Radcliffe Rail Crossing

Through Girder Bridge over Abandoned Chicago & North Western Railway
Radcliffe, Hardin County, Iowa

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Name Radcliffe Rail Crossing
Built By St. Paul & Kansas City Shortline Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 110 Feet Total, 50 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 25 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through and Deck Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1901
Traffic Count 15 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 130.00
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date September 2017
In 1913, the St. Paul and Kansas City Short Line Railroad built a line directly between Des Moines, Iowa and Mason City, Iowa.
This route immediately became a part of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. Connecting to St. Paul, Minnesota on the north and Kansas City to the south; the route was known as the Rock Island Spine Line.
Despite the great routing of the line, the Rock Island oftentimes faced financial issues, which led to deferred maintenance of this route.

By the time a judge ordered liquidation of the Rock Island assets, the route was in poor condition. The Chicago & North Western Railway and Soo Line Railroad entered a bidding war to win the Spine Line and its connections to Kansas City.
After the C&NW came out victorious, over a year was spent rebuilding the line to get it back into operating condition. The route opened in 1983, and provided the C&NW with a direct connection to Kansas City.
At Nevada, Iowa; a connection was built to the Clinton Subdivision to allow a connection between major routes. This connection opened up in 1983.
In 1995, the C&NW was purchased by Union Pacific. Today, Union Pacific continues to operate this line as the Mason City Subdivision.

This girder bridge crosses an abandoned railbed of the Chicago & North Western near Radcliffe.
Built in 1901, the bridge features a through girder main span, as well as deck girder approaches.
Under the structure are concrete substructures. These are in poor condition, and have significant spalling.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from a road nearby.


Source Type


Build Date Construction of route
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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