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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
BNSF Bridge — Little Falls (North)
Mississippi River Railroad Crossing
Little Falls, MN

BNSF Bridge Little Falls

• Location: River Mile 966.2
• River Elevation: 1,107 Feet
• County: Morrison
• Railroad: BNSF Railroad
• Daily Traffic Count: 1 Train Per Day (Estimated)
• Bridge Type: Steel Through Truss
• Bridge Length: 330 Feet Overall, 165 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 1 Track
• Height Above Water: 6 Feet
• Date Built: 1891
This bridge is part of a railroad line that once ran between Little Falls and Brainerd. The section north of Camp Ripley has been abandoned and removed. This portion of the railroad line remains to serve the military base at Camp Ripley. That base is a major National Guard training facility. Troops will often assemble at Camp Ripley, load their vehicles and armour onto trains, and then ship out as a unit via rail.

A bridge built in the 1870s once existed at this location. It was removed and replaced by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1891. The new bridge featured two Pratt-style through truss spans. On May 10, 1974, the load on a rail car shifted, causing the train to hit and damage the sides of the east span. The span failed, and a number of railroad cars ended up in the Mississippi River. The failed railroad span was beyond repair, so the Burlington Northern brought in a 1900 era span that once crossed the Columbia River in Washington. That span is a Warren-style through truss. The result is that the bridge has two different style and sized truss spans. It looks unusual, but it serves its purpose.

The photo above is a view of the bridge from the city park in downtown Little Falls looking to the north. The two different bridge styles are visible in this view. The photo below is a view looking down the length of the bridge from the east side of the river.

BNSF Bridge Little Falls
BNSF Bridge Little Falls
The photo above is looking west from a subdivision being developed on the east riverbank just north of the railroad line. The photo below is a view from the west side of the river.

BNSF Bridge Little Falls

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