Q: The mighty “Samson of the Cimarron” turns 77 years old this year. What IS the Samson of the Cimarron?
A: A railroad bridge that crosses the Cimarron River in southwest Kansas
The mighty Samson of the Cimarron is a railroad bridge that crosses the Cimarron River in southwest Kansas. Built by the Rock Island Railroad in 1939, the trestle bridge rises 113 feet above the river bed and is 1,269 feet long. After a series of floods washed away a series of railroad bridges built earlier, the company decided to build a bridge to end all bridge-building in the area. This “Samson” of a bridge has now stood its ground for 77 years.
The name Samson, of course, comes from the character found in both Christian and Hebrew traditions. According to the biblical account, Samson was given supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats. In this case, Samson holds trains safely above flooded rivers.
When first built, the bridge was considered a marvel of architectural engineering, with piers and abutments sunk to a depth of 65-feet below the river bed. Located in Seward County, the bridge is easily accessible to the traveling public. It’s in clear view of anyone driving along U.S. Highway 54, between Kismet and Liberal. Near the bridge is a roadside park with bathrooms and picnic tables. Next time you’re in southwest Kansas, pack a lunch and watch trains as they continue to cross this massive bridge.
Click HERE and HERE to see images of the Samson of the Cimarron.