Amoret Rail Bridge

Whipple Through Truss Bridge over Marais des Cygnes River
Near Amoret, Bates County, Missouri

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Name Amoret Rail Bridge
Built By Kansas City Southern Railway
Consulting Engineers Waddell & Hedrick of Kansas City
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Kansas City Southern Railway
Length 385 Feet Total, 235 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 30 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Whipple Through Truss and Through Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 20 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
KCS Bridge Number Unknown
Significance National Significance
Documentation Date March 2017
In January of 1891, the Kansas City, Fort Smith & Southern Railroad began construction of a 45 mile segment of line from Grandview, Missouri to the Marais des Cygnes River at Amoret, Missouri.
Later in 1891, another 12 miles to Hume, Missouri would be opened. Another 99 miles would be opened to Joplin, Missouri by 1893. The line would continue south from this location the next year.
The new route left Grandview and headed straight south, along the Kansas/Missouri border. It would be acquired by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad in 1893.

The route connected into Kansas City via a portion of the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway that was constructed in 1877. The Kansas City & Independence Air Line would complete the connection in 1892.

In 1900, the Kansas City Southern Railway would be born through the combination of several companies, including those above.
The KCS was a well funded and constructed railroad, with track extending from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. The line was heavily rebuilt in the first decade of the 20th century.

One of the major issues for the railroad was between Leeds (now part of Kansas City) and Grandview. The railroad followed the Blue River in a deep gorge, which oftentimes meant large grades and floods.
To counter this, the Kansas City and Grandview Railway was formed in 1923. Controlled by the KCS, the road sought to rebuild the mainline track between Leeds (now Kansas City) and Grandview.

Upon completion in 1929, the line was a success. Featuring massive bridges and deep cuts, the route proved to be an operational dream.
The line also helped the KCS economically, and improved their outlook during the Great Depression.

The KCS has had little changes since 1929. After the opening of the new track and route, the old line was sold to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco). Frisco and successor Burlington Northern operated the line until the construction of the interstates through the area.
In 2017, the Kansas City-Joplin line is the mainline of the KCS, providing connections to the south and the east. It continues to see a steady traffic base.

This unique Whipple Through Truss bridge crosses the Marais des Cygnes River near the largely abandoned town of Amoret, Missouri.
The bridge is one of the most unique in the region, and is likely the latest constructed Whipple Through Truss in the United States.
Whipple Trusses were originally patented by Squire Whipple in 1853, and were largely popular on railroads between the 1860s and 1890. These large scale spans were durable, simple and made great spans on large bridges.
However, virtually every Whipple Truss ever constructed features pinned connections.

There is one exception to every generalization. This bridge is that exception.
It features a large 11 panel, 235 foot long riveted Whipple Through Truss. This span contains less counter braces than an 1800s Whipple span, likely due to the immense construction.
In addition, a through girder span approaches the structure on either side. The entire bridge rests on concrete substructures, adding to the authenticity of the rare design of this bridge.

Even more curious than the design is the builder. Waddell & Hedrick of Kansas City was consulted to design the structure. John Alexander Low Waddell was a proponent of simple and durable truss designs. One of the biggest mysteries about this bridge is why the design was chosen, when it was outdated and the engineering firm did not agree with it's use in other projects.
Despite all the oddities, this bridge can be described as a must see bridge on the regional level. It is the only known Whipple Truss designed after 1900, and is also the only such in existence with riveted connections.
Due to the unique features and oddities, the author has ranked the bridge as being nationally significant.
Additional rehabilitation has been added to the bridge as well, which includes such work as additional steel on the frame of the truss. The bridge appears to be an extremely healthy structure.
Access to the bridge can be made from the northwest quadrant, where a gravel road leads to the bridge.
The photo above is an overview, and the photo below is a photo of the builders plaque.

Marais des Cygnes River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Boicourt Rail Bridge
Downstream (Main Channel) MNA Marias des Cygnes River Bridge (S)
Downstream (Old Channel) MNA Marias des Cygnes River Bridge (N)

These Pictures Start at Varying Points in the Series

Detail Photos from March 2017


Source Type


Build Date Plaque
Contractor Missing American Bridge Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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