Brandon Trail Bridge

Concrete Arch Bridge over Lime Creek
Brandon, Buchanan County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Brandon Trail Bridge
Built By Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railway
Contractor Gould Construction Company of Davenport, Iowa
Engineer Thomas Edsall Rust
Currently Owned By Iowa DNR
Length 100 Feet Total, 50 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Concrete Arch
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1914
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date March 2017
The Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railroad was planned by Louis Cass in 1895 to Connect Waterloo to Cedar Rapids and Waverly, and provide beltline service in Waterloo.
The line was completed in 1914. Features of this line included massive concrete arch structures, two over the Cedar River (Both destroyed by floods in 2008) and a good passenger service.

From Waverly, it would head south until Cedar Falls where it would enter residential areas until leaving Waterloo.
From here it would go through Gilbertville, Brandon, Urbana, Center Point and Hiawatha before finally arriving in Cedar Rapids.
The northern connections included Chicago Great Western (Des Moines-Oelwein), Illinois Central (Omaha-Chicago), and Chicago Rock Island & Pacific (Twin Cities-Burlington).
Southern connections included the same Rock Island and a branch of the Illinois Central Line, a Rock Island line to Oelwein, the Chicago & Northwestern and Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific mainlines from Chicago to Omaha, and the Cedar Rapids Iowa City Railroad, another electric shortline.
Passenger services lasted well into the 1950s, and freight was competitive.

For the Illinois Central and Rock Island, the line was a bonus. Both their lines were filled up, so in 1958 the IC and RI teamed up to purchase the WCF&N and renamed it the Waterloo Railroad.
Rock Island sold its portion to IC in 1968, and in 1985 almost all of the tracks were abandoned, with the exception of a small industrial lead in Cedar Falls.
Today, the IC is owned by Canadian National, and the branch line serves only a handful of industries. The remainder of the line is part of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

This standard concrete arch bridge carries the Cedar Valley Nature Trail over Lime Creek.
Built in 1914, the bridge features two spans of concrete arch. It is one of the last surviving WCF&N concrete arches.
Other concrete arches were destroyed in the flood of 2008. Fortunately, this bridge is the sole survivor.
In 2018, the bridge is 104 years old. Despite being so old, the bridge is in great condition.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to its status of one of the last remaining WCF&N arches.
The photo above is an overview of the bridge. It can be accessed from the trail it carries.


Source Type


Build Date Research by Luke Harden
Contractor Research by Luke Harden
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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