Nicollet Island Railroad Bridge

Nicollet Island, in the Mississippi in the middle of Minneapolis, has a lot of history and there’s been a railroad bridge across it since 1867. It’s changed over those 150 years: steel girders in 1893, rebuilt in 1926, modified a couple of times since, but still in use.

From the south bank of the river – the downtown side.

I was looking for a shot of the bridge with the downtown skyline in the background, but when I found that nothing stops you from walking out onto it, I got more interested in the bridge itself. There was a forbidden thrill, going out onto the tracks where I really shouldn’t be, and a slight buzz of fear that a train might be coming. But the view was great. Like being a kid again, down near Chicago where it seemed like the rails ran everywhere, we put pennies on the tracks and hid behind a bush as a train ran over them.

There was an interesting sky that day, and I liked the open space of the girders against it with the Mississippi down below. I used a wide angle lens (14mm on a FF camera) and of course these photos had to be black and white.

Photo of Nicollet Island railroad bridge in Minneapolis
Prints available: paper, canvas, metal, acrylic.

I was in no hurry so I did quite a few, from different viewpoints. And yes, eventually I did become aware that a train was heading my way and I had to make a prompt exit from the bridge. And then I had to wait for a very long freight train to go by before I could get back to my car.

Photo of Nicollet Island railroad bridge in Minneapolis
Prints available: paper, canvas, metal, acrylic.

Stand out there and look up at the steel girders meeting the clouds. Smell the hot creosote in the ties, and the dusty gravel railbed. Nothing has changed in 100 years. What will be here a century from now?

Photo of Nicollet Island railroad bridge in Minneapolis
This photo is one of my all time favorites.
Prints available: paper, canvas, metal, acrylic.

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