Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bridges of Lyon, France: Viaduc SNCF across the Rhone River

September 2016 (45.7865 Degrees, 4.8598 Degrees) Viaduc SNCF
Readers tired of California bridges will be happy to learn that I just returned from a trip to Lyon, France where I took many bridge photos. Lyon is an interesting city that sits on two hills (Fourviere and Croix-Rousse) with two rivers (the Saone and the Rhone) flowing between them. It was one of the most important cities of ancient Rome (called Lugdunum) and still has Roman aqueducts, theaters, and other ancient artifacts around Fourviere, which is a UNICEF World Heritage Site.

We'll begin our survey with a railroad bridge at the northern border of Lyon. The Viaduc SNCF crosses the Rhone a few meters downstream from the Pont Raymond Poincare, which is barely visible behind it. SNCF stands for Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais, or the French National Railway which manages French railroads including freight trains, passenger trains, and the TGV, France's High Speed Rail Network.

The Viaduc SNCF is a long bridge that includes five reinforced concrete spans across the river. It was built as a cast iron bridge in 1856 and damaged by the Germans as they retreated from France in 1944 (see photo below). It was rebuilt as a reinforced concrete bridge in 1946. The piers look similar on the old and new bridges, which makes me wonder if they built the new bridge on the old piers? However the wide caissons are not visible in the photo below, which suggests the rebuilt bridge has new piers. I wonder if the wide caissons, squat piers, and haunched girders impede the river's flow at flood stage? I noticed uprooted trees lying on the caissons of several bridges across the Rhone. Apparently the Rhone can be a ferocious river when the snowmelt begins in the Alps.
I was unprepared while getting a ride to the airport to suddenly find myself approaching the same bridges south of the river (see photos below). I barely had time to grab my camera and shoot a few photos before we drove past. Despite the limitations of these photos, I'm including them because they give us a different perspective on these long bridges.
The Viaduc SNCF carries overhead lines, which power the trains and are present on all the railroad bridges I photographed in Lyon. The Viaduc SNCF even has architectural features on the edge girders to support the electroliers (top photo).
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

1 comment:

walterworld said...

Nice! But when can we get back to California? :D