 ft.
Also called
RI - Kansas River Bridge
Rock Island - Kansas River Bridge
Rock Island Bridge #1430
RI - Manhattan Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.17446, -96.55438   (decimal degrees)
39°10'28" N, 96°33'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/711262/4338985 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 10 S., R. 8 E., Sec. 17
1000 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 56642 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 6, 2014: Updated by Dylan VanAntwerp: Added info
  • July 21, 2013: Updated by Clark Vance: Topo info, truss type
  • July 20, 2013: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad"
  • June 16, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Railroad"
  • June 16, 2013: Updated by Max : Added categories "Union Pacific Railroad", "Kansas River"



RI - Kansas River Bridge (Manhattan)
Posted August 8, 2014, by Dylan VanAntwerp (dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com)

The photo is pre-1964; you can tell that from the paint schemes on the locomotives, and the fact that the supports for the approach trestle are timber, not concrete. This would be before the bridge was raised and the approach trestle in question was reconstructed. It looks to me like a regular old timber trestle.

RI - Kansas River Bridge (Manhattan)
Posted August 7, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

In the engineering/construction industries, WFB = Wide Flange Beam. I would expect that the listing indicates that the spans are steel stringer (multi-beam) type spans. This appears to be visually confirmed in the photo on this page.

Rock Island - Kansas River Bridge
Posted August 7, 2014, by Dylan VanAntwerp (dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com)

Well, it definitely wouldn't be wooden frame trestle. As another poster already stated, this bridge was raised in 1964, and the wooden trestle was replaced with steel spans resting on concrete piers. The track chart I was looking at was dated from 1973, so it was referring to the steel spans.

Additionally, many railroads refer to wooden bridges as pile trestles. For example, nearly all wooden bridges in a Rock Island track chart will be listed as either ODPT or BDPT, meaning Open Deck Pile Trestle or Ballasted Deck Pile Trestle. They also rarely list the length of the bridge in feet; it usually listed by panels. Each panel is the small section between each bent, which are the wooden pilings the bridge rests on. So you might be looking through an RI track chart and see something like this: BR. 1465 11-PAN ODPT; you immediately know its a wooden bridge.

Rock Island - Kansas River Bridge
Posted August 6, 2014, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Wide Flange Beam?

Rock Island - Kansas River Bridge
Posted August 6, 2014, by Dylan VanAntwerp (dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com)

Based on an earlier post, I listed the approach spans as DPGs, but the Rock Island track chart lists them as 6x53' WFB spans. Anybody want to take a guess what that stands for?

Rock Island UP Kansas River Bridge
Posted July 20, 2013, by Robert Nichols (robert_nichols [at] outlook [dot] com)

No, you're right. I was going from memory and with apparent mindlessness, typed "Parker" without even looking at the photo, because the original header for this entry said "Parker" which only goes to show, so thank you for the correction.

Rock Island Kansas River Bridge
Posted July 20, 2013, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

The historic picture shows spans that look like warren configuration. Am I missing something?

UP (Rock Island) Kansas River Bridge
Posted July 20, 2013, by Robert Nichols (robert_nichols [at] outlook [dot] com)

The railroad bridge with four Parker through truss spans at this site ran diagonally underneath the old two lane highway bridge (referenced here on Bridgehunter.com as “Manhattan Bridge”) with the rails about forty feet lower than the highway deck, and was originally approached from the east by a timber trestle, that was replaced with steel deck girders on concrete piers when the entire bridge was raised about four feet in 1964. The bridge was part of the Rock Island Railroad (Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific or CRI&P) Clay Center or "High Line" secondary main line between McFarland and Belleville, Kansas. The line entered service in 1887 and was operated until 1980, when it was abandoned. The rails were sold for salvage and dismantled in 1984, and the bridge was probably dismantled and scrapped at the same time.

Probably as implied by earlier posts on this page, the piers were left in place due to the expense of removing them, until they got in the way of the alignment for the new four lane highway bridge. I’ve got several good photos I’ll try to locate and post here soon, showing Rock Island trains crossing this old bridge, along with some additional photos of the site with the old highway bridge during the great flood 1951, and before the old highway bridge was built, during the great flood of 1935. By the way, the Union Pacific never crossed the Kansas River at Manhattan. The UP line is still in operation, carrying a heavy volume of freight traffic, on the north side of the river from near Junction City to Topeka.

UP Kansas River Bridge
Posted June 17, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


You are correct about those pylons. They were in place until the mid-1990s when work began on the new K-177 bridge.

Interestingly, there were bikes parked on the old pylons as part of a display.

Manhattan Railroad Bridge
Posted June 16, 2013, by Max Johnson

I've added this bridge as I found it accidently while searching for old bridge photos in the KC area. The photo I found is during the 1951 flood and the bridge is totally flooded out in the lower right hand corner of the photo. Going off old satellite images, the piers were still standing in 1991, however the spans were gone. The new K-177/K-18 bridge is built right over this bridge' original location (perhaps why it was removed?).

Link to the picture