Elgin Rail Bridge (North)

Deck Plate Girder Bridge over Fox River
Elgin, Kane County, Illinois

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Name Elgin Rail Bridge (North)
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian Pacific Railway
Length 505 Feet Total, 85 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete
Date Built 1905 and 1926
Date Replaced 2019-2020
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge has been Replaced)
Current Status Replaced by a New Bridge
MILW Bridge Number Z-100
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date July 2015
In 1861, the Northern Illinois Railroad began construction of a line that would run from Savanna, Illinois to Racine, Wisconsin, including a segment from Lannark to Kittredge, in Illinois.

In 1862, the line would be extended again to Savanna, on the Mississippi River.
The line would beconme part of the Western Union Railroad in 1865.

In 1875, the Chicago and Pacific Railroad would begin building west from Halsted Street in Chicago, and reach Byron, Illinois; seated on the Rock River.

By 1880, with the lines becoming heavily profitable the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway took over the lines, although allowing the railroads to operate as subsidiaries.

Also in 1880, the lines would be connected. A new piece of track connected Byron and Kittredge.
In addition, the railroad built a new bridge across the Mississippi River at Sabula, Iowa to connect to the empire in Iowa.

The railroads became fully owned by the Milwaukee Road in 1900, and double track work commenced from Chicago that year, and made it as far as Sabula by late 1905.
The railroad became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific in 1913, as the pacific expansion began to near completion.

The line became one of the most important for the Milwaukee Road, connecting Chicago to Elgin, Byron and Savannah. In addition, the line connected to Council Bluffs in Iowa, making a regional connection.

While much of the line is still intact, a part from Goose Island to Halsted Avenue in Chicago was removed in the 1970s.
Also in Chicago, the line from Ashland Avenue (near the Kennedy Expressway) to a junction with the main line to Saint Paul near Monticello Avenue became a trail in 2015, after abandonedment years later.

The Milwaukee Road disolved in 1985, merging with Soo Line, and eventually Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Canadian Pacific in turn sold the line to I&M Rail Link in 1997, which became the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern in 2002, and Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railway later that year.

The DM&E was purchased by Canadian Pacific in late 2008. The line is known as the Chicago Subdivision, and sees a fair traffic base.

Located in Elgin beneath US-20, this large deck girder bridge was the northern of the two crossings of the Fox River at this location.
The bridge was built in 1905 and 1926. In 1905, the three of the original 1881 spans were replaced. An upgrade to the bridge replaced the other 1881 spans in 1926. The bridge consisted of six spans of deck girder, set onto stone and concrete substructures.
Large deck girder bridges like this are common, as they were cheap and easy to build. However, this was a single track bridge on an otherwise double tracked route. Because of this, it was a major bottleneck for Metra trains.
In 2017, work began to build a new bridge. A new track immediately west of the new bridge was under construction as of late 2018, and the old spans were removed and replaced in 2019 and 2020. The new bridge is of similar design, although built for double track service.
Overall, the bridge was in fair to poor condition, with deterioration that was not feasible to repair. At the time of replacement, 54 Metra trains and 6-8 Canadian Pacific trains would cross the single track bridge daily.

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

Fox River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Carpentersville Rail Bridge
Downstream Elgin Rail Bridge (South)


Source Type


Build Date Metra Fox River Bridge Section 106 Evaluation
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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