New River Railroad Bridge

    New River Railroad Bridge

    The abandoned New River Railroad Bridge carried the Cincinnati Southern over the New River in Tennessee.


    The construction of the Cincinnati Southern was spurred by a shift of shipping preferences along the Ohio River, which at the time was the preferred mode of freight transport in Cincinnati. To remain competitive, the city formulated plans to develop its own railroad to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1835. 2 The first contract for construction was awarded in December 1873. 3

    An iron modified Fink deck truss 930-feet in length was constructed by T.F. Pyott of Chattanooga over the New River near Oneida, Tennessee in 1879. 1 It included an iron trestle of 730 feet, a main span of 200 feet, and four masonry piers. A construction camp was located in what is now the community of New River. The completion of the bridge and Tunnel No. 15 to the south finished the Cincinnati Southern between Cincinnati and Chattanooga. 4 5b

    On September 7, 1881, the Cincinnati Southern was leased to Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railroad (CNO&TP) for 25 years. 1 2

    The CNO&TP bypassed the bridge and Tunnel No. 15 as part of the fourth phase of a modernization project that began in 1961 to eliminate the last of the small-bore tunnels along the railway. 5a 2b 6a At 12:05 a.m. on July 10, 1963, the new New River bridge was opened to traffic. 5a With a length of 1,618 feet and a height of 307 feet, it required four million tons of steel and 15,000 cubic yards of concrete to construct.

    The trackage and approach to the New River crossing were removed but the center span was kept in place.



    • State: Tennessee
    • Route: Cincinnati Southern (Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway)
    • Type: Fink deck truss
    • Status: Abandoned / Closed
    • Total Length: 930 feet (1879); 1,618 feet (1963)
    • Main Span Length: 200 feet (1879)
    • Height: 307 feet (1963)


    1. Tipton, Rick. “The PRR in Cincinnati.” The Pennsylvania Railroad in Cincinnati, Altoona: Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society, 2004. pp. 3-103.
    2. “The Birth of an Idea.” Cincinnati Southern Railway. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. Article.
    3. “Historical Timeline.” Cincinnati Southern Railway. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. Article.
    4. Storey, G. Allen. “The Railroads in Scott County.” FNB Chronicle 14.4 (Summer 2003): n. pag. Web. 22 Apr. 2010. Article.
    5. “August 1963 Ties.” Southern Railfan. Southern Railway System Magazine, Aug. 1963. Article.
      1. “Helenwood to Robbins, Tenn.” Article.
      2. “90 Years to Daylight.” Article.
    6. “December 1961 Ties.” Southern Railfan. Southern Railway System Magazine, Dec. 1961. Article.
      1. “Breaking Through the Tunnel Barrier on the CNO&TP.” Article.

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