• Thebes Bridge

  • For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.
For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by Gilbert B Norman
I'm curious if there remains any interchange at or near this bridge over "Ol' Man River".

When the bridge was built early last century, it was owned by a jointly-owned terminal company that comprised five railroads (ref: Wiki). Through mergers, that number appears reduced to two (UP, CN/IC).

Obviously, UP is "Big man in town", but I wonder to what extent CN/IC interchanges traffic (beyond Shipper's routings) there - and who have they got "friendly" over on the Missouri side?

BNSF obtained a number of trackage rights in Southern Illinois beyond what they had by grace of the "Q". Could have those rights included access to and over the bridge to their own SL&SF?

"Once upon a tine", the ICC was confronted with several "open Gateway" cases, but with deregulation and mergers, any of such are likely "moot".

Enquiring mind wants to know.
  by CarterB
C&EI used to connect with SLSW there at one time IIRC. Does UP still use the trackage across the bridge into IL up to Gorham or beyond?
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Morris, in view of that most UP (MP) traffic runs down the Illinois side, with the likely exception of that destined to Kansas City from St Louis, from their yard at Dupo then X-ing at Thebes, as well as traffic routed from Chicago over the C&EI, makes UP hands down the largest user of the bridge.

From looking at a BNSF map, it appears they have trackage over the bridge. However, in view of not too many "friendlies" in Southern Missouri, I wonder to what extent those rights are used.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Here's a topic at the General Discussion Forum:


It appears from a BNSF map, they obtained trackage rights over the Thebes, IL bridge. With the merger of both C&EI and MP into UP, that would represent most of the bridge's use.

"Enquiring mind wants to know", to what extent does BNSF use the structure?
  by SSW921
C&EI gave up its part ownership of SIMBCO in 1945. What does the C&EI have to do with BNSF crossing the Thebes Bridge?

What you should have said was,"With the merger of the Cotton Belt (40% of SIMBCO) and the Missouri Pacific (60% SIMBCO) into Union Pacific, what kind of trackage rights does BNSF have across Thebes Bridge.

Ed in Kentucky
Cotton Belt Chapter #114
  by Gilbert B Norman
Ed, please forgive my omission of the Cotton Belt. It had been an integral part of the SP for as long as I have followed industry affairs. But I should know, having grown up along the New Haven, how fiercely the legacies of "Fallen Flags" are guarded.

The BNSF has a map showing they have trackage over the bridge not only connecting with their former "Q" Southern Illinois lines, but also from Dupo to the Bridge over the MP (I know you accessed Dupo, but not aware of your trackage arrangements to get there from the Bridge).

But apparently on that BNSF map, it is just a line drawn. I had to ask "Who have they got to interchange with on the Missouri side"?
  by sswmp104
I am not an expert on this, but have huge interest in the subject.
My location is along side the SSW (of old) main line.
Before Thebes was built the Cotton Belt used a ferry to get across the river (Birds Point to Cairo)
That said, at the time of construction and subsequent use, only the Missouri Pacific and SSW used the bridge.
That two RR usage was not without some controversial dispatching at times.
The SLSF (present BNSF) did not need a crossing of the river since they had (and still do) the river subdivision that leaves St.Louis and goes south to Memphis, ALL ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE river. Memphis entry to East side of the river is precisely at Memphis via bridge. Before this point of entry onto Memphis the BNSF has a combination of the trains that start in St. Louis AND trains from Kansas City.
At one time in recent years, the BNSF allowed UP traffic on the BNSF river sub and backwards on the BNSF/KC/Mps to Jonesboro AR then a shoe fly put them back on UP track. This was due to maintaining UP main north toward Dextor MO.
To my knowledge NO BNSF traffic on Thebes, since there was no need. endmrw0718191006
  by Gilbert B Norman
First, Mr. SSWMP104, welcome to this site. Your handle would suggest you reside somewhere about Ware, IL or about 104 miles from E St. Louis.

Since the Bridge last had any passenger train (SSW) during 1959, no all that many latter day railfans even know of it.

Now of interest to me is that the IC is a listed owner of the jointly-owned company that owns the Bridge, but yet it is reported here they do not operate over such. I must ask did they ever.

Next, the Wiki article notes that the C&EI sold their interest in the Bridge during 1946. In order to make rates with "friendly" (or I can't think of why they'd be foe) Frisco, they'd have to have access to the Bridge. They could make rates with the (pre merger) MP at Thebes, but they would appear to "captive" themselves to one road.

So I again I close by noting "enquiring mind wants to know".
  by SSW921
SSW Mile Post 104 is in northeast Arkansas.

IC was a previous owner of SIMBCO. My 1968 Moody's Transportation Manual gives the ownership of SIMBCO as 40% Cotton Belt and 60% Missouri Pacific. At one time the Illinois Central interchanged with the Cotton Belt at a place called Gale, Illinois. The Illinois Central reached Gale by a branch line from the main line in Illinois. Gale is underneath the Thebes Bridge and obviously adjacent to Thebes. I don't know of any IC operation over the Thebes Bridge, but do know of transfer runs from Illmo to Gale. Gale was a big interchange point for crude oil tank car shipments during WW2. And the Big Inch Pipeline crossed the river between Grays Point, Missouri and Gale, Illinois.

Cotton Belt at one time operated a car ferry between Grays Point Missouri and Thebes. That operation was replaced by the Thebes Bridge.

The C&EI was at one time controlled by the Frisco. The C&EI had a line to Chaffee, Missouri to make connection with SLSF. This would have C&EI trains operating over the Thebes Bridge.

Missouri Pacific had a line between Gale and Cairo, Illinois. And Cotton Belt had trackage rights over the MP between Valley Junction, IL and Gale, IL. The MP had trackage rights over the Cotton Belt from Illmo, MO to Dexter Jct., MO.

And I wrote most of the railroad part of the Thebes Bridge wiki article as SSW9389.

Ed in Kentucky
  by Gilbert B Norman
I thank both you gentlemen for stepping forward and sharing your knowledge regarding Thebes - and could only be considered as "expert".

Now one other thing I once learned of regarding Thebes is a case before the ICC to deem Thebes an "Open Gateway".

Might anyone have knowledge what caused an aggrieved party to bring forth this action?
  by Jeff Smith
Merged and cross-posted.
  by CarterB
C&EI once operated sections of the Silent Knight (with interchange sleeper) and the Zipper to Thebes. Anyone have photos of such?
  by SSW921
J. W. Barriger took photos at Thebes, Gale, and Illmo. These are in the C&EI album of the Barriger Railroad Library on Flickr. See https://www.flickr.com/photos/barrigerl ... 9413/page1
  by CarterB
SSW thank you. Absolutely fantastic photos of steam era, passenger trains and interlockings!!