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  Mintlaw trestle deck 1985

Forth Junction Project
Ranking of Significant Western Canada railway bridges

 
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Western Canada's largest railway bridges
existing today (both active and abandoned) relative to Alberta railway bridges
and particularly to the Mintlaw viaduct
updated Nov. 2014
 
Unfortunately, there is no inventory of railway bridges in Canada, making it difficult to accurately determine where the longest or highest active or abandoned bridges are in the country. However, there are some significant bridges in Western Canada of note to compare to those in Alberta. This list is by no means complete so cannot be taken as a comprehensive list of the longest bridges in Western Canada. Bridges in Alberta highlighted.

Longest bridges

Lethbridge CPR steel trestle viaduct1. Lethbridge Viaduct

- longest and highest railway bridge in North America (known locally as the High Level Bridge - not to be confused with the High Level Bridge in Edmonton (see below)); longest and highest steel rail trestle in the world; CPR steel trestle 5,331 ft. (1,624 m) long; 314' (95.7 m) high; built 1908-09 over Oldman River on Crowsnest Pass line at cost of $1.3 million using travelling crane built on site; relocated route replaced several wooden trestles including one that was 2,933 ft. (894 m) long, reduced grade and was over 5 miles shorter than original route (built 1898); 33-tower bridge consists of 44-67' spans, 22-99' spans and 1-107' truss span; still in use - approx. 12 trains per day
CP bridge Outlook Sask
2. Outlook, Saskatchewan - abandoned CPR deck truss bridge, 3,004 feet long, 150 feet high over the South Saskatchewan River; built 1912; steel sections relocated from bridge over St. Lawrence River at Lachine, Quebec; includes 8 - 424' sections; last train 1987; became part of the Trans Canada Trail in 2004; known as Sky Trail - Canada's longest pedestrian bridge.

Fabyan CNR steel trestle3. Fabyan Viaduct near Wainwright

- 2nd longest steel trestle in Canada CNR 2,775 ft. (846 m) long; 195' (59 m) tall; built 1907-08 over Battle River by Grand Trunk Pacific; originally about 130' longer but earth filled on one end to reduce length; 26 steel towers; first train 1909; rest area nearby; scene of derailment in January 2012; still in use by CN as part of east-west main line

4. Wapiti River near Grande Prairie
- approx. 2,800 ft. long steel bridge; 190 ft. high; built 1968 by Alberta Resources Railway; opened 1969; taken over by CNR 1994

5. Prince George, BC
- combination road and rail truss bridge over Fraser River, 2,659 feet long, is still an active CNR structure with a vertical lift span.


6. High Level Bridge Edmonton

High Level Bridge Edmonton- CPR steel truss (with trestle component) bridge 2,550 ft. (777 m) long; 157 ft. (48 m) tall; built 1911-1913 over North Saskatchewan River; 28 spans - 3-288' Pratt trusses, 7-96' Pratt trusses, 6-47' long steel trestle towers, 2-130' Warren trusses, 4 central concrete piers set in river bed; upper level used for trains between 1913 and 1989 as well as trams (streetcars) between 1913 and 1951; lower level used for vehicle and pedestrian traffic that continues today; tram runs periodically during summer on upper level since 1997 by Edmonton Radial Railway Society; Great Divide Waterfall 1980; bridge now owned by Province of Alberta; Municipal Historic Resource
Rochfort Bridge near Mayerthorpe

7. Rochfort Trestle near Mayerthorpe

- longest wood trestle in North America CNR 2,414 ft. (736 m) long, 110 ft. (33.5 m) tall; built 1914 over Paddle River; two short portions replaced by steel; still in use periodically by CN
 
Mintlaw ACR/CPR steel trestle 19128. Mintlaw Viaduct south of Red Deer

- longest bridge in Central Alberta; 2nd longest CPR steel trestle in Alberta 2,112 ft. (644 m) long; 110 ft. (33.5 m) tall; length includes 2 truss spans over river with wood trestle abutments on each end; bridge includes 15-75' spans, 15-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911-12 over Red Deer River by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; last train 1981, abandoned 1983; purchased by Red Deer County 2009 for $1
as a heritage site, important landmark and part of possible future recreational trail; 3rd longest steel railway trestle in Alberta; 3rd longest CPR bridge in Alberta
 
more about the Mintlaw Bridge and Alberta Central Railway
 
find us on facebook  Friends of the Mintlaw Trestle Facebook Group

 
9. Meikle River Bridge
- 2,000 ft. long steel trestle by the Great Slave Lake Railway, operated and now owned by Canadian National Railways, built 1963 90 miles north of Peace River. Line sold to RailLink in 1998 and bought back by CNR in 2006.

10. Nipawin Crooked Bridge, Saskatchewan
- 1,907 ft. long double deck steel trestle and deck truss bridge with 16 ft. roadway on level beneath tracks built in 1929-30 by CPR over Saskatchewan River at Nipawin in northeast Saskatchewan.

11
. Monarch Trestle
- over Oldman River, 1,890 ft. (576 m) long; 150 ft. (45.7 m) high; west of Monarch on Crow's Nest line built 1908-09 (same line as Lethbridge Viaduct)


12
. Mission, BC - active CPR 14-span 1,750-foot bridge with swing span over Fraser River at Mission

13. Peace River Rail Bridge
- over Peace River at town of Peace River, 1,736 ft. (529 m); built 1918 by Central Canada Railway (later part of Northern Alberta Railways); 11 spans - 2-70' deck plate girders, 2-80' deck plate girders; 6-200' deck trusses, 1-200' through truss; still in use by CNR

14. Clover Bar Rail Bridge
- (sometimes referred to as the Beverly Bridge before Beverly traffic bridge opened in 1953) over North Saskatchewan River at east Edmonton, 1,655 ft. (504 m) long, 138 ft. (42 m) high; built 1907-08 iron and concrete truss by Grand Trunk Pacific

15. Uno, Manitoba - an active CNR steel trestle near Russell, 1,533 feet long over Minnewashtack Creek.

16. Fenton, Saskatchewan - originally built in 1906 by Canadian Northern as a timber bridge over the South Saskatchewan River near Prince Albert, it was rebuilt in 1982 by Canadian National with the centre section replaced by 5 steel truss spans each 225 feet; 1,527 feet long total; CPR has trackage rights; still active

17. Grand Trunk Bridge Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - built 1908 by Grand Trunk Pacific Railway; steel truss bridge 1,500 feet long over South Saskatchewan River; still in use by Canadian National

Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre
18. Beaver River Bridge
     near Grand Centre

- combination timber trestle, truss and girder 1,485 ft. long; 195 ft. tall, built around 1950 by Canadian National Railways, abandoned 1999. Now part of the Iron Horse Trail section of the Trans Canada Trail

19. Meskanaw, Saskatchewan - built 1929 by Canadian National Railways over McCloy Creek; at 1,333 feet, Saskatchewan's longest wooden trestle; abandoned between 1978 and 1981

 


20. Ardley Bridge north of Delburne

- CNR wood and steel trestle originally 1,500 ft. long; 158' tall; built as wood trestle 1911 by Grand Trunk Pacific over Red Deer River; washed out a couple of years later and centre portion replaced with 2 steel towers and 3 steel spans; washed out again in 1952; replaced with 6 steel towers and 3 steel truss spans with wood trestle on each end and reopened 1955; with fill at each end, current length closer to 1,200 ft.; still in use daily by CNR   see Railway Bridges of Central Alberta

21. Columbia CPR at Revelstoke, BC - active CPR 8-span bridge across the Columbia River 1,122 feet long.

22. CPR Bridge Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- built 1908 by Canadian Pacific Railway over South Saskatchewan River; originally 1,252 feet long including 8 steel truss spans of 125 feet, the bridge is now listed at 1,120 feet likely due to some fill at either end; includes pedestrian walkway built 1909

23. Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
- built 1909 by Canadian Northern Railway as combination rail and road bridge; 1,119 foot long 7-span truss bridge including 3-146' spans, 2-156' spans and a 256' swing span over North Saskatchewan River; swing span ceased operating 1939; road portion closed 1960; operated by Carlton Trail shortline Railway (OmniTRAX) since 1997; CTR also has functional turntable and roundhouse

24. Anderson Creek Bridge near Boston Bar, BC - Canadian National curved steel trestle 914 ft. long, 112 ft. high


25. Entwistle Bridge west of Edmonton

- 2nd highest railway bridge in Western Canada CNR steel trestle 910 ft. long; 214' tall; built 1910 over Pembina River by Grand Trunk Pacific; still in use

26a. Fraser CNR at Lytton, BC - active CNR deck truss bridge 850 feet long over Fraser River

26b. The Pas Hudson Bay Bridge, Manitoba -built 1910 by Hudson Bay Railway (a subsidiary of the Canadian Northern Railway) 6-span steel truss 850 feet long in total; still in use

CNR wood trestle at Briggs ravine
28. Briggs Bridge near Red Deer
- wood trestle northwest of Red Deer built by Canadian Northern Western Railway 1910; about 820 ft., still in use by CNR


29. Cisco CNR near Lytton, BC - active CNR steel truss arch bridge 810 feet long, 300 feet high over Fraser River.

 
30. Prairie Creek (Maskuta) Bridge near Hinton
- 802' long and 98' high steel trestle built by Grand Trunk Pacific 1911, 6 towers of 50' long girder sections connected by 7-70' girder sections; abandoned 1916 with rail used for war effort and traffic using parallel Canadian Northern; rehabilitated 1927 after taken over by CNR; still in use by Canadian National main line to west coast and Via Rail.

31. West Fork Canyon Creek Trestle, near Kelowna, BC - abandoned curved 726' long and 180' high 12-span steel trestle built by Canadian Pacific 1930 at Pooley Creek to replace wooden trestle on Kettle Valley Railway built in 1914. Last train 1973. Longest and highest of 18 trestles that collectively span over 4,500' in Myra Canyon; used in filming of Pierre Burton's 'National Dream' TV series; purchased by BC government 1990. Twelve of the wooden trestles were destroyed by forest fire in 2003, the same year they were designated as a National Historic Site. The timber bridges were all rebuilt by 2008. One of the original sections of the Trans Canada Trail. Also known as Trestle #6.

 
North Saskatchewan River Bridge at Rocky Mountain House32. North Saskatchewan River
     Bridge Rocky Mountain House
- 720' long; combination trestle, truss and girder with concrete piers including 3-75' spans, 3-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911 by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; leased to Canadian Northern Western Railway/CNR; opened 1914; still in use by CNR


33. Rivers, Manitoba
- active CNR bridge near Brandon over Minnedosa River, 684 feet long, 91 feet high.

34. Stoney Creek, BC
- active CPR steel truss arch bridge between Revelstoke and Golden over Stoney Creek, 660 feet long, 300 feet high.
CNR Blindman River bridge at Burbank
35. Burbank Bridge near Blackfalds
- originally a wood trestle north of Red Deer built by Canadian Northern Western Railway over Blindman River 1910; replaced by steel truss bridge with wooden trestle ends; original length unknown; with considerable fill, current length around 620 ft.; still in use by CNR

36. Kinsol, BC - abandoned CNR wood trestle on Vancouver Island, 617 feet long, 145 feet high, now part of Trans Canada Trail

37. Soloman Bridge near Hinton
- active 600' CNR bridge over Athabasca River built 1927 to connect former Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific lines near Jasper Park close to small community of Entrance.

38a. Heart River Bridge at Peace River
- active 590' CNR (formerly Northern Alberta Railways) steel trestle, 140' high. 11 short (45') plate girder spans and 100' deck truss, built 1916.

38b. Thompson CNR near Lytton, BC
- active CNR deck truss bridge 590 feet long over Thompson River

40. Cisco CPR near Lytton, BC - active CPR 3-span truss bridge 520 feet long over Fraser River


old CPR river bridge at Red DeerCPR Bridge at Red Deer
- two 150' steel truss spans and 150' wooden trestle across Red Deer River built in 1908 to replace the wooden truss bridge of 3-100' spans that had been built in 1891; abandoned with rail relocation in 1991; preserved as part of walking and bicycle trail and designated as both a municipal and provincial historic resource; currently in use as part of Trans Canada Trail.                      
see Railway Bridges of Central Alberta

Note: there is the remnants of another bridge in northern Manitoba, the Port Nelson bridge, 2,380 ft. long, consisting of 17 truss spans, each 140' long. It was built in 1917 as part of the proposed Hudson Bay Railway across the Nelson River. Port Nelson was abandoned in 1927 in favour of Churchill as the preferred port and the northern terminus of the railway. Although much of the bridge is still standing, it has deteriorated to the point of no longer being intact in a number of places.

Highest Bridges

Lethbridge CPR steel trestle viaduct1. Lethbridge Viaduct
- longest and highest railway bridge in North America (known locally as the High Level Bridge - not to be confused with the High Level Bridge in Edmonton (see below)); longest and highest steel rail trestle in the world; CPR steel trestle 5,331 ft. (1,624 m) long; 314' (95.7 m) high; built 1908-09 over Oldman River on Crowsnest Pass line at cost of $1.3 million using travelling crane built on site; relocated route replaced several wooden trestles including one that was 2,933 ft. (894 m) long, reduced grade and was over 5 miles shorter than original route (built 1898); 33-tower bridge consists of 44-67' spans, 22-99' spans and 1-107' truss span; still in use - approx. 12 trains per day


2a. Stoney Creek, BC - active CPR steel truss arch bridge between Revelstoke and Golden over Stoney Creek, 660 feet long, 300 feet high.

2b. Cisco CNR near Lytton, BC - active CNR steel truss arch bridge 810 feet long, 300 feet high over Fraser River.

4. Trout Creek Trestle near Summerland, BC - abandoned 249' long and 240' high steel truss bridge built 1928 to replace 619' timber trestle built 1913 by Canadian Pacific on Kettle Valley Railway; last train 1989. Today the Kettle Valley Steam Railway featuring CPR 2-8-0 Consolidation 3716 shares the bridge with the Trans Canada Trail.


5. Entwistle Bridge west of Edmonton

- 2nd highest railway bridge in the prairie provinces; CNR steel trestle 910 ft. long; 214' tall; built 1910 over Pembina River by Grand Trunk Pacific; still in use
Fabyan CNR steel trestle
6a. Fabyan Viaduct near Wainwright

- 2nd longest steel trestle in Canada CNR 2,775 ft. (846 m) long; 195' (59 m) tall; built 1907-08 over Battle River by Grand Trunk Pacific; originally about 130' longer but earth filled on one end to reduce length; 26 steel towers; first train 1909; rest area nearby; scene of derailment in January 2012; still in use by CN as part of east-west main line

Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre
 

6b. Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre

- combination timber trestle, truss and girder 1,485 ft. long; 195 ft. tall, built around 1950 by Canadian National Railways, abandoned 1999. Now part of the Iron Horse Trail section of the Trans Canada Trail


8. Wapiti River near Grande Prairie

- approx. 2,800 ft. long steel bridge; 190 ft. high; built 1968 by Alberta Resources Railway; opened 1969; taken over by CNR 1994

9
. West Fork Canyon Creek Trestle, near Kelowna, BC - abandoned curved 726' long and 180' high 12-span steel trestle built by Canadian Pacific 1930 at Pooley Creek to replace wooden trestle on Kettle Valley Railway built in 1914. Last train 1973. Longest and highest of 18 trestles that collectively span over 4,500' in Myra Canyon; used in filming of Pierre Burton's 'National Dream' TV series; purchased by BC government 1990. Twelve of the wooden trestles were destroyed by forest fire in 2003, the same year they were designated as a National Historic Site. The timber bridges were all rebuilt by 2008. One of the original sections of the Trans Canada Trail. Also known as Trestle #6.

10. Ardley Bridge north of Delburne
- CNR wood and steel trestle originally 1,500 ft. long; 158' tall; built as wood trestle 1911 by Grand Trunk Pacific over Red Deer River; washed out a couple of years later and centre portion replaced with 2 steel towers and 3 steel spans; washed out again in 1952; replaced with 6 steel towers and 3 steel truss spans with wood trestle on each end and reopened 1955; with fill at each end, current length closer to 1,200 ft.; still in use daily by CNR

11. High Level Bridge Edmonton
High Level Bridge Edmonton- CPR steel truss (with trestle component) bridge 2,550 ft. (777 m) long; 157 ft. (48 m) tall; built 1911-1913 over North Saskatchewan River; 28 spans - 3-288' Pratt trusses, 7-96' Pratt trusses, 6-47' long steel trestle towers, 2-130' Warren trusses, 4 central concrete piers set in river bed; upper level used for trains between 1913 and 1989 as well as trams (streetcars) between 1913 and 1951; lower level used for vehicle and pedestrian traffic that continues today; tram runs periodically during summer on upper level since 1997 by Edmonton Radial Railway Society; Great Divide Waterfall 1980; bridge now owned by Province of Alberta; Municipal Historic Resource

12a
. Monarch Trestle
- over Oldman River, 1,890 ft. (576 m) long; 150 ft. (45.7 m) high; west of Monarch on Crow's Nest line built 1908-09 (same line as Lethbridge Viaduct)


12b
. Outlook, Saskatchewan - abandoned CPR deck truss bridge, 3,000 feet long, 150 feet high over the South Saskatchewan River, now part of the Trans Canada Trail.

14. Kinsol, BC - abandoned CNR wood trestle on Vancouver Island, 617 feet long, 145 feet high, now part of Trans Canada Trail

15. Heart River Bridge at Peace River
- active 590' CNR (formerly Northern Alberta Railways) steel trestle, 146' high. 11 short (45') plate girder spans and 100' deck truss.

16. Clover Bar Rail Bridge
- (sometimes referred to as the Beverly Bridge before Beverly traffic bridge opened in 1953) over North Saskatchewan River at east Edmonton, 1,655 ft. (504 m) long, 138 ft. (42 m) high; built 1907-08 iron and concrete truss by Grand Trunk Pacific


17. Anderson Creek Bridge near Boston Bar, BC - Canadian National curved steel trestle 914 ft. long, 112 ft. high
Rochfort Bridge near Mayerthorpe
18a. Rochfort Trestle near Mayerthorpe

- longest wood trestle in North America CNR 2,414 ft. (736 metres) long, 110 ft. tall; built 1914 over Paddle River; two short portions replaced by steel; still in use by CN

 Mintlaw ACR/CPR steel trestle 1912
 

18b. Mintlaw Viaduct south of Red Deer

- longest bridge in Central Alberta; 2nd longest CPR steel trestle in Alberta 2,112 ft. (644 m) long; 110 ft. (33.5 m) tall; length includes 2 truss spans over river with wood trestle abutments on each end; bridge includes 15-75' spans, 15-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911-12 over Red Deer River by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; last train 1981, abandoned 1983; purchased by Red Deer County 2009 for $1
as a heritage site, important landmark and part of possible future recreational trail; 3rd longest steel railway trestle in Alberta; 3rd longest CPR bridge in Alberta

20. Prairie Creek (Maskuta) Bridge near Hinton
- 802' long and 98' high steel trestle built by Grand Trunk Pacific 1911, 6 towers of 50' long girder sections connected by 7-70' girder sections; abandoned 1916 with rail used for war effort and traffic using parallel Canadian Northern; rehabilitated 1927 after taken over by CNR; still in use by Canadian National main line to west coast and Via Rail.

21. Rivers, Manitoba - active CNR bridge near Brandon over Minnedosa River, 684 feet long, 91 feet high.

Webmaster note: Anyone who has more information on these or other significant railway bridges in Western Canada, I would be interested in hearing from you.
Contact me at info@forthjunction.com

Significant rail bridges in rest of Canada:
Salmon River Valley Trestle near Grand Falls NB 3920 ft. long, 195 ft. high (51 spans)

Victoria Bridge at Montreal built by GTR 1859 2,009 m
International Bridge Buffalo NY-Fort Erie Ont. 3652 ft. long (1,113 m)

 

Bridges, Structures, Heritage
Rail Structures of Region
Central Alberta Rail Bridges

Mintlaw Trestle
Alberta's Railway Bridges
Western Canada Rail Bridges



 

 
The Railways of Central Alberta
Calgary & Edmonton Railway
C & E Railway at Red Deer
Alberta Central Railway
Canadian Northern Railway
Canadian Northern Western RR
Canadian National Railway in RD
Grand Trunk Pacific Central Alberta
Lacombe & Blindman Valley RR
Timetable Excerpts
 
 
Railway Stations of the Region
C & ER Combination Stations
Portable Stations
Red Deer CPR 1910 Station
Role of Railway Stations
Red Deer's 4 Stations
CPR Stations in Central Alberta
CNR Stations in Central Alberta
Multiple Station Communities
Station Plans

 
 
Trails, Transit, Trains
Trails and Trains Overview
Trains and Transit Overview

Milestones 1910-13
Calgary Edmonton Trail
Transit in Central Alberta
Red Deer Transit

Jubilee 3001 Chinook
Locomotives Central Alberta
Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail

 

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