BNSF Pony Creek Bridge (North)

Through Plate Girder Bridge over Pony Creek
Pacific Junction, Mills County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name BNSF Pony Creek Bridge (North)
Built By Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 110 Feet Total, 80 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 5 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder and Trestle
Substructure Type Timber Pile
Date Built 1909
Traffic Count 5 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 476.20
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date October 2019 and November 2020
In 1868, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad had reached Creston, Iowa from Ottumwa. The crews used Creston as a point to continue building west.
By 1870, the line would be completed to East Plattsmouth, Iowa. This location was set on the Missouri River.

Just across the river, in Plattsmouth, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad of Nebraska continued building west.

The railroad reached Ashland by 1870, and Lincoln later that year. The expansion would continue west, ultimately reaching Denver.

The lines were purchased by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in 1875. To the east, the Iowa line connected to Chicago, via Burlington.

By 1880, the CB&Q completed a large bridge across the Missouri River at Plattsmouth, connecting the two lines.

Throughout the early 20th century, the line would be upgraded. In Iowa, many sections were constructed double track between Creston and Pacific Junction.

In Nebraska, the Ashland to Lincoln section was constructed double track in 1910.

The line served as a broader connection, connecting Denver and Chicago.
By 1970, the CB&Q merged with Great Northern and Northern Pacific to form Burlington Northern.
In 1996, BN merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, who currently owns this line.

Presently, the Creston to Lincoln section is known as the Creston Subdivision, and sees a steady traffic base.

Located north of Pacific Junction, this through girder bridge crosses a channelized section of Pony Creek alongside County Road L31.
Built in 1909, the bridge features a single through girder span, set onto timber substructures and approached by a timber stringer span on either side. Unfortunately, no information on the bridge could be found.
The bridge also utilizes a floor where the rails are bolted directly to the joists, not requiring the use of wooden ties.
This design of bridge is common, due to the ease of construction and maintenance. Through girders were typically used where deck girders would not provide a sufficient opening. The main drawback with through girders is the horizontal clearance restrictions.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition, with no significant deterioration.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally signification, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Collection at the Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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