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Canadian Railroads > The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!


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Date: 06/17/12 14:12
The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: sarailfan

The number one comment on my last post was a desire to see shots of the big bridge at Lethbridge AB. So, without further ado, here we go!

1. July 1 2009. Eastbound potash train with 2 Red Barns and an SD40-2 trailing CP 9618.
2. June 27 2010. Westbound hotshot that had detoured over the BNSF due to washouts in Saskatchewan.
3. June 27 2010. Westbound potash loads on the truss portion near the west end.

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan








Date: 06/17/12 14:15
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: sarailfan

A couple more of the big bridge, and it's little brother to the west near Monarch AB.

1. June 14 2011. Eastbound grain empties in the evening behind a pair of AC4400s.
2. June 27 2010. Westbound potash train seen in the last post making its way across the big bridge.
3. February 20 2010. Westbound grain train with a UP/CEFX/UP sandwich on the "little" bridge west of Monarch AB.

Thanks for looking!

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan








Date: 06/17/12 14:37
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: thehighwayman

I have seen photos before, but never really realized how big that bridge is!

Man alive .... that thing is humungous!

Will MacKenzie
Dundas, ON



Date: 06/17/12 14:42
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: kurtarmbruster

What a beauty--must be the largest trestle on the American continent, if not the world? Thanks, Kurt.



Date: 06/17/12 14:43
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: florida581

Excellent shots! That is one impressive structure! Just curious, what's the traffic like over the bridge in a day? Is it mostly potash, grain, and other unit trains? Is there any regular manifest traffic?

Andrew

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/17/12 15:04
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: sarailfan

I believe it's the longest steel trestle in the world - 5327' long, 314' above the river per Wikipedia (which matches what my brain has stored) while the Monarch bridge is 1890' long and 150' above the river.

Traffic is grain, potash, and coal unit trains, as well as local freights and regular manifests east, west and to/from the BNSF at Coutts/Sweetgrass MT, on average I'd say 10 or more trains per day.

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 06/17/12 17:15
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: PHall

Must be a "fun" ride going across that bridge when the winds start blowing.



Date: 06/17/12 17:35
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: pummer

Now that's what I think about when Lethbridge is mentioned. What a sight!



Date: 06/17/12 19:18
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: sarailfan

The bridge is designed for wind - close observation will show that it is a through girder design rather than a true deck girder as is typical for this type of bridge. This was done to counteract the wind effects. Doublestacks are fortunately rare on this line though I can see that they might be an issue in high wind.

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 06/17/12 19:31
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: PHall

sarailfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The bridge is designed for wind - close
> observation will show that it is a through girder
> design rather than a true deck girder as is
> typical for this type of bridge. This was done to
> counteract the wind effects. Doublestacks are
> fortunately rare on this line though I can see
> that they might be an issue in high wind.

The bridge might designed for the winds, but I bet you still get some "rock and roll" when you go across it in a train.



Date: 06/18/12 03:53
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: andersonb109

I got to ride across it on the Royal Canadian Pacific train a few years ago. That was pretty impressive while stainding on the back platform outside. Everyone else had gone off on some sort of tour but I choose to stay on board for both the extra rare mileage and experience crossing the bridge. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the train on the bridge. Couldn't have it both ways.



Date: 06/18/12 09:29
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: px320

Thanks for the really neat pics.

On June 5, the 2012 AAPRCO Kootenay Limited Special Train crossed over the High Bridge on its way to Lethbridge for the night.

These pics were taken from the Pony Express. Ex-CPR Bagg-Express-Horse car No. 4210, CC&F 1941.

The most remakable experience from the train is the view and the time it takes to cross the bridge.

As the pictures show you can't really appreciate its size from the train.






Date: 06/18/12 13:56
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: rschonfelder

sarailfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I believe it's the longest steel trestle in the
> world - 5327' long, 314' above the river per
> Wikipedia (which matches what my brain has stored)
> while the Monarch bridge is 1890' long and 150'
> above the river.
>
>

I have heard it to be the longest and highest (ie. in combination) railway bridge in the world. I don't know if this is true given that French Rail and Highway combination bridge that was built in recent times. Nice to see all that green on the Oldman River banks in your shots.

Darren, for someone who knows this location, it is interesting to see your shots in June 2010 from the south side and the evening sun is on the north side. What is the shot like from the north side this time of year? How about a current update given the solstice is this week?

For railfans, both CP and BNSF have some large or just nice photogenic trestles in this area on the approaches to the Rockies. BNSF's trestle at Cutbank is impressive as are the CP trestles at Lethbridge, Monarch, Brocket and Carmangay. Monarch and Brocket is on the Crowsnest Line while the Lethbridge catches traffic both bound for the Crow and Calgary north line. Carmangay on the Calgary north line has a very nice trestle as well. There used to be a nice trestle at the next siding west after Pincher Creek (the name escapes me now) but due to a re-allocation of the RoW there is now a generic ugly concrete thing you can see from the #3 highway.

Rick



Date: 06/18/12 14:29
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: eminence_grise

The bridge replaced an earlier alignment which went down to the valley floor prior to 1907, hence the name "High Level".



Date: 06/19/12 13:57
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: CP9300

rschonfelder Wrote:
> Monarch and Brocket are on the Crowsnest Line while
> the Lethbridge catches traffic both bound for the
> Crow and Calgary north line. There used to be a nice
> trestle at the next siding west after Pincher
> Creek (the name escapes me now) but due to a
> re-allocation of the RoW there is now a generic ugly
> concrete thing you can see from the #3 highway.

This is somewhat correct, the High bridge in Lethbridge gets traffic from the border and connection with BNSF at Coutts/Sweet Grass, traffic from the Taber Sub between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat as well as the local traffic that comes and goes from North Lethbridge or the Churchill Industrial area as CP calls it.

As for the bridge between Pincher Creek and Cowley (the next siding west), it may have looked better than the new concrete and steel structure but the line was a turkey trail until they relocated it account the Oldman River Dam and Reservoir construction.

As a side note, the grades between Fort Macleod and Crowsnest are very much like a roller coaster. From Fort Macleod heading westward to just east of Chokio(pronounced Cho Ky O), it is a steady westward uphill. It heads uphill again from the west end of Brocket to just west of where the railway crosses the Pincher Creek bridge. Downhill from there to just west of the highway underpass where it heads uphill again westward to beyond Pincher Creek station. Downhill again from just west of Pincher Creek across the new Oldman River bridge where it heads uphill again to Cowley siding and to the top of the hill where the highway crosses over. It is a steady downhill westward to Lundbreck Falls and from Lundbreck Falls westward it is uphill to Burmis siding. There is a very small section of westward downhill from Burmis west for a few miles where it is a hard and arguably the steepest part of the line uphill to Frank Slide. There is a short section of westward uphill around Sentinel but it is very short.

As for the types of traffic to cross the Lethbridge high bridge:

Trains off the Taber Sub between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat include loaded and empty potash trains from Saskatchewan to Portland,OR and back, grain trains from North Dakota and Minnesota to UP destinations in Washington and Oregon and empty returns, loaded coal trains from the mines in BC to Thunder Bay and Chicago steel mills, two wayfreights or locals that run between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat and grain trains originating off the Taber that head loaded to both Thunder Bay and Vancouver. The occasional windmill trains have been making an appearance lately, destined for an unloading spot just south of Lethbridge where they are being staged to head to the Raymond area wind project.

Trains off the Montana Sub from the border connection with BNSF that use the Lethbridge High bridge include a daily each way manifest (466eb/sb and 467nb/wb) an every other day or so load(nb/wb) and empty(eb/sb) coal train from BNSF to CP to CN for unloading in Prince Rupert and grain trains that originate loaded and terminate empty along the Montana Sub from Transmark, Stirling, Milk River and Sweet Grass. The trains from Transmark, Stirling and Milk River will go to either Thunder Bay or Vancouver for unloading and the trains from Sweet Grass go to UP destinations along the west coast for export. On demand there are extra manifests 466/467 as well.

Hope this info helps.
Happy Hunting
A.J.



Date: 06/19/12 15:31
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: sarailfan

Unfortunately, on the west end there is no legal access to the north side of the bridge - I was out on a family walk (with my scanner on of course) and heard a detour train coming off the Montana Sub, so I did the best I could with what I had.

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 06/19/12 16:07
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: tomstp

On the east bank of the canyon there is a road leading to a parking lot below the bridge. On a live steam ramble we visited this spot in 2007. Viewing the bridge from the bottom makes you feel like a gnat standing under a elephant. What a bridge!



Date: 06/21/12 12:40
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: shortlineboss

Let me understand the location of the High Level bridge. What sub and what mile post. Is it used just by trains going to and from points on the Crowsnest and Cranbrook Subs?

Mike Root
Redmond, OR



Date: 06/21/12 14:21
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: eminence_grise

shortlineboss Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Let me understand the location of the High Level
> bridge. What sub and what mile post. Is it used
> just by trains going to and from points on the
> Crowsnest and Cranbrook Subs?

Sometime in the late 1980's, a new yard was built at Kipp (7.6 miles west of Lethbridge) and west of the big bridge.
The Taber Sub. (Dunmore-Lethbridge) was lengthened by 7.6 miles and the Crowsnest Sub. (Lethbridge- Crowsnest)shortened.
The Aldersyde Sub. (Lethbridge-Calgary) connects at Lethbridge yard.

The former yard in Lethbridge was redeveloped into a shopping centre. The CPR station is now a health centre. A CP steam locomotive is preserved nearby.



Date: 06/22/12 13:03
Re: The High Level Bridge at Lethbridge - and brother!
Author: CP9300

shortlineboss Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Let me understand the location of the High Level
> bridge. What sub and what mile post. Is it used
> just by trains going to and from points on the
> Crowsnest and Cranbrook Subs?

The bridge is mile 109 of the Taber Sub, Lethbridge Yard is Mile 116.4 of the Taber Sub. Mile 106.7 on the Taber Sub is the connection with the Montana Sub from the border connection with BNSF at Coutts/Sweet Grass.

A.J.



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