The Wocheiner Railway’s Isonzo Bridge

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Traffic & Transport
Bridges and Tunnels
1900 - 1909
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

With its difficult topographic and geological situation the Wocheiner Railway line was one of the toughest railways built under the Austrian monarchy.

The Wocheiner Railway is perhaps not as famous as the Semmering Railway or the Arlberg Railway.
Along with the Südbahn line it was the second link from the Alps to the seaport at Trieste. The routing frequently had to be altered during construction work, with additional tunnels and bridges built to ensure a safe and reliable service.

One of the most impressive valley crossings along the Wocheiner Railway is the bridge across the Isonzo near the town of Solcano. The main arch with an 85 m span boasted the largest arch opening of any stone railway bridge ever built.

The 1,960 m³ of ashlar rock needed for construction were taken from the Nabresina stone quarries, which in the past had provided the building materials for the palaces of Venice and Rome.

A centring comprising 1,161 m³ of timber was erected so the arch could be built. The large span was such that a central pillar was required for the centring. Its foundation, which had to be removed on completion, was 9 m deep. After the centring was lowered on 8 August 1905, the arch dropped by a mere 6 mm – testimony to the meticulous precision of the construction work.

However, the splendid structure was to be short-lived. During the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo the main arch was blown up by sappers during the retreat of the Austrian troops from Gorizia on the night of 8 and 9 August 1916. In May 1918 a provisional steel bridge based on the Roth-Waagner system was commissioned as a replacement for the stone bridge. The arch was ultimately re-built by the Italian state railways, this time using reinforced concrete with a natural stone cladding.

Inv.Nr. 40042

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