3 votes

BN - Winona Bridge


Overall View Of Bridge And Mississippi River. View To Southeast.

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #177106


The Winona Bridge Railway was incorporated with its stock owned 2/3 by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ) and 1/3 by the Green Bay and Western Railroad (GB&W). It was a short line whose purpose was to build a second rail bridge at Winona. Its total trackage was slightly over one mile, consisting of the bridge and the approach lines to interconnect at each end. The CBQ and GB&W, and thereby the WBR, eventually became merged into the Burlington Northern Railway.

By the 1970s, trains had generally become too heavy for the bridge, and it was abandoned by the then Burlington Northern. A wooden approach trestle burned in 1989, and the entire bridge was removed in 1990.

The Winona Bridge Railway still exists on paper, 100% owned by BNSF. A few trains were operated by BN labeled WBR in the 1980s, as a bypass of work rules.


Lost through truss bridge over Mississippi River on Winona Bridge Railway (later BN RR)
Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, and Buffalo County, Wisconsin
Built in 1891 by Winona Bridge Railway Co; burned in a fire in 1989; later removed in 1990
- George S. Morison of New Bedford, Massachusetts
- Union Bridge Co. of Buffalo, New York & Athens, Pennsylvania
- Burlington Northern Railroad (BN)
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
- Green Bay & Western Railroad (GB&W)
- Winona Bridge Railway (WBR)
Swing Span: Howe through truss
Approach Spans: Parker through truss (3 spans)
All are pin-connected
Timber trestle east approach span
Length of largest span: 270.0 ft.
Total length: 1,700.0 ft.
Also called
WBR - Winona Bridge
GBW - Winona Bridge
CBQ - Winona Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.04554, -91.60399   (decimal degrees)
44°02'44" N, 91°36'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/611838/4877877 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Winona East
Inventory number
BH 46139 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 25, 2021: Updated by Roger Deschner: Add description to cllarify ownership(s)
  • November 11, 2017: New photos from Dana and Kay Klein
  • October 17, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: GPS fix
  • May 2, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Navigable waterway"
  • August 10, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added category "railroad"
  • September 12, 2010: Added by Jason Smith



CB&Q - Winona Bridge
Posted November 11, 2017, by Anonymous

Dana, your pics are of the CNW bridge.

CB&Q Mississippi River Bridge (Winona)
Posted October 17, 2013, by Don Morrison

I found an old county atlas showing a rail crossing there, but nothing saying CB&Q, so I didn't change the coordinates. It also shows the "High Bridge" that predated the Winona Bridge.

CB&Q Mississippi River Bridge (Winona)
Posted October 17, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

I agree with Don, those look like the right coordinates....

Tis a shame this beauty of a bridge is gone. I would have loved to see it.

CB&Q Mississippi River Bridge (Winona)
Posted October 17, 2013, by Don Morrison

Anyone else think that the proper coordinates of this bridge were 44.044831,-91.60642 ?