Saturday, March 30, 2019

Meigs Field: Gone Under Cover of Night

My father almost never played video games, but was a big fan of Flight Simulator, as he was also an amateur pilot. While I never cared much for planes (I was more interested in trains and automobiles), I enjoyed the game as well, and loved seeing the birds-eye view of the ground from a Cessna (the commercial jets were far too complicated for a six year old). Nowadays, Google Earth offers the same thing, with much simpler controls.

But my favorite thing about the game was that the default airport, and the one we almost always took off from, was Meigs Field in Chicago.

Image: Alex Hauzer via Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields
Seeing my city in all its 32-bit glory was great, and probably is at least partially responsible for my love of digital mapping. But past 2004, the default airport of Flight Simulator was no longer Meigs Field, for a very simple reason.

It no longer existed. Late in the night of March 30, 2003, the airport was razed and large X's were placed on the runways, stranding any flight en-route to the airport, or any airplanes in its hangars.

A 2003 aerial of Meigs' demolition. The "X's" indicate that planes are not allowed to land or take off from the runway. Image: Airfields-Freeman.com
The highly secretive operation kept media, cameras, and other forms of observation away. Why was this done so secretly? Today's blog discusses the life and death of Meigs Field.

BACKGROUND:

The famous 1916 Burnham & Bennett Master Plan of Chicago proposed a lakefront airport on what would be a still unbuilt island, called Northerly Island. Using land reclamation, Chicago built much of what is today's lakefront in the early to mid-20th century. This included Northerly Island, beginning in 1922. Unlike some of Burnham's proposals, such as the Crosstown Expressway, the lakefront airport would become a reality slightly over 30 years later in 1948, being named the Merrill C. Meigs Field in 1950.

1950 Map of Meigs Field. Image: Kevin Walsh via Airfields-Freeman.

Flying farmer Lee Talladay remarked of the airport, ""I didn't expect when I got up & milked the cows at 4 o'clock this morning to be rubbing elbows over lunch with the brass hats from Washington & the tycoons from Chicago's State Street stores. But that just shows what can happen when aviation really comes into its own as it has in this small instance of Chicago's lake front strip,". (Chicago Tribune)

OPERATIONS:

Meigs' main traffic consisted of small corporate jets, helicopters, medical flights, and commuter flights to regional airports in small cities like Champaign, IL; Carbondale, IL, and South Bend, IN. One could also use Meigs to fly to larger Midwestern cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul and Detroit. United Express and Trans World Express used the airport in the 1990's, supplementing their larger United Airlines and Trans Word Airlines counterparts, respectively.

A donated Boeing 727-100 plane used Meigs to land near its current resting place, the Museum of Science and Industry.
Hanging above the Museum's most awesome exhibit, its Model Railroad.
A local chapter of the Tuskeegee Airmen also used the airport to give local children their first taste of avaition, by offering free rides until the closure of the airport.

CLOSURE:
Both Mayors Richard J. Daley and Jane Byrne had proposed the closing of Meigs field, in 1972 and 1980, respectively. Both proposals were quick to be shot down, mostly as a result of what would've been a loss of FAA funding to the city. In 1989, the city accepted FAA funding in exchange for an agreement to lease the airport until 2009. But that was quickly reneged, as in late 1996 the airport closed for the first time. Governor Jim Edgar negotiated a five year reopening of Meigs, which mayor Richard M. Daley accepted.

But the fate of Meigs was sealed only six years later, as Daley ordered the destruction of Meigs on March 30th, 2003, as mentioned earlier. The reason this occurred late in the night was because Daley and the city, did not alert the FAA of the closure, nor did the city notify owners of the airplanes tied down at the airport, of which, sixteen were left stranded.


"One of the last planes to leave Meigs Field takes off in 2003" (Image: Phil Velazquez, Chicago Tribune).


His lame excuses for subverting the rule of law included that it would be "needlessly contentious" and take years in litigation within the courts, as well as that the city was unsafe in the post-9/11 world having an airport so close to downtown. Ultimately, the city was fined for the move, but was not ordered to reopen Meigs. Today, it is a park, and a pavilion for concerts.

Northerly Island, post-Meigs. Image: Lee Hogan

I have no issues with former infrastructure that's no longer necessary being turned into public lands and parks, and actively make the case that rail trails help the rail industry, cities, and non-profits alike. But there is a long process that has to occur before it is indeed accepted that a park or trail is the best use of the land, and Daley's midnight closure of Meigs robbed the aviation industry of their day in court to defend Meigs' existence.

Meigs' former control tower, now a building used by the Chicago Park District. Image: Kevin Raab via Airfields-Freeman.
Even today, the overnight closure of a general aviation facility still makes the news, and is still a political talking point, albeit a small one. Candidate Willie Wilson, who came in 4th place among voters for Chicago Mayor, proposed reopening the facility in his political agenda. Coming in fourth, he did not make the April 2nd runoff election. Undeterred, a push for a museum on the former site of Meigs Field is still a dream of some of the aviation community. Only time will tell how successful they will be.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Abandoned & Out of Service Railroad Lines Map: Year Three

It's been three years since I began the insurmountable task of finding all the abandoned railroad corridors of the world. It actually began on 3/29/16, but I have another blog soon to be posted. On one hand, the map, with nearly 400,000 views (undoubtedly more once this post is published), is a complete and massive success.

On the other hand, after three years, there's still plenty more to discover!



What started as a simple thought while walking on an abandoned railroad corridor one day, "I wonder how many abandoned railroads there are?" took me further than I'd ever thought possible, and spawned this map, this blog, my photography, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and an interest in railroad art and memorabilia.

The bridge over US 45 along the Old Plank Rd Trail; among my favorite rail-trails in Chicago.
I summarized the background of the map and in last year's update, so this post is going to be mostly about the map's current status and where I intend to go from here. But, let's compare some static images of the map from two years ago to today, just to show progress. Below is what the map looked like in May of 2017.

After slightly over a year's work, I had covered the Midwest fairly well, but much of the rest of the US was severely lacking.
After working on this nearly everyday, most of the United States is well documented, as is a good chunk of Canada and the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world is starting to fill up as well.
Today, the map is much more full worldwide, but there's still a lot more to go.
With all this said, I still get emails every so often regarding corridors in places I thought were complete, so even in my home state of Illinois, I cannot say for certain that I've covered everything, but I can say I've certainly covered almost everything.

The map has also grown slightly in scale since last year's update. For one, the map has never differentiated between abandoned rights-of-way and lines that are simply out of service. As such, I renamed it from "Abandoned Railroad Rights of Way" to simply "Abandoned & Out of Service Railroad Lines". The point of the map has always been to show where railroads no longer run, whether it be through abandonment, rail banking, or simply disuse, but there are three layers which go somewhat beyond that scale.

The first is the unbuilt railroads layer, which currently has 47 railroad proposals, some of which were partially constructed, but which never ran a revenue train along the route.

In black, the unbuilt New Mexico Central Railway, between Moriarty and San Antonito, NM
These often have little to no information on them, and their existence is often only referenced in railroad manuals from the late 18th and early 19th century, but many also had some sort of construction associated with them, such as the Decatur & State Line Railway. In black, they are the hardest to spot, just like their real life counterparts.

There have been thousands of railroad proposals that never amounted to anything, and as such, I only add them to the map if their proposed right of way is easily traceable, or if they were historic in some way, or if their proposed existence made it onto maps. So far, I've found 47 worldwide.

The next is the reactivations layer. When a line goes out of service, or even abandoned, it isn't always the end of rail service, as abandonments are not necessarily a linear function of time. Sometimes if the demand is there, lines can come back into service, such as the old Southern Pacific line between Victoria and Rosenberg, TX, which was rebuilt by Kansas City Southern in 2009.

The Green Layer shows reactivated lines saved from abandonment.
When an abandoned corridor is taken over by a heritage operator, I don't consider it in revenue service, instead I add the line to the Tourist Trains, Amusement Park and Heritage Railway layer, in red. My rationale for the difference is that these are now museums and public attractions, as opposed to simply a business.

The ROW of the California Western Railroad, now a heritage line between Ft. Bragg and Willits, CA
In addition, two maps have spun off from this project; my Ghost Towns Map (which is much more a work in progress), and the Railroad Points of Interest Map, which shows the locations of historic railroad points of interests, museums, and other things that may or may not be affiliated with now abandoned railroads.

In my pursuit of abandoned rails, I have many of you to thank for your help, including the roughly 200 or so of you who have provided me with lines and information on the map! In addition, this map would also not be possible, or nearly as far along as it is, without the following resources;

Abandoned Rails and their Facebook Page
historicaerials.com and the USGS Historic Topo Map Explorer
Atlas Obscura, OnlyInYourState, and Harvard University
The individual contributors to OpenRailwayMap
Rail Map Online
Russ Nelson's list of Unbuilt Railroads
Historic Map Works

Thank you all!
Andrew

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Ancients: 6 Railroads Abandoned Before 1900

Most of the abandoned railroad corridors in the United States have been abandoned post-1970, as federal regulators became more lenient in allowing under performing lines to be abandoned, or railbanked. Spikes in abandoned railroad lines also occurred around 1916 and 1940, both of which involved tearing of rails for steel to aid in the effort of both World Wars.

But indeed, railroad abandonment is an ongoing process, and has been since nearly the beginning of the history of railroads in the US. With that in mind, I wanted to discuss some of the earliest abandoned railroad lines, abandoned before the turn of the 20th century, which died before no one reading this would ever remember seeing.

6) Iron Range & Huron Bay Railroad (Abandoned: 1893)

One of the two used Baldwin locomotives used for the IR&HB Railroad. Image: Baraga County Historical Museum
The story of the Iron Range & Huron Bay Railroad could easily take up an entire blog post. It was one of dozens of railroads constructed in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to tap into the rich iron ore deposits discovered in the 19th century.

The company formed in 1890 to construct a line from Champion, MI to a new Lake Superior dock (near Huron Bay). The route chosen proved treacherous and hilly. The initial 500 man workforce tripled in 1891, and grading would not be finished until the year afterward.

"An 1890's photo of workers at Rock Cut" Image: Baraga County Historical Museum
Cost overruns coincided with the Panic of 1893, which caused ore prices to plummet. Although rails would be laid around the route, facing $2 million in construction costs and an inability to recover operating costs through ore sales, this railroad became an extremely unusual example of a line which was fully completed, but never had a revenue train run on it.

The company was sold for pennies on the dollar to Detroit Construction Company, and the rails were reused in some interurban railways in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

5) Prescott & Arizona Central Railroad (Abandoned: 1895)

The Prescott & Arizona Central Railroad connected Prescott with Seligman, AZ and the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (later becoming the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe). According to Andy Odell, the line was built in 1886 and went out of business in 1893, being formally abandoned two years later.

"The F.W Tritle - The first train to reach Prescott" (Odell) - January 1, 1887 - Image: Sharlot Hall Museum
Odell's trace of the right of way is viewable on my abandoned railroad corridors map. While many railroads in arid climates leave obvious traces of their right of way long after abandonment, the poor, unballasted construction of the P&AC makes it that much more difficult to observe from satellite imagery. As I understand it, his trace uses both field observations and satellite imagery. 

Like many of the failed railroads of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the P&A failed as a result of its poor construction, bad management, poor service, and high freight costs.

4) New Castle & Frenchtown Railroad (Abandoned: 1859)

Transportation in the early 18th century was dominated by canals, and the development of railroads in the coming decades was a major disruption to that industry. Canals and railroads competed against one another for freight, and railroads were not always successful despite being the superior technology at the time.

Such was the case of the New Castle & Frenchtown Turnpike and Railroad Company, which opened in 1831. This made it one of the first railroads in the United States (and the first in the State of Delaware), running between New Castle, DE and Frenchtown Wharf, MD, which is now a ghost town.

1976 Map of the former NC&F RR ROW. Image: Wikipedia Commons.
The history of the route was quite intertwined with canals, as the completion of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal to the south left New Castle on a virtual transportation island. Originally conceived as simply a turnpike (toll road), in 1831 the company was rechartered as a railroad.

The first year, the company relied on horsepower, but in 1832 the Iron Horse made its debut to the route.

Artist Hugh Ryan's rendition of the New Castle & Frenchtown Railroad via 1stbikes.org
Competition from the Canal would result in the line being abandoned somewhat west of Bear, DE, all the way to Frenchtown, MD, or roughly half of the 15 mile route in 1859. One of the earliest US railroads would also face one of the earliest abandonments in US History. East of Porter Rd, however, the line would be purchased by the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad, and is still in service today after changing flags from the PW&B to the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail, and finally Norfolk Southern.

3) Leiper Railroad (Abandoned: 1824; rebuilt in 1852; abandoned again c.1930)

The relationship between the canal industry and the railroad industry would be further intertwined in what would become the first example of a railroad replacing canals in the United States, with the Leiper Railroad in 1810, which predated steam engines by about two decades.

Map of the Leiper Railroad, via historyofrailroad.com
Thomas Leiper originally envisioned creating a canal between his family owned quarry and Crum Creek in Delaware County, PA, just outside Philadelphia. Another nearby quarry owner objected, stating the canal would interfere with his power generation, and Leiper's Canal was rejected.

Undeterred, Leiper instead applied for a railroad charter, and was granted such, in 1810, creating a horse-drawn railway with wooden rails at the location where the Leiper Canal was intended to go.

The first iteration of the Leiper in 1810 was an experimental operation not 60 yards in length, demonstrating the possibilities that railroads could have for transportation. Another unrelated Experimental Railroad was constructed in Raliegh, NC in the early 1830's.

Once full-on operations began, it operated as the first non-temporary railroad in the United States. In 1824, the railroad was abandoned and replaced with the canal that Leiper had been seeking since the beginning.

Image of the very narrow Leiper Canal. Image: Delaware County Historical Society.
In an illustration that railroad abandonments are not necessarily a linear phenomenon, the canal which replaced the railroad was ultimately replaced by another railroad in 1852 constructed by the Baltimore & Philadelphia Railroad (which became part of the B&O). That railroad was abandoned sometime in the 1930's, but you'd never know there was a railroad (or canal) there today, as the ROW has been built over by housing subdivisions.

2) Mercer & Somerset Railway (Abandoned: 1880)

By the 1870's, railroad companies were large enough that competition for routes, freight, and labor began to reach a boiling point. This manifested itself in some interesting ways, and in extreme cases, even resulted in wars between railroads.

In the same vein, the Pennsylvania Railroad actually constructed a railroad for the sole purpose of blocking one of their competitors from completing a route from Philadelphia to New York.

The Frog War between the M&S and D&BB Railroad. Image: Gillete on Hillsborough
The Mercer & Somerset Railway ran between Somerset Jct., and Millstone, NJ, with a route that ran through Hopewell, NJ, where the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad (part of the National Railway) was intending to build as part of the Philadelphia-New York Route. Chartered in 1870, this culminated in a Frog War in 1876, where the Pennsylvania Railroad parked one of their largest locomotives right where the line was to cross the M&S, preventing further completion of the route.

Tensions between workers of both companies nearly reached a heated war, but ultimately courts ruled against the Pennsylvania Railroad, who was forced to move their locomotive and not interfere further with construction.

Having served its purpose, the Pennsylvania Railroad abandoned the right-of-way four years later in 1880.


1) The Union Pacific Grade of the Transcontinental Railroad (Abandoned: 1870)

The Golden Spike ceremony is celebrating its 150th Anniversary in May of this year, and as such, I plan to do a full and complete blog on the Transcontinental at that time, so I'll keep this one relatively short. 

The Union Pacific and Central Pacific were both under government contracts to complete the grade, Union Pacific from the east and Central Pacific from the west. 
Image: tcrr.com
The two companies passed each other near Promontory, but both continued to work, resulting in two grades, one built by CP and a shorter one built by UP, as both companies were paid by the mile for the work. 

Both grades are still easily visible using satellite imagery. Image: Google Maps
The Union Pacific grade was considered obsolete, and as such was abandoned less than a year later in 1870. The Central Pacific grade would be supplanted by the Lucin Cutoff  in 1904, but remained in service until it too was abandoned by the Southern Pacific in 1942 to support the war effort.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this blog, and let me know of any other very early abandonments you've come across in the comments, thanks for reading!

Friday, March 8, 2019

11 Of The Most Amazing Abandoned Railroad Bridges Still Standing Today

With the hundreds of thousands of miles of abandoned railroad corridors in the world, it's no surprise that some of the most amazing infrastructure humanity has ever built was eventually abandoned, or re-purposed.

And indeed, many bridges, trestles and viaducts have been lost to history, such as the Brushy Creek Viaduct in Alabama. But there are also many which still stand today which serve as reminders of bygone days, the folly of man, or the power of Mother Nature, or some combination thereof. Here are 11 such bridges.

11) Goat Canyon Trestle, Jacumba Hot Springs, CA (32.729167, -116.183333)


Image: CoachellaValley.com
Goat Canyon Trestle is the largest standing (for now) wooden trestle in the United States, and in spots is 200 feet off the ground, and 750 feet long. Built in the 1930's, it's actually a lot younger than it looks, since by the 1930's, steel had all but replaced wood as the preferred construction material for bridges. It was made out of wood due to the amazing temperature fluctuations that occur in its harsh desert environment, which would deteriorate a steel structure much quicker than wood. The prevailing winds are also why it was built at a slight 14 degree curve.

Built for what was nicknamed the Impossible Railroad (the San Diego & Arizona Eastern), it was last used in 2008, although has had long periods of dormancy throughout its life. In fact, the Baja California Railroad is currently studying the feasibility of returning service to this bridge, meaning it may soon become an instance of a reactivated railroad corridor. For now though, it remains an amazing throwback to the past, and a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and hang gliders:



10) Myra Canyon Trestles, between Midway and Penticton, BC, Canada.

The Kettle Valley Railway was built in the early 20th century, in response to American mining activity in southern British Columbia, and miners using the Northern Pacific Railway south of the border, to transport materials. Thus, like the Transcontinental Canadian Pacific, the Kettle Valley Railway (itself a CP subsidiary) was built to reassert Canadian fiscal control over the region. This was no easy task, going over two mountain ranges, and required some of the most expensive engineering projects in North America to complete.

The most amazing of which was the stretch through Myra Canyon, which required 2 tunnels and 18 trestles to navigate a roughly 6 mile stretch. All of the Kettle Valley Railway was abandoned by 1989, but thankfully, many of these trestles still survive along the route today as the Kettle Valley Trail.

Trestle Number 6 as part of the Kettle Valley Trail. Image: https://www.hikingswbc.com/page2-4/page2-4-10/page2-4-10.htmlhttps://www.hikingswbc.com/page2-4/page2-4-10/page2-4-10.html, 2010
9) Victoria Viaduct over the River Wear, North East England (54.8847, -1.5028)

The Victoria Viaduct was built for the Durham Junction Railway, beginning construction in 1836 and completing two years later. It was last used in for rail traffic in 1991. Its design was based on the (much) older, and still standing, Alcántara Bridge in Spain, built early in the 2nd century by the Roman Empire.

Image: Andy Brass, 2007, geograph.org.uk
The viaduct is 120' feet high and over 800 feet long, and at the time of its construction, was one of the largest bridges in Europe, of any variety.

8) Michigan Central Bridge - Niagara Falls, ON to Niagara Falls, NY (43.108546, -79.058368)

Image: Josh Rich, 2017.
The Michigan Central Bridge often gets confused with the nearly adjacent Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, however it no longer carries railroad traffic from Canada into the United States, or vice versa. It was built to replace the Niagara Cantilever Bridge in 1925 for the Michigan Central Railroad, which later became part of the Penn Central Railroad. The Bridge was purchased by Canadian Pacific in 1990, and has been considered for demolition since 2001, although it still stands as of the time of this writing. A large concrete barrier on either side of the bridge prevents people from walking on it, as it does straddle an international border.

7) Leaderfoot Viaduct over the River Tweed - Melrose, Scotland (55.60443, -2.677939)

Image: TransportTrust.com
Back across the pond we go to the United Kingdom, and another arch bridge, the Leaderfoot Viaduct was built in 1863 for the Berwickshire Railway, and remained in revenue service until 1965. It was originally scheduled to be demolished in the late 1980's due to its deteriorated condition, but was saved by Historic Scotland in the early 1990's who would renovate the structure for preservation.

6) Seven Mile Bridge - Marathon, FL (24.6982, -81.1767)

The original bridge in the foreground, closed to traffic today. Image: Tinsley Advertising, 2008
The original Seven Mile Bridge (and indeed, the entire Overseas Railroad) was built by Henry Flagler in the early 20th century to connect Key West, FL to mainland Florida. I've talked before about how that worked out. Flagler, the Patriarch of the Florida East Coast Railway, envisioned a line to connect mainland Florida with the Florida Keys, ending at Key West. It wound up costing over $50 Million, as 4,000 men battled three hurricanes in the seven years it took to complete the line. 

The route was destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935. The route would be sold to the US Government to extend US-1 along and near the former right-of-way. Today, the original bridge still stands, but merely as a fishing bridge, and no thru traffic is possible.

5) Putrajaya Monorail Bridge - Putrajaya, Malaysia (2.943095, 101.699373)


Image: Unknown Photographer, Skyscraper City, 2009.
A common complaint I hear whenever a new construction project is proposed is why the Phase I planning process is so expensive and takes so long when "nothing is getting done". And the answer to that is because it is in this process that proposals for other alternatives are considered, environmental issues are realized, and so are funding and costs for the entire project. A few million dollars in planning money can save a government hundreds of millions down the road if the project runs out of money or is no longer viable for any number of reasons.

This is all very important to know beforehand, so you don't spend millions on the frame for a new bridge without the rest of the route being built. This bridge was built in 2004, but budget constraints forced the cancellation of construction for over a decade, and while construction is still technically being considered (with a completion date of 2021), it is at best 17 years behind schedule, and at worst will be an example of a bridge to nowhere.

4) Viaduc du Caramel - between Menton and Sospel, France

Image: Wikipedia Commons
The Viaduc du Caramel is a French example of an arched viaduct, built in 1910 for the Nice and Littoral Tramway company, and open for service two years later. By 1931, the line was closed. 

Old Postcard showing the Viaduct in 1912.
Sadly, not being able to read French, I do not have a ton more information on this viaduct, however if you can, this site does.

3) Million Dollar Bridge - Cordova, AK (60.6731, -144.74583)

The Miles Glacier Bridge, better known as the Million Dollar Bridge, was built in 1909 for the Copper River & Northwestern Railway, one of the most financially successful railroad projects in Alaska, and indeed the United States.

Million Dollar Bridge after its left-span collapsed in an earthquake. It has since been repaired. Image: bridgehunter.com
Built to connect the Kennecot copper mine near McCarthy, AK with the coast at Cordova, the CR&NW railway was 192 miles long and cost over $25 million in total. In spite of the cost, the railroad would move over $200 million in copper at a 50 percent profit.

The railroad ended service in 1941 when the mine was depleted and no longer profitable. The right-of-way and bridge were donated to the United States to become the McCarthy Hwy. The Good Friday Earthquake of 1964 would partially collapse one span of the bridge, and from there, its fate was in jeopardy. The McCarthy Hwy was rerouted and the bridge was dormant. Nonetheless, it was eventually decided it would be cheaper to repair the bridge than demolish it, or let it deteriorate further, as a collapse would have a significant impact on the migration of salmon in and out of Miles Lake. Repairs were completed in 2005.

2) Kinzua Bridge - Mt. Jewett, PA (41.75753, -78.5876)

My 2018 photo of the bridge's underbelly.
I've already talked twice about the Kinzua Bridge, having visited it last July, so I'll keep this relatively short. The Kinzua Bridge was the 4th tallest railroad bridge in the United States, and considered the 8th wonder of the world. While abandoned for freight traffic relatively early in its life due to its height, which required trains to go no more than 5 mph, it remained in service as a tourist railroad, the Knox & Kane Railroad, until 2002. One year later, before needed repairs could be made on the bridge, half of its structure was destroyed in a tornado. Rather than rebuild it, the State of Pennsylvania decided to leave the bridge in its state, and show the absolute brute force of nature, rebuilding the remaining half as a walkway, not for the faint of heart.

Destroyed ruins of the Kinzua from the end of the remaining section. (Andrew Grigg, 2018).
1) Vance Creek Bridge - Mason County, WA (47.334639, -123.321722)

Image: highestbridges.com (Be warned, some terrifying photos exist there for anyone afraid of heights)
Vance Creek Bridge has appeared in numerous abandoned bridge lists and many urbex sites all over the web for one simple reason, it looks terrifying, even from a computer monitor! Built in 1929 for the Simpson Logging Company, it is 347 feet tall and over 400 feet long.

Image: Peter Replinger, via roadtrippers.com
Once Simpson logging stopped using the bridge in the 1970's, it became a favorite for trespassers. Proposals have been made to convert the bridge into a trail, however a lack of funding and prohibitively high insurance costs made the project fall through. The structure is still standing, but the railroad ties and approach structure were removed in 2017 in an attempt to stop trespassers from making their way onto the bridge.

Nonetheless, that hasn't stopped people from shooting photos and videos.




With the huge amount of railroad infrastructure across the world, there are no doubt examples of bridges which are interesting, but didn't make this list for any number of reasons, mainly that I didn't know they exist or didn't come to my mind when making this list. I hope you enjoyed today's blog, and let me know if there's any other bridges you believe should be here in the comments, thanks for reading!