New bridge improves Twin Cities railfan hot spot

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The new viewing platform incorporates pieces from the old St. Anthony Parkway Bridge.
Steve Glischinski
MINNEAPOLIS – In North Minneapolis, a new viewing plaza offers a view of the south end of BNSF Railway’s Northtown Yard and the main line that skirts the west side of the facility.

When the new St. Anthony Parkway Bridge was constructed and opened in 2017, the designers included a viewing plaza on the southwest corner of the new structure at the intersection of California Street and St. Anthony Parkway. The concrete plaza includes wood benches, interpretive signage, and several steel trusses from the original bridge, which was built by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1925.

Looking south the plaza offers an unobstructed view of Northtown’s Transfer Yard and the main line that passes by. Through BNSF trains coming to Northtown for crew changes, Amtrak’s Empire Builder and Northstar commuter trains, and Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific trains to Superior, Wis., use the main line. Photography is best on summer afternoons and evenings.

In addition to the plaza, the new St. Anthony Parkway Bridge has sidewalks on both sides and fences that camera lenses can fit through, allowing visitors to safely observe and photograph the action.

To learn about more popular train-watching locations, pick up our new Hot Spots special issue, available in early 2018.
A Northstar commuter train rolls south toward Minneapolis in this view from the new plaza.
Hoyt Drayer
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