Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei

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Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei
Qiubei, Yunnan, China
860 feet high / 262 meters high
1,365 foot span / 416 meter span


The giant Nanpanjiang River railway arch is the crown jewel of bridges on the 710 kilometer high speed railway line between Kunming and Nanning. The main span of 416 meters ranks 3rd among all the world's concrete arches. Located west of Qiubei city, the Nanpanjiang has always been Yunnan's second greatest river after the Jinshajiang (Yangtze River) and represented a formidable challenge to the bridge engineers.

Designed to carry trains that reach speeds of 250 kilometers an hour, the 852 meter long crossing has a main arch with a rise of 99 meters and a rise to span ratio of 4.2. The arch ring cross section has three cells within a single-box with equal depth of 8.5 meters and a variable width of 18 to 28 meters. The width of the arch at the springing is 28 meters while the width of the arch at the crown is 18 meters. Double-column framed piers are used for supporting the deck. The piers rise 102 meters at the abutments with the tallest spandrel column on the arch rising 58 meters. Steel tubular trusses filled with concrete were used as a skeleton during construction before it was encased in concrete. The stay cables placed at the abutment pier were post-tensioned step by step during the concrete-pouring to assist the skeleton in load carrying.

The approach bridges are 3x42 meters plus a continuous rigid frame beam 60+104+60 meters + 4x39.5 meters + 4x39.5m prestressed concrete continuous beams plus a 2x60 meter T-type rigid frame structure and a 1x42 meter simply supported beam. The dual line width of unballasted track is 4.6 meters wide and crosses 220 meters above the full reservoir level below or 262 meters above the original level of the Nanpanjiang River.

The deformation of the arch ring increased gradually as the volume of arch ring concrete increased during the construction process. The maximum deflection was designed to be 355mm after pouring of the arch ring concrete was completed and 422mm after the additional dead load was placed. Because live load accounts for a small proportion of dead load, precamber of the arch ring is designed based on the deformation caused by dead load. At the arch crown, the precamber of 400mm is set, while the cambers of other parts of the arch ring are distributed by quadratic parabola. Under the standard railway live load, the maximum upward vertical deflection is 37.9mm which occurs at the quarter-span section and the maximum downward vertical deflection is 47.5mm which also occurs at the quarter-span section. Under the lateral wind load, the maximum lateral displacement is 44.6mm which occurs at the mid-span section.

The bridge is located at kilometer 600 and cost 400 million Yuan or 60 million dollars. The Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge is a sister bridge to the slightly larger Beipanjiang Railway Bridge near Qujing, Guizhou as they were both designed by the same engineering teams with similar designs and construction methods. The Beipanjiang Bridge is the world's longest concrete arch bridge at 445 meters as well as the world's highest railway bridge at 283 meters.

Click on the excellent YouTube channel "Chinese Bridge" to see a video of the Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge.


Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei Elevation





Image by Eric Sakowski /

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Image by Peter Wu.


Image by Eric Sakowski /


Image by Eric Sakowski /


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Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei abutment diagrams.




Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei model.



Access road shed to protect drivers from rock slides.

Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei computer drawing.


Map of 710 kilometer Kunming-Nanning Railway line.




Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei construction sequence.



Nanpanjiang Railway Bridge Qiubei pier diagram.


Nanpanjiang River Railway Bridge satellite image.



Nanpanjiang River Railway Bridge location map.

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