Independence Rail Bridge

Through Girder Bridge over Wapsipinicon River
Independence, Buchanan County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Independence Rail Bridge
Built By Illinois Central Railroad
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 260 Feet Total, 65 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1914
Traffic Count 6 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
CN Bridge Number 252.9
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date September 2017
In 1857, the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad began construction on a 29 mile line extending from Dubuque to Dyersville, Iowa.
By 1860, the line would receive another 49 mile extension to Jessup, Iowa.
At the end of 1860, the D&P would be purchased by the Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad, which desired to build west to Sioux City.
In 1861, the route would be extended to Cedar Falls, where it would terminate.

The D&SC would continue building west in 1866.
Beginning in 1867, the Illinois Central leased the D&SC. The route would be able to provide a mainline into Iowa for the company.
Relatively uncommon in the modern world of railroading, the Illinois Central did not fully consume the D&SC until 1946. Despite this, virtually every project was Illinois Central funded until then.
Immediately after this, the IC went to work rebuilding numerous older truss bridges along the line. This route served as the western mainline for the Illinois Central, which had grown to be considerable in size.
In 1972, the IC merged with the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad to form the Illinois Central Gulf. The ICG dissolved back into the Illinois Central in 1988.

The entire western main line and associated branch lines of the IC were sold to a railroad known as the Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad in 1985.
Just 11 years later, the route would again be purchased by Illinois Central. By 1999, the Illinois Central was purchased by Canadian National.
In 2017, Canadian National operates the Cedar Falls-Fort Dodge segment of this line as the Waterloo Subdivision.

This standard through girder bridge crosses the Wapsipinicon River in Independence.
Built in 1914, the bridge features a quartet of through girder spans set onto concrete substructures.
When constructed, the bridge replaced a two span through truss.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the bridge. Credit to PhotoLibrarian on Flickr, used with Creative Commons permission.

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

Wapsipinicon River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Dunkerton Rail Bridge
Downstream Central City Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Illinois Central 1973 track profile
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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