Fire destroys Genesee & Wyoming rail bridge across Colorado River

Written by RT&S Staff
rail bridge
Genesee & Wyoming

A rail bridge was almost reduced to ashes and crews are now in the process of building a replacement. The span went over the Colorado River and was owned by the Arizona & California Railroad, which Genesee & Wyoming is a parent company. The southern end of the bridge caught on fire on Sept. 14, and there were still hot spots as late as the afternoon of Sept. 15.

Fire officials do not know the cause of the blaze, but Buckskin Fire Chief Troy Maloney says it started below the bridge. Genesee & Wyoming is saying it will take about two weeks to replace the bridge, but the estimate could change depending on damage assessment. G&W is now working on routing traffic east where all rail customers are located.

The bridge deck and pilings were all burned, as well as vegetation along the banks of the Colorado River. Railroad ties were removed to keep the fire from spreading. Chainsaws were used for the removal to create the fire break. The fire did spread to sections that could not be reached by firefighters.

The bridge was first opened in 1908 and was part of the original Arizona & California Railway. Santa Fe needed an operations center for the line, and determined the best place was where the line crossed the Colorado River in the middle of the Colorado River Indian Reservation. The operations center helped form the town of Parker, Ariz.

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