Viaur Railway Bridge

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Viaur Railway Bridge
Viaduc du Viaur
Tanus, Tarn, France
383 feet high / 117 meters high
721 foot span / 220 meter span


Image by Bob Cortright.

One of the highest railway bridges in the world upon its opening in 1902, the Viaur Viaduct is also one of France’s greatest triumphs of bridge engineering. Although it looks like an arch, the Viaur railway bridge is actually two balanced cantilevers joined in the middle by a hinge. A true arch effect only occurs when a train is going across the central span of the bridge. The innovative design allows the bridge members to expand and contract from temperature as well as weight changes without straining the arch structure as a whole. The main span of 722 feet (220 mtrs) was the longest on a French railway bridge at the time. The height of 383 feet (116.8 mtrs) was second to Eiffel’s Garabit Viaduct. A few years later, the Fades Viaduct would push Viaur into 3rd place among high French railway bridges.


image by Daviddb.


image by Daviddb.


Viaur Railway Bridge postcard.


Viaur Railway Bridge postcard.


Viaur Viaduct satellite image showing the highway bridge on the left and the railway bridge on the right.

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