- 1836: Galena and Chicago Union Railroad charted between Chicago and Galena, Illinois
- 1848: 10 miles completed from Chicago to Oak Park, Illinois by the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad
- 1849: 20 miles completed from Oak Park to West Chicago, Illinois by the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad
- 1854: 68 miles completed from West Chicago to Dixon, Illinois by the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad
- 1855: 39 miles completed from Dixon to East Clinton, Illinois by the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad
- 1855: 10 miles double tracked from Chicago to Oak Park
- 1856: 20 miles double tracked from Oak Park to West Chicago
- 1864: G&CU consolidated with the Chicago & North Western Railway
- 1884: 15 miles double tracked from West Chicago to Elburn
- 1889: Remainder of line double tracked from Elburn to East Clinton
- 1893-95: Track elevated from Sacramento Boulevard to 40th Street (Pulaski Road)
- 1905: Track elevated from Ashland Avenue to Sacramento Boulevard
- 1908-13: Track elevated from Pulaski Road to Thatcher Avenue River Forest and additional tracks built
- 1909-11: Track realigned, elevated and expanded for new Chicago Terminal
- 1910: 13 mile bypass of Dixon completed by the Lee County Railway Company
- 1910: C&NW purchases the Lee County Railway Company
- 1995: Chicago & North Western purchased by Union Pacific Railroad
- 1995-Present: Union Pacific operates the Geneva Subdivision from Chicago to East Clinton
- 2006-Present: Metra operates the Union Pacific West Line between Elburn and Chicago
This through truss bridge crosses the Rock River between Sterling and Nelson, Illinois.
Originally built in 1889, the bridge was constructed with five riveted Quadrangular Through Truss spans, set onto stone substructures.
Major modification came in 1926 when the trusses were strengthened with new members and floor beams. Further work was done in the 1980s to allow for taller stack train cars, likely in preparation for the Global Two Intermodal Yard.
While the Quadrangular Through Truss is not an uncommon design on the Chicago & North Western, very few 19th Century spans remain on active double track lines. Most of these remaining date to the late 1890s, although this bridge is a decade older. As a result, this is one of the more historic trusses on active railroads in the area.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in fair condition. This is a significant structure, and has been rebuilt considerably since original construction. The original portal bracing on this structure consisted of a pedimented style with a flat top.
Historic photo of the bridge, via Library of Congress
The author has ranked the bridge as being highly significant, due to the large scale design of an 1880s truss carrying a considerable amount of traffic currently.
The photo above is an overview.
|Upstream||Dixon Rail Bridge|
|Downstream||Rock Falls Rail Bridge|