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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
CTRR Saint Louis River Railroad Crossing
Cloquet, MN

Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge

• Structure ID: N/A
• Location: River Mile 36.0
• River Elevation: 1,179 Feet
• Railroad: Cloquet Terminal Railroad
• Daily Traffic Count: Local Switching Traffic Only
• Bridge Type: Steel deck plate girder.
• Bridge Length: 330 Feet (Estimated), 55 Foot Longest Span (Estimated)
• Bridge Width: 16 Feet (Estimated), 1 Track
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet
• Date Built: Crossing Dates To 1898
The Duluth & Northeastern was primarily a logging railroad. It was chartered in 1898 by the Potlatch Corporation, which ran the Potlatch Paper Mill in Cloquet. The railroad brought logs to the mill, hauled supplies back out to the logging camps, and handled common carrier freight as needed. The railroad once ran 58 miles to Hornby, MN, but in recent years, it ran only to Saginaw, MN, which is about 11 miles north of Cloquet. The D&NE interchanged with the DM&IR and CN at Saginaw.

The D&NE ceased operations around the year 2000. The track was abandoned and removed. Four miles of track remain in Cloquet. It is operated by the Cloquet Terminal Railroad, which switches cars between a few local factories and the BNSF mainline. The CTRR began operations on May 13, 2002, at which time the D&NE went out of existence. It was the last logging railroad to operate in the state.

There are two railroad bridges as part of the D&NE Saint Louis River crossing. The bridge described on this page is the downstream bridge, which connects the south side of the river at Cloquet to Dunlap Island, which is a large island that sits in the middle of the river. This bridge, which is still in operation, allows trains to move between the Sappi Mill (former Potlatch Mill) on the south side of the river and the CTRR yard on Dunlap Island.

Beyond that, I have no real information on the bridge. Based on aerial photography, I estimated the length and width of the structure. It is possible that this is the original 1898 structure, but it might also have been upgraded when the railroad converted to diesel locomotives after WWII.

The photo above and below are each taken from the sidewalk on the nearby MN-33 Bridge over the south channel of the Saint Louis River. This view is looking downstream towards the east. The land on the left end of the bridge is the tip of Dunlap Island. The photo above would be a near perfect shot if it wasn't for the electrical wires in the way. This is another case where a chainsaw would come in very handy.


Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
The photo above is looking downstream on the south river channel towards the south side of the Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge. The vantage point is the sidewalk on the Main Street Bridge, looking through one of the main river spans of the MN-33 Bridge. The photo above is a peek at the north side of the railroad bridge as seen from the shore on the north side of Dunlap Island.

Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
I had a chance to visit this bridge again in the early fall of 2010. The photo above is looking east towards the upriver face of the Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge. The vantage point is the edge of the river on the south shore of the Saint Louis River near the south span of the MN-33 highway bridge. The photo below is a closer view from a spot on the south river bank located a few hundred feet downstream of the MN-33 bridge.

Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
These two photos are views looking east down the railroad tracks towards the west end of the bridge. The photo above is view looking around the curve at the west end of the bridge and looking down the south face of the bridge. The photo below is a view of the bridge from near the southwest corner of the structure.

Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge
The photo above is a view of the Lower Dunlap Island Bridge as seen from the northwest corner of the structure. The photo below is looking east down the length of the bridge deck. This view is looking towards the south bank of the river from Dunlap Island.

Lower Dunlap Island Railroad Bridge

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