You are here

Railroad Swing Bridge

-A A +A
1903. Across the Trinity River, downriver and visible from TX 19 bridge

Once a common feature where a railroad crossed a river, a swing bridge allowed steamboat traffic to pass where riverbanks were too low for a bridge to be built high enough for boat clearance. The bridge, built by the Houston and Great Northern Railroad, is a steel Pratt Truss structure 150 feet in length and cantilevered from a massive pillar in the middle of the river. A giant gear on top of the pillar, which was connected to a motor, rotated the bridge’s arms to clear the river channel for boat traffic. The bridge was operated only two times before it was welded in place in 1925 following a flood. The Trinity River Swing Bridge is the last bridge of this type in Texas still in place.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Railroad Swing Bridge", [Riverside, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 29-29.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.