Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bridges of Lyon, France: SNCF Viaducts West of Lyon

September 2016 (45.7437, 4.7661) SNCF Viaducts
The National Railway (SNCF) is an important means of transportation in France. In the Google earth photo below we can see several railway lines (in black) all converging at Perrache Station in Lyon.
The tracks switch from at-grade crossings to viaducts in the hills west of Lyon. I tried to find a location where I could photograph a long viaduct but without much success. The heavy vegetation around Francheville meant that I could only glimpse segments of the viaduct that go over the roads.
These viaducts are reinforced concrete arches covered in brick to resemble the nearby Roman Aqueducts and include details such as the imposts (the protrusions around the piers) where the formwork for the arches sit.
I couldn't find any information on these railroad viaducts. I wonder if they are earth-filled closed spandrel arches? They look like structures built at the beginning of the 20th century. Railroad viaducts in the U.S. might be timber or steel trestles but in France it's apparently more economical to build brick-covered arches.
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bridges of Lyon, France: Views from Fourvier Hill

September 2016 Views from Fourvier Hill
Here are a couple of final photos of the Saone and Rhone Rivers. As I've mentioned before, the City of Lyon is on two hills with two rivers lying between them. In the photo above, I'm standing on Fourvier Hill above the Saone River and we can just see the previously studied Passerelle du Palais de Justice below. Also note that Lyon only has three or four skyscrapers.
In the photo above, I'm further south on Fourvier Hill looking down at Pont Pasteur and Passerelle de la Paix by the confluence of the Saone and the Rhone. In the distance we see the beginning of the Alps. On the other side of Fouvier Hill (behind me) is the Massif Central (an extinct volcano range) making Lyon a low area of rivers, roads, and rails.

Most of the river crossings in Lyon were destroyed by the retreating German Army while no bridges in Paris were destroyed (General Choltitz reportedly disobeyed an order to destroy Paris before the Allies entered the city).  Only three bridges across the Saone survived WWII intact (the Viaduc Saint Irenee, the Passerelle Saint Vincent Bridge, and the Passerelle de l'Homme de la Roche (which was defended by resistance fighters).
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bridges of Lyon, France: Passerelle Saint Vincent across the Saone River

September 2016 (45° 46' 2.97" N    4° 49' 40.31" E) Passerelle Saint Vincent
The last bridge that I photographed across the Saone was the Passerelle Saint Vincent, which was built in 1832. It had been scheduled for demolition by the retreating German Army but they accidentally destroyed the charges while blowing up another bridge and so it was spared. The last time it was damaged and repaired was in 1840, making it the oldest river crossing in Lyon.

It connects the Quai Pierre Scize to the Quai Saint Vincent and allows pedestrians to go from the Saint Paul District to the Saint Vincent District (and between the two churches). The bridge is at a sharp bend in the Saone which is particularly narrow at this location.The bridge is 76.5 meters (250 ft) long and 2.8 (9 ft) wide suspension bridge supported by twin stone towers at each bank.

I didn't have time to photograph the last six bridges across the Saone. These include the Passerelle de l'Homme de la Roche (Man in the Rock), Pont Koenig, Pont Clemenceau, Passerelle Masaryk, Pont Schuman, and Ile Barbe. Readers interested in learning more about all of these bridges can refer to the Wikipedia website (in poorly translated English).
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