Nami-Ti Railway Bridge
Nami-Ti Railway Bridge
Wujiazhai Railway Bridge
Wantangxiang, Yunnan, China
335 feet high / 102 meters high
180 foot span / 55 meter span
One of the most famous railway bridges ever built in China, the 1909-built Nami-Ti Gorge Railway bridge was also China’s highest bridge for decades. One of the most difficult railway engineering projects of its time, construction began on the 289 mile (465 km) Kunming to Vietnam line in January of 1904 and continued for 6 years. Originally proposed by both the French and the British, the extreme topography eventually led the British to bow out. The French Yunnan-Vietnam Railway Construction Company recruited more than 60,000 Chinese laborers as well as 3,000 French, American, British, Italian and Canadian engineers. When it was all completed, 107 permanent bridges and 155 tunnels were built.
The Nami-Ti or ‘Wishbone’ bridge was the most spectacular of all, crossing high above the Sicha River in Yunnan’s rough Nanxi River valley region. The spectacular single span bridge leaps across a short gap between two tunnels. Supported by an odd looking 180 foot (55 mtr) 3-hinged arch, the French designed bridge consists of two triangular shaped trusses that were constructed on either side of the gorge above their respective hinges and then lowered down until they could rest on each other nearly 335 feet (102 mtrs) above the river. Located at kilometer 111, the bridge is still in use after 100 years. Locals often refer to it as the inverted ‘V’ bridge or the Wujiazhai bridge after the nearby town. There are many more photos and engineering drawings of the bridge as well as a detailed history of the entire line at the Kunming Railway Museum in downtown Kunming.
With the possible exception of Canada’s Pashleth Creek bridge, the Nami-Ti is probably the most difficult to reach of all of the world’s 100+ meter high bridges. After arriving in Yunnan Province’s capital city of Kunming, you must take a bus or taxi to Pingbian County where the bridge is located in North Wantang township between Boduqing and Luogu stations. The bridge is a 20 minute walk from the small village of Moshi Zhai. In addition to viewing the bridge from below there is a tunnel that goes up to the line where you can then walk out on the bridge. You may want to go with a regional guide. Good Luck!
Nami-Ti Railway Bridge location.
Rough outline of rail line path and Nami-Ti Gorge Railway Bridge.