Young's High Bridge, Tyrone, Kentucky

Young's High Bridge and the adjacent US Highway 62 auto bridge
Construction of the railroad bridge near Tyrone, Kentucky, began in February 1889 and was completed August 21, 1889 with the driving of the last spike. The bridge is named Young's High Bridge in honor of William Bennett Henderson Young, president of the Louisville Southern railroad. The bridge is 1659 feet long, stands 283 feet above the low water mark, and has a 551 feet long cantilever span. Unlike the more famous High Bridge, Young's High Bridge has never been strengthened, modified, or reconstructed. It remains today as it was built. On December 27, 1937, the last passenger train crossed Young's High Bridge. The last train crossed Young's High Bridge in November 1985. The Norfolk Southern lists the bridge as out of service and has abandoned the line. It is currently rail-banked by the Tyrone Bridge and Railroad company to potentially be used for a scenic railroad or rail-trail. [Source for most of this information is the Blue Grass Railroad Museum (BGRM) website]

An engineering description of the construction of this cantilever bridge appeared in the April 5, 1890 issue of the Engineering News Report.

Information about Young's High Bridge both online and off is unfortunately scarce. I know the BGRM and I will be quite interested in pointers to any historical photographs and documentation about the bridge.

Pictures of the bridge:

The Goodman-Paxton Collection in the Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kentucky includes three photographs taken in the 1940s of the railroad bridge and the highway bridge.

Jon Hagee's High Bridge post card collection, although it almost exclusively features the High Bridge, includes one post card of Young's High Bridge.

This railroad club has a picture entitled Young's High Bridge, Tyrone, Kentucky, 1977. It may be a promotional picture from the Southern Railroad

Many people watched as the first train crossed the Kentucky River on Young's High Bridge on Aug. 30, 1889.
Other information about the bridge:

The manuscript collections in the Special Collections at the Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries, Virginia Tech mentions a typescript copy of a 1989 research paper "The Bridge at Tyrone" by Frank Smith, a Shelbyville, Kentucky, resident. The paper by Smith describes the construction in 1889 of a railroad bridge in Tyrone, Kentucky, owned by the Louisville Southern Railroad. Ms90-006.

The Special Collections at the University of Missouri-St Louis Mercantile library mentions Young's High Bridge in two articles in Waterways Journal (Aug 28,1897 p.3 and Mar 18,1899 p.4) It may just be a place name mentioned in an article, but who knows?

Other resources:

  • The Blue Grass Railroad Museum has a nice page on Young's High Bridge and also a nice collection of pictures and information about the bridge which may be viewed in the Museum's display car.
  • The Kentucky Rails To Trails Council suggests the abandoned line, including the bridge, would make a beautiful rail-trail. They call it the Wild Turkey trail and have pictures of the bridge and the trail.