Blue Island Junction Railroad Bridges, Blue Island, Illinois

Blue Island Junction Railroad Bridges, Blue Island, Illinois

One of the Most Photographed Railroad Sites in the United States, 5 Bridges, Blue Island, Chicago

On the southside of Chicago is the small city of Blue Island which is home to one of the most photographed railroad sites in the nation…the Blue Island Junction Railroad Bridges.

At this location you’ll find 5 Through Truss Bridges originally built between 1961 and 1965 when the Calumet Sag Channel was scheduled to be widened. Here’s an aerial photo taken in 1959 showing the original trestles before the canal was widened, an aerial from 1962 with 3 of the current bridges built but before the canal was widened and what it looks like today.

Each bridge is about 200 feet long and stands almost shoulder to shoulder across the canal. Four of the bridges, two on the left and two on the right, are dual track and live rail lines. But the center bridge which was a yard lead for the Grand Trunks yard is no longer active and the rails were removed sometime between 1988 and 1999.

From what I’ve been able to find out these bridges have been owned/operated over the years by various rail lines including the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad, CSX Railroad, Canadian National Railway, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, the Iowa Interstate Railroad and the Iowa Railroad. It now appears that CSX owns at least 2 of the bridges and dispatches, operates and maintains the lines on the other two bridges as well.

Another interesting aspect of this area is the double diamond on the south side of the canal. I have no idea how many double diamonds exist in the U.S. but if anyone out there knows, please leave a message in the comment section below.

GPS Location: 41º39’08.0″N 87º41’14.5″W