3 votes

BNSF - Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge


Railroad bridge with highway bridge behind

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #158045

Street View 


Eastern deck truss was built out of two spans from the original 1880 bridge


Pennsylvania through truss bridge over the Missouri River on the BNSF Railway at Plattsmouth
Plattsmouth, Cass County, Nebraska, and Mills County, Iowa
Open to traffic
Built 1903; East Approach Added 1914, West Approach Rebuilt 1976; Deck Trusses Strengthened 1993
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- E.J. Blake (Consulting Engineer)
- Kellogg & Maurice Bridge Co. of Athens, Pennsylvania (East Deck Truss Span)
- Amtrak (AMTK)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Burlington Northern Railroad (BN)
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
1-35', 1-70' Deck Girders (Added 1976)
1-402' 16-panel Pennsylvania through truss
2-198', 2-202' 8-panel pin connected Pratt Deck Truss
1-200' 8-panel pin connected Pratt Deck Truss (Reused from original bridge)
1-90' Deck Girder
1-23' Concrete slab
Main span: 16-panel Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 400.0 ft.
Total length: 1,682.0 ft.
Also called
BNSF Missouri River Bridge
BN Missouri River Bridge
CB&Q Missouri River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.00161, -95.86725   (decimal degrees)
41°00'06" N, 95°52'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/258851/4542895 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Pacific Junction
Inventory number
BH 44442 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 3, 2021: Updated by John Marvig: added information on east approach truss
  • October 11, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • March 1, 2017: New photos from John Marvig
  • December 23, 2015: New photo from Charles Kuehn
  • October 22, 2015: Updated by Nathan Holth: Add engineer.
  • October 21, 2015: New photos from John Marvig
  • November 14, 2013: Updated by Dylan VanAntwerp: Added categories "Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad", "Burlington Northern Railroad"
  • September 14, 2012: New photos from Mark Frazier
  • March 14, 2010: Added by James Baughn

Related Bridges 



BNSF - Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge
Posted November 5, 2021, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)


The biggest oddity is why they would reuse the two deck truss spans on this bridge. I know the two large through truss spans were sent to a branch line, and I assume the third deck truss also went somewhere else. But this was not a poor railroad, and it makes little sense to not use all new superstructures on a major crossing like this.

Situations like this make me wonder how much is really unknown with some of these railroad bridges. Railroads were very resourceful, and reused as much as they could.



These two bridges also probably use older parts. The Iowa bridge has plaques from 1899 on the approaches, but it could be reasonable that the trusses are older. The Clay County bridge is clearly something special. These trusses match designs of early 1880s deck trusses. Both being strengthened and using helper bents indicates this may be a very old bridge.

BNSF - Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge
Posted November 4, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


This is really interesting! It would be neat to discover that there is more early material around - hiding in plain sight. I've seen Phoenix through trusses configured similarly.


Art S.

BNSF - Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge
Posted November 3, 2021, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)


Yes thatís the span. Note the difference between it and the more modern deck truss spans. This also isnít the only CBQ deck truss which has been heavily reinforced with four truss lines, possibly indicating thereís other exceptionally old trusses still in service.

BNSF - Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge
Posted November 3, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Is that the one referred to as road span, seen in images 29-32?


Art S.

BNSF - Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge
Posted November 3, 2021, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I recently learned from a historical survey of this bridge that the easternmost deck truss was built from two of the original 1880 deck trusses, which were combined in 1903 to make a single span. This is a very unique and creative reuse of the old bridge spans.

Plattsmouth Railroad Bridge
Posted July 26, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

A new railroad bridge is planned at this location but according the Army Corp, the existing historic bridge will NOT be demolished as part of the project. See attached public notice.

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 46,291 bytes)

BNSF Railroad Bridge
Posted July 24, 2008, by Ryan Roenfeld (iowaryan [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The railroad bridge was completed in 1880 by Chief Engineer George Morrison and the span was rebuilt in 1902. The adjacent automobile bridge was completed in 1935.