The first Michigan Central Railway Bridge was located just South of the Whirlpool Bridge and was built for rail traffic only.
The Michigan Central Railway Bridge was the dream of owner/businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt needed a rail link between Canada and the USA, but was not prepared to pay the high rental price which the owners of the Lower Arch Bridge were asking for in lieu of using their bridge.
Mr. Vanderbilt owned the Michigan Central Railway and had controlling interest in the Canadian Southern Railway. In lieu of paying rent, he decided to build a new bridge. Vanderbilt formed the Niagara River Bridge Company and received a charter to build a new bridge.
From old bridge plaque:
Niagara River Bridge Company
Cornelius Vanderbilt, President
James Tillingham, Vice-President
Central Bridge Works, Buffalo
Geo. S. Fields, Manager
C.V. W. Kitridge, Treasurer
Edmond Hayes, Engineer
Length of Bridge 906 feet
Work commenced April 15th, 1883
Completed December 1st, 1883
A new bridge was built in 1925.
Now owned by CP and CN