Young’s High Bridge is a Pratt deck truss bridge that carried the Louisville Southern Railway and Norfolk & Western Railway across the Kentucky River near Tyrone, Kentucky. It is remarkable for its extensive length and height.
Congress approved construction of the bridge across the Kentucky River at Tyrone in 1888. 4 Work began in February 1889 and the first train crossed the bridge on August 21. 1 The substructure work was performed by Hopkins & Company, while steel sourced from the Detroit Bridge & Iron Works Company of Detroit, Michigan. The superstructure was constructed by the Union Bridge Company of Buffalo, New York and Athens, Pennsylvania.
The new bridge was named after William Bennett Henderson Young, then president of the Louisville Southern Railroad. 1 4
The bridge was operated as the Louisville Southern’s Lexington to Lawrenceburg Division, serving industries in Versailles and Lawrenceburg, along with a power plant at Tyrone along the river. 2
On December 27, 1937, the last regularly scheduled passenger train operated across Young’s High Bridge. 1 Freight traffic declined over the years. It dropped considerably after a derailment at the Tyrone Power Station in 1979 that led to the spur’s closure. A runaway locomotive on the steep spur destroyed several coal cars, but no injuries were reported. 2
The Louisville Southern later became part of Norfolk & Western and the line between the east side of Lawrenceburg and Versailles was listed as out-of-service in November 1985. 1
The bridge was notable for having never been strengthened, modified or reconstructed. 1
In 2003, the Tyrone Bridge and Railroad Company, a nonprofit, tried to raise money to preserve the bridge as either a rail-trail or as a westward extension of Bluegrass Railroad Museum’s excursion. 1 4 Immediately to the east of the bridge, the Bluegrass Railroad Museum operated over 5.5 miles of track from milepost 9 at Beasley Road to milepost 3.5 at Young’s High Bridge. 2 The Tyrone Bridge and Railroad Company dissolved in 2011 without much action.
Norfolk Southern Railway, the successor to the Norfolk & Western, donated the bridge to the Young’s High Bridge Historical Society in July 2008. 4
In October 2012, the bridge was purchased by Young’s Bridge Partners for $105,000. 4 It was later in January 2013 announced that the bridge would be used as a base jumping center for Vertigo Bungee, and would be the highest platform bridge jump in North America.
The bridge is used for jumps for four to ten weeks a year by Vertigo Bungee. 4
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]
- Powell, Tim. “Young’s High Bridge, Tyrone, Kentucky.” WorldTimZone. 2006.
- “Track Rehabilitation.” Bluegrass Railroad Museum. 18 Sept. 2007.
- “Young’s High Bridge.” Bluegrass Railroad Museum. 18 Sept. 2007.
- Kocher, Greg. “Old Kentucky River railroad bridge will become bungee-jumping platform.” Herald-Leader [Lexington] 24 Feb. 2013.