Bridges to nowhere: Berlin's cast-iron colonnade

Cast iron 19th century railway bridges over Yorckstrasse, Berlin

No fewer than thirty-two railway bridges span a busy Berlin highway, each lined up in succession to form a 500-metre-long steel canopy supported by a forest of ornate cast-iron columns.

If the sight seems almost surreal, far stranger still is the fact that most of the viaducts have been unused for over half a century.

Undergrowth and vegetation on Yorckstrasse's disused railway bridges
Yorckstrasse Yorckbruecken, Berlin

The so-called Yorckbrücken, or Yorckstrasse bridges, were built between 1883 and 1932, their construction a reflection of the rapid growth of Berlin's pre-war rail network (and in fact, an additional twelve were once part of the ensemble).

Carrying trains to two of the city's busiest stations, as well as a huge complex of freighthouses and goods yards, most of the bridges were rendered obsolete when both stations were destroyed by allied bombing.

Twenty-four have been out of service ever since, their tracks leading nowhere. It's hoped that eventually their rusting remains will form a bridge between the north and south sections of Berlin's newest park, but for now, they constitute one of the city's most extraordinary - and emotive - sights.

View of Yorckbruecken from above

See also:
The ghost trains of Gleisdreieck
A French railway station in Berlin
A unique ceramics store

Railway bridges, Yorckstrasse, 10695 Berlin. (Exit from Yorckstrasse station, and turn right).

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