The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

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SOO2719
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The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby SOO2719 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:01 am

When the Chicago and North Western tore up the Luce Line after abandoning the route in 1970, they did a curious thing when they reached the bridge on the Crow River at Watertown, Minnesota: they left the main span standing but tore out the approach trestles on both sides. The result is this curious hybrid trail bridge that nevertheless preserves a piece of the Luce's railroad history.

The main span:

Main span of Luce Line bridge Watertown 9 3 2019.JPG


The main span as viewed from the bridge:

Center span of Luce Line Crow River bridge Watertown 9 3 2019.JPG
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
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John Bohon
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby John Bohon » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:44 am

If the approach trestle was wood perhaps they were eliminating a future environmental problem. It is easy to take apart a wooden bridge and chainsaw off the piles. Any wood that is still good can be used in other bridges. Removing steel and concrete can cost way more than the value of the scrap steel. The other benefit of removing the approach trestle is isolating the middle section. That would eliminate all but the most determined trespassers and thus the liability. For the record I have seen this done many times.

John Bohon

Al_Seever
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby Al_Seever » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:45 pm

Thanks for sharing, that's one trail I haven't been on yet.

Al Seever
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mark D
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby Mark D » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:46 am

Looks to me like something that can be used as is for a walking path and/or bike path. Maybe that's what they were thinking along with the city. In fact, I do believe that is what has been done.
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John Bohon
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby John Bohon » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:27 pm

If I am not mistaken the abandonment date of 1970 is before the trail movement started. If true I can not imagine much thought was given to such an idea when the bridge was partially removed. That probably means the right of way was still in railroad possession when it was obtained for trail use. It does look to be a nice trail.

John Bohon

SOO2719
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby SOO2719 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:55 pm

The Luce Line, which began life as the Minnesota Western railroad before being bought by the Minneapolis & St. Louis and then the Chicago & North Western, is indeed a popular rail trail, and yes, the line was abandoned before the trail movement started. Fortunately, the Luce LIne trail came into being and preserved virtually all the right-of-way.
Richard "Tony" Held

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Mark D
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby Mark D » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:19 pm

Tony, do you have knowledge about when the trail opened? Are bicycles welcome there? And, most of all, where it begins, and where it ends?
Thinking about taking my bike there

Mark D.
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SOO2719
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby SOO2719 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:36 pm

The trail opened sometime in the 1970s if memory serves me right.
The Luce is operated in two units, the state portion, and the Three Rivers portion. Here is a map for the state portion:

https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/state_trails/luce_line.pdf

The Three Rivers portion can be viewed on an interactive map here:

https://www.threeriversparks.org/index.php/location/luce-line-regional-trail

Most of the Three Rivers portion parallels the surviving active portion of the Minnesota Western from east of I-494 on into Minneapolis. The "rail with trail" portion has enabled me to get shot of the Union Pacific local that plies the trails of the old M.W., like in this pic taken in April of 2016:

UP GVI job near Medicine Lake business park 4 20 2016.JPG
Richard "Tony" Held

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Mark D
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby Mark D » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:05 am

Thanks, Tony! As soon as I can get a pdf program in this computer I'll print out the top one. The lower one is, to me, ??? But that's too far into the Cities for me anyway.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

SOO2719
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Re: The Minnesota Western Bridge Over The Crow

Postby SOO2719 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:58 pm

For the lower one, all you have to do is scroll down and click on the "interactive map" on the right of the green box. Does that help?
If you ask me, we need more "trails with rails" than rail trails. The latter have gotten out of hand in my opinion.
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/


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