For this Monochrome Madness I went to a park in the triangle of three towns in our neighborhood: Wuppertal, Remscheid and Solingen. Leanne Cole asked us for bridges for this challenge. The park is called “Brückenpark” (bridge park). I wasn’t in that park for a few years, because it is quite small. It’s located in the valley of the river Wupper. I showed some photos taken there in a past post. And proposed to discover a not so hidden secret 🙂
This is the proposed secret: a huge iron railroad bridge crossing the valley 107 meters above the river. The bridge was built more than 100 years ago by using the same technique, that was used for the Eiffeltower in Paris and the Wuppertal Schwebebahn.
The next few paragraphs are an excerpt from the english Wikipedia:
The bridge was a masterpiece of Victorian-era engineering. For its time, it was a highly sophisticated structure. It astonished the local population, many of whom had had little exposure to such state-of-the-art engineering work.
First drafts for a bridge connecting the two cities of Remscheid and Solingen go back as far as 1889. Preparatory work began in 1893, the bridge was finished in 1897.
The six support columns have a maximum height of 69 meters (230 ft). In the middle of the structure, the main arc has a span of 170 meters (560 ft). The overall length of the structure is 465 meters (1,530 ft).
A total of 5,000 tons of steel were used in its construction. 950,000 rivets hold the structure together. During construction, a number of advanced building techniques were used.
Anton von Rieppel (1852 – 31 January 1926), an architect and engineer, was in charge of the project. A memorial plaque at the foot of the bridge reminds one of his efforts.
Originally, the bridge was planned to be single-track. However, high future traffic growth projections led to the redesign as a dual-track bridge. Before its opening, the rail distance between the cities of Remscheid and Solingen was 42 kilometers (26 mi). With a direct connection via the bridge, this distance shrank to 8 kilometers (5.0 mi).
The german Wikipedia has much more details, than the english one.
Since November 2010, the bridge was closed for reconstruction and restoration works. I already was in that park in May 2010, thus I included two old photos. The one with the red S-Bahn (S = schnell = quick/fast, Bahn = train – one of our public short distance people transportation vehicles). The other one shows the complete bridge, but with way lower trees. This time I was in the same place to get a view to the bridge.
For commuters the closed bridge is a huge disaster. To come from one side of the bridge to the other side, they have had to leave the train and use a shuttle bus to the next railway station on the other side. I was told, that has had cost them more than an hour, because the bus has had to go down in narrow serpentines, drive to the closest street bridge and then climb up through narrow serpentines.
The bridge was reopened in December 2014 but closed again in January because of a landslide as a result of heavy rains. I don’t know for sure, if the bridge is already open again. Nevertheless, there are still restoration works ongoing.