3 votes

NS - Tenn Bridge



Photo taken June 2005 by James Adorno

BH Photo #108842

Street Views 


Replaced earlier bridge. Line is owned by and was built for the Cincinnati Southern Railway which is owned by the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Line was leased to Southern Railroad, now part of Norfolk Southern.


Vertical lift through Warren through truss bridge over Tennessee River on the Norfolk-Southern Railway in Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee
Open to railroad traffic
Built 1880-86, rebuilt 1917-20
- Cincinnati Southern Railway (CNTP)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Southern Railway (SOU)
Vertical lift Warren through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.10408, -85.23339   (decimal degrees)
35°06'15" N, 85°14'00" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/661010/3886012 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
East Chattanooga
Inventory number
BH 32553 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 4, 2017: New photos from Chris Simmons
  • May 3, 2017: New photos from Chris Simmons
  • December 2, 2016: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • December 7, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • July 22, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • July 9, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • March 2, 2014: New photo from Jack Schmidt
  • August 28, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Railroad", "Navigable waterway"
  • August 28, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • August 23, 2010: New photos from Calvin Sneed
  • April 15, 2010: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Added to Discription.
  • March 22, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: added gps location and street view
  • October 10, 2005: Posted photos from James Adorno

Related Bridges 


  • James Adorno
  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ed Hollowell - erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com
  • Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Andrew Raker
  • Chris Simmons - atlanta_bulldog_red [at] yahoo [dot] com


NS - Tenn Bridge
Posted October 11, 2020, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Thank You, and I would say the history on this bridge needs an update to show that THIS bridge was finished in 1920 and replaced the bridge built 1877-1880 on this site.

NS - Tenn Bridge
Posted October 10, 2020, by Luke
NS - Tenn Bridge
Posted October 10, 2020, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

The Cincinnati Southern reports indicate the bridge was finished in 1880. I expect it went through some modifications before 1900. The conversion to a lift bridge in 1920 gives us it's current state. I wish there were some images of it in it's swing span form. Maybe a new entry?

Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted April 14, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

The Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway (CNO&TP) only leased the Cincinnati Southern. It remains the Cincinnati Southern and is still owned by it's namesake city.

It is currently leased by Norfolk Southern.

Cincinnati Southern Railway was opened from Cincinnati to Chattanooga in March 1880, so the bridge had to exist before that.

The bridge was to be built by John Smith & Company. The contract was for $143,820. The account I have was from 1875 so it does not note the fulfillment of the construction.

The contract called for ten piers including two rest piers for the draw. This account refered to the swing span on the Ohio bridge as a "draw" so the author may not have paid any attention to the difference in a swing and draw bridge. The first bridge is listed as 1801 ft. with 6 through trusses of 207 feet, one through truss of 256 and a "draw" of 280 ft. and 63 ft clearance above river pool level.

I have seen a photo of the finished bridge.

Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 6, 2007, by Joe Schild (shortlinejoe [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

A good number of photos of this bridge may be found at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Library, some on-line with several showing the bridge before construction of the Chickamauga Dam just up-stream. That dam was dedicated in 1939 by Pres. Roosevelt.

When I was very young and remember steam trains, I recall talking with the bridge tender who resided on the North side of the river near the approach to the bridge. When he was called upon to raise the lift span for river boat traffic, he walked out onto the bridge and climbed a ladder system to the control room situated in the structure above the counterweight. I recall the Delta Queen steam boat cruising up-stream through the gap and into the dam lock for trips to Knoxville.

I recall seeing the Southern Railway double tracking the bridge and during WW-II, many US military were posted as guards on the bridge and the dam. Tripple A was also posted but was under camo.

Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted June 21, 2007, by Douglas Hamm (dhamm72 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge was originally built in 1886 as the Cincinnati Southern Railway bridge. Originally built to 5 foot (1524 mm) broad gauge as the Cincinnati Southern Railway, the line was converted to standard gauge, 4 ft 8 in (1435 mm), in 13 hours in 1886. It was rebuilt to its present form in 1920. The rounded pier at the north end was part of the original structure.

After it was converted to standard gauge, the railroad was renamed the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway (CNO&TP). The railroad and the bridge were built and are still owned by the City of Cincinnati. It was operated by the Southern Railway, now part of the Norfolk Southern Railway system.

In 1886, in a newspaper article about the first trip down the new line, a Cincinnati reporter wrote that he was riding on the Chattanooga Choo Choo. This was the first use of the alliterative phrase which became the famous Glenn Miller song, written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon.

Today the bridge is home to the rare peregrine falcon. Since 1997, they have nested atop the counter weight on the south tower. This is one of only two nesting pairs in Tennessee and makes the bridge a hot spot with local birdwatchers.

Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted March 29, 2007, by Anonymous

I damn near killed myself getting one of these shots...almost got hit by a train...


Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted November 12, 2006, by Jeremy Clifton (jeremy [at] strych9design [dot] com)

I have a few additional photos of this bridge taken today ... if you're interested in them, let me know, and I'll send you the full-sized images (6MP). You can see the better of them here (http://www.strych9design.com/2006/11/12/final-photos-of-the-day/); two of them show the lift part of the bridge.

Great work on the site ... I've enjoyed looking at all the different bridges!


Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted August 24, 2006, by Alan Walker (awalker1829 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge did replace a structurally deficient center pivot bridge in 1917. Lift machinery was not installed until 1920. Originally only the northern fixed span and the lift span were double track with the remainder of the bridge being single track. Tennbridge is the official station name for the bridge.

Tennessee River Railroad Bridge
Posted May 5, 2006, by Anonymous

It appears this may have replaced a swingbridge, as on one end of it, there's a round bridge abutment, typical of what's under the center of a swingbridge.