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'Trolls' Nest Happily on their Bridge

Friday, May 8, 2015

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URSA, IL—An old, out-of-use railroad bridge in a small Illinois town has become a cozy home for one couple.

Tom and Janelle Shaffer bought the old bridge in Ursa, IL, and decided to build their house on top of it.

train bridge house
Photos: HGTV

"We kind of get teased because it is just 16 foot wide and it's 88 feet long. So instead of living in a double-wide trailer, people tease us that we live in a double-long trailer," Tom Shaffer says.

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad starting running across Ursa Creek in 1919. The two concrete piers, which carried a train twice each day, are now the foundation for the Shaffers' house.

"We've been accused of being trolls," Janelle laughingly says in a video tour with HGTV.

'Double-Long' Trailer

The house spans the creek below, and the Shaffers make the most of its length, since its width is quite narrow.

"We kind of get teased because it is just 16 foot wide and it's 88 feet long. So instead of living in a double-wide trailer, people tease us that we live in a double-long trailer," Tom says. 

The house's stone fireplace was assembled by hand with rocks taken from the creek.

The two-story house features a spiral staircase leading up to a master bedroom and a catwalk that goes to anursery.

The first floor has a kitchen, game room and living room with a stone fireplace built out of rocks taken from the creek and assembled by hand. 

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Rail; Recycled building materials

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