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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
BNSF Bridge — Brainerd
Mississippi River Railroad Crossing
Brainerd, MN

BNSF Bridge Brainerd

• Location: River Mile 1001.4
• River Elevation: 1,152 Feet
• County: Crow Wing
• Railroad: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
• Daily Traffic Count: 8 Trains Per Day (Estimated)
• Bridge Type: Steel Plate Girder
• Bridge Length: 635 Feet, 143 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 1 Track
• Height Above Water: 45 Feet
• Date Built: 1984
This bridge is located on the former Northern Pacific Railway mainline that spanned the state of Minnesota running from Fargo to Duluth. The first bridge at this site was built in 1871. That bridge failed in 1875 and had to be rebuilt. The bridge was rebuilt a third time in 1909 as a three span truss. The NP merged with several other railroads in 1970 and became part of the Burlington Northern Railroad. The BN did a ground up rebuild of this bridge in 1984. Since that time, the BN merged with the Santa Fe to become the BNSF Railroad.

The Brainerd Daily Dispatch reports that the July 27, 1875 train wreck was caused when the bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed under the weight of the train, which was 12 cars of steel rail and 10 cars of general merchandise. Locals report that a local band of Native Americans salvaged much of the merchandise that floated downriver after the accident.

The photo above is a view looking northwest from the east river bank from a vantage point located about a block south of the railroad tracks. The photo below is a view of the BNSF Bridge looking south from the MN-210 highway bridge located just upstream.

BNSF Bridge Brainerd
BNSF Bridge Brainerd
The photo above is a view looking east across the river crossing. The photo below is a view of the structure from near the southeast corner of the bridge.

BNSF Bridge Brainerd
BNSF Bridge Brainerd
The photo above is looking west down the length of the bridge deck. The photo below is the railroad signal control box located at the east end of the river crossing.
BNSF Bridge Brainerd

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