It was an impressive sight: a train crossing the Zuid – Willems canal via this railway bridge. Everything came together here: cars, ships, trains. In 2005 this happened for the last time. Then the farewell trips of the Duits Lijntje between Boxtel and Veghel took place. In 2014 the canal was widened and the bridge had to make room. Volunteers of the Industrial Heritage Foundation Meierijstad, also called SIEMei, took care of the lift bridge and relocated it here in 2021.
Cars, ships, trains
The electrical lift bridge was placed across the Zuid – Willems canal in 1961. It took the place of a manually controlled railway bridge. Usually the bridge was up, so ships could pass. Oncoming freight trains used to stop just before the canal. On board they had a yard man who had the key to the bridge. He lowered the movable part of the bridge. The signal lights turned red then. This way the boatmen knew the bridge was closed for them. The yard man also operated the crossing barriers of the adjacent motorway. After the train had passed the bridge, the movable part would go up again and the crossing barriers would open. Cars and ships could continue their journey.
The bridge weighs over 50,000 kilograms. Taking it apart, transporting it and rebuilding it was a tough job. The bridge has been reconnected to the railway line and the lifting mechanism still works. The 4 counterweights are connected to the movable centre piece with steal cables and wheels. On both sides of the bridge a quay wall has been built. For this wall granite blocks were used, the same ones that had already been used near the first railway bridge in 1873.
If you want to know more about SIEMei? Go to www.SIEMei.nl