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Vesper 1899 railroad bridge

Vesper 1899 railroad bridge

I have some pictures to put on the site for old bridges.
But first, I am showing it here, so friends can correct the details before I post it to Bridgehunters.

I am just showing this one bridge of the Marshfield to Wisconsin Rapids railroad tracks,
and I am not showing anything else about all the miles of rail abandonned,
because only bridges are shown on Bridgehunters.

This bridge was over Hemlock Creek on the northeastern side of Vesper, Wisconsin.
Norm S. said it was original to the CNW part of the line. The Soo Line also ran through town on a parallel track about 100 feet away.
Later, the two lines were consolidated into just one line, and Soo took over the CNW track in this location.

This river crossing was built by the CNW. It looks good, considering it was a almost century old.
The newer Soo had laid continuous welded rail on it in the ? 1980's ?
The rails were embargoed about 1987? and abandoned and removed about 1990?

This is looking northwest at the bridge, I think, because the ice breakers are on this side and Hemlock creek flows west as it goes through Vesper.

I also see a sign, milepost 16. I ddn't look at the map to see if that was measured from Rapids or Marshfield.


This is looking way east at the bridge, as seen from a bridge on Wisconsin State Highway 186 in downtown Vesper.


The builders plate is always a good thing to see.
This might be one of the oldest spans that I have recorded, 1899.

It took some effort to get this picture, its over the water and 2 feet below the ties.
I put a camera (with 35mm film) on the tripod and swung it up-side down, just hanging out over the water.
I guessed where it was aimed, preset the exposure (it was just a semi-automatic camera)
and then the timer took the picture.
And in the days of film, it took another week to get the results from the processor to see that I captured the scene.

I have been at some locations that were older, but the original bridges or trestles of wood had often been replaced by steel in the 1900's by the time I recorded them.

This is a genuine 1899.
Although, its' always possible it was an 1899 bridge that was not originally built here, and it could have been moved to here later as a re-model from some other location. There are some brigdes on Bridgehunters that have been across 3 states as railroads re-built and upgraded the mainlines.



The other parallel rail line was the Soo Line / first Wisconsin Central.
When the two lines were 'combined' to be one as the only route direct between Marshfield and Rapids,
this part of the Soo Line was abandoned
and then Soo and CNW trains used just the CNW rails here.

Norm S. was around when the Soo rails were removed here,
and said they just went out in a boat and cut off the wood trestle pilings, just a foot above the waterline.
It's not exaclty a simple place to navigate with a boat, but I don't think there are any speed boats on this part of the Hemlock River

The even spacing of the pilings suggests that this was all a wooden trestle and no steel span.
If I had a better picture, I could enter it in Bridgehunter. But I could enter it anyway with just this picture.


I think this view is looking northwest.
I can see a utility pole and two wires reflected in the water.
Nothing spectacular here. so, I won't move this picture to Bridgehunters.


As of the 1990's, even the CNW bridge is gone. It's pilings were also cut off just above the water line.

Is there a chance the bridge was moved to a new location, such as some farm creek or trail crossing?
Or was it scrapped?

Is the right-of-way now owned by the county?

Is some of it used as a snow mobile trail?
Not likely,. Google maps show most of the route has grown over with trees.

Was the ROW used for a pipeline? I haven't been close to Vesper in years to see what happened.

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This page was wrote in March, 2022; with pictures from the 1980's