The southern Minnesota town of Kenyon, Minnesota, once was host to two railroads -the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific, and the Chicago Great Western. The Milwaukee Road in the form of the Faribault-Zumbrota branch and the CGW in the form of their north-south Twin Cities to Iowa main line.
The CGW gave way to the Chicago and North Western in 1968, but Kenyon stayed a two-railroad town until 1979, when the third time bankrupt Milwaukee pruned the Zumbrota branch from its system. By 1984, the old CGW was gone too thanks to the C&NW buying the nearby north-south “Spine Line” of the bankrupt and liquidated Rock Island.
The Milwaukee Road crossed the CGW via a bridge known on the company books as S-844. Incredibly, much of this span remains intact decades after the last train crossed it!
S-844B was originally one long trestle. The span east of the CGW crossing was later replaced almost entirely by the large embankment that remains visible today, but the farmer who owned the land on both sides of the Zumbrota branch at this location demanded access to both sides of his land, so a portion of the bridge was retained.
It obviously was because of lack of money that the Milwaukee Road left most of S-844B standing and in private ownership. (An imposing steel span over the Straight River several miles to the west -Bridge S-808- was also left standing after abandonment; alas, the span eventually fell to the scrapper’s torch and only the concrete abutments and piers remain.) Today the bridge remains as a monument to the glory days when every mile of track in southern Minnesota was deemed important for local commerce.