Aurora Trail Bridge

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Fox River
Aurora, Kane County, Illinois

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Aurora Trail Bridge
Built By Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway
Contractor (Superstructure) Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Works of Milwaukee
Currently Owned By Kane County
Length 260 Feet Total, 130 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1897
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
EJ&E Bridge Number 420
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date July 2015, January 2022 and March 2022
In 1886, the Joliet Aurora & Northern Railway built a line extending from a point near Plainfield to Aurora, about 10 miles in length.

The branch line connected the existing line to Aurora. By 1888, the railroad would be merged into a new company called the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway.

The original intent of the railroad was to connect Joliet, Illinois to a point on the Mississippi River at East Dubuque, Illinois.
However, this never happened. Instead, the EJ&E became synonymous as a beltway around Chicago.

However, the line only became so profitable. Unfortunately, it was abandoned in 1977.
However, significant segments around Aurora survive as the Virgil Gilman Nature Trail.

This beautiful truss bridges is one of few reminders of the Aurora branch of the EJ&E.
Built in 1897, the bridge features a pair of 5-panel, pin connected Pratt Through Trusses. These spans are set onto stone abutments. These spans are rather heavy for 1897, and a built up member was added for loaded trains.
The trusses are unique, as they are among the last remaining trusses on the EJ&E. Most others have been replaced. In addition, there is significant evidence of strengthening and reconstructioning, including the addition of a built up member to replace a traditional diagonal member, and strengthening of the lower connections.
In addition, the bridge has an A-Frame portal bracing. A rebuild was done to the west abutment, as it is now encased in concrete.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition, with no significant deterioration. The bridge currently serves as the Virgil Gilman Trail.

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the unique design and historic remnant of a branch line.
The bridge also is extremely surrounded by foliage, making good photos of it difficult. The photo above is an overview.

Fox River Railroad Bridges
Upstream (West Channel) Hurds Island Rail Bridge (W)
Upstream (East Channel) Hurds Island Rail Bridge (E)
Downstream Montgomery Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date/Contractor Railway Age; Volume 24
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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