The historic Escanaba Railroad Bridge carried the Canadian National Railway over the Escanaba River in Escanaba, Michigan. It was replaced in 2015.
In the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, railroad development revolved around the need to transport copper and iron ore to Chicago, Illinois either via Lake Michigan or through the state of Wisconsin.
Toward that effort, the Peninsula Railroad completed a 62-mile line from mines near Negaunee near Marquette to docks along Lake Michigan in Escanaba in August 1864. 1 3 The line became a part of the Chicago & North Western Railway’s (C&NW) Peninsula Division in 1865. 1 By 1871, the C&NW had constructed a new mainline toward Green Bay, Wisconsin, connecting its Upper Peninsula holdings to customers throughout the Midwest.
The C&NW was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) in April 1995. 3 The UP’s lines in the Upper Peninsula were then sold to the Wisconsin Central in 1997. In October 2001, all of Wisconsin Central’s lines were acquired by the Canadian National Railway (CN) and the Upper Peninsula lines were operated as part of the Marinette Subdivision.
Escanaba River Bridge
The Escanaba River bridge was originally constructed with five riveted quadrangular lattice through truss spans in 1892 by the Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago, Illinois. 1 2 Because of a constant increase in locomotive loading and traffic, the railroad awarded a contract to the J.T. McCarthy Company of Davenport, Iowa in March 1943 to reinforce the crossing. 4 The project entailed the construction of five auxiliary piers and the splitting of the five trusses into ten shorter trusses. 1 2 4 5 By December, the company had been dismissed from the project with the remaining work being done by the C&NW. 5
The heavy ore loads carried by the CN to its dock along Lake Michigan in Escanaba required the replacement of the structurally deficient bridge over the Escanaba River in 2015. 1
- State: Michigan
- Route: Canadian National Railway
- Type: Quadrangle Lattice Through Truss
- Status: Demolished - Replaced
- Total Length: 675 feet
- Main Span Length: 130 feet (1892); 65 feet (1943)
- Mulder, Randy. “Escanaba Rail Bridge.” John Marvig Railroad Bridge Photography, 2021.
- Holth, Nathan. “Escanaba Railroad Bridge.” Historicbridges.org, 2012.
- “Michigan’s Railroad History.” Michigan Department of Transportation, 2014.
- “Contract Let on Bridge Job.” Escanaba Daily Press, 25 Mar. 1943, p. 5.
- “Dock Repair Work Started.” Escanaba Daily Press, 15 Dec. 1943, p. 3.