Update on Allenville RR Bridge

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016I’ve photographed the removal of the rails between Gordonville and Delta (one of these days I’ll get around to printing them), but I didn’t know if the flooring and rails were still intact on the bridge spanning the Diversion Channel south of Allenville. Here’s what the bridge looked like in 2013.

The first thing that stood out was the door ripped off the cabinet that I assume contained the electrical equipment for the warning lights where the tracks crossed Hwy N. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Trees blocked the way

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016Walking was easier than the last trip when Friend Shari and I visited. Pulling up the rails and ties provided a nice surface. The roadway was probably TOO nice, so someone felled trees across the way in several spots to keep people from driving down it.

Either that are there are some highly selective square-toothed beavers at work.

Ties pushed off to the side

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016It’s obvious that steel rails were worth salvaging, but there was no value in the rotted ties that were pushed off to the side to go back to nature.

Riddle of the Spinx

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016When I encountered the final barrier, I realized that I could no longer leap, scramble and scamper like I once could. Now, better than when I was young, I could interpret The Riddle of the Spinx.

In Greek legend, the Sphinx devoured all travelers who could not answer the riddle it posed: “What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?” The hero Oedipus gave the answer, “Man,” causing the Sphinx’s death.

On the way back, I snagged a branch suitable for a walking stick because, alas, I felt that I had reached Evening.

The bridge

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016When I finally got to my target, I was glad to see that it was still mostly intact. A few feet of rails at the ends of the structure had been removed, but the bulk of the 1918 bridge was still there.

I’d like to have stuck around longer, but the light and the temperature were both falling rapidly. I didn’t want to try to pick my way through the barriers by feel.




The End of the Line

St Louis and Iron Mountain RR Allenville 07-07-2012_3908When I wrote about the Allenville railroad bridge and the petition the Jackson, Gordonville and Delta Railroad Company (JGDR) filed to abandon 13.3 miles of rail line between Delta and Gordonville, I didn’t realize how quickly they’d start ripping up track. As I read it, the petition gave until June 1, 2013, for anyone to object. The ink must have been hardly dry before rails were being pulled up.

Here was the Renfroe Street and E. Second crossing in Allenville July 7, 2012.

Rails were spread in 2012

St Louis and Iron Mountain RR Allenville 07-07-2012_3912It was obvious little or no maintenance had been done on the tracks in this area. The rails had spread north of the crossing.

Tracks torn up in 2013

St Louis and Iron Mountain tracks Allenville 07-12-2013_6118Here’s a view north of the crossing July 12, 2013. The ties have been removed and the rails pulled up.

Split rail, gravel and brush in 2012

St Louis and Iron Mountain RR Allenville 07-07-2012_3935A train would have had to negotiate a split rail, hop a gravel-clogged intersection and plow through brush south of the intersection when this photo was taken in 2012.

Brush gone, but so is track

St Louis and Iron Mountain tracks Allenville 07-12-2013_6119Last week’s photo shows the brush has been cleared from the right of way, but the tracks are gone, too.

Tracks overgrown NE of town

St Louis and Iron Mountain RR NE of Allenville 07-07-2012_3897The tracks northeast of Allenville were overgrown in 2012. You wouldn’t know a railroad ran there except for the raised roadbed and an occasional glimpse of steel.

Bolted, not welded

St Louis and Iron Mountain tracks Allenville 07-12-2013_6125This railroad was built long before trains ran on continuous ribbons of welded tracks. Each individual piece of steel had to be bolted together. The short pieces in this scrap heap are the ones that connected the rails with huge nuts, bolts and lockwashers.

Cutting the bolts

St Louis and Iron Mountain tracks Allenville 07-12-2013_6135I didn’t look closely enough at the bolts to see if they were ground off or if, more likely, a cutting torch was used on them.

Is there a railroad lost here?

St Louis and Iron Mountain RR NE of Allenville 07-07-2012_3894Nature had pretty much reclaimed this section northeast of Allenville in 2012.

The same spot in 2013

St Louis and Iron Mountain tracks Allenville 07-12-2013_6130

The right of way would allow the passage of a train today, but there wouldn’t be any rails for it to run on. I would love to see this land preserved for a future rails to trail, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

The demolition hasn’t gotten too much outside Allenville to the north. I don’t know where they started or if they’ve ripped up the bridge over the Diversion Channel yet.

Older stories

St Louis and Iron Mountain tracks Allenville 07-12-2013_6131I’ll run other photos taken last summer of where the railroad ran between Gordonville and Allenville just so future historians can see what the line looked like. Here are some earlier stories I’ve done about the JGDR, also known as the St. Louis and Delta Railroad Company. Based on the looks of the rolling stock in Jackson next to Mario’s Pasta House, I wouldn’t count on the railroad being around very long.