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Report - Red Iron bridge - Waterford, Ireland - August 2014

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by MJ-XX, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. MJ-XX

    MJ-XX 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Aug 4, 2014
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    Background & History

    This bridge was part of the old Rosslare to Cork via Waterford City line which was proposed by Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Company in 1892 to connect Rosslare port with the South West of the country. The line reached Waterford North station in 1904 and the bridge was then constructed in 1906 by William Arroll & Co of Glasgow to link up with the Rosslare line.

    The bridge was one of the longest in Ireland at the time at 1203ft long, and consisted of 9 spans, of which the centre span lifted to allow shipping traffic up the River Suir to County Tipperary. On top of the bridge at the north of the centre span there was a control cabin, with 2 smaller cabins at track level containing the engines that powered the hinged lifting process.

    The line was in use to passenger trains up until services were haulted in 1960, but it briefly opened again between 1970 until 1987 for freight traffic. It remained dormant until 1995 when the entire Waterford - Cork line was officially shut down and the bridge abandoned.

    Sometimes between 1996 and early 2000's the centre span of the bridge was removed to allow larger cargo ships up the river, the centre span still remains stored beside Waterford Rail Yard a few hundred meters away.
    Reports are conflicting, some say it was removed in 95, others say 96, 08, 01 and 03. But as a child growing up in Waterford I never recall seeing the bridge with the centre span still in place, so I'm willing to bet it was infact 1996.

    Despite the bridge originally being painted a silver, its decayed and been abandoned for so long its now rusted entirely and is colloquially referred to as "The Red Iron Bridge".

    The Journey

    Similarly to my last report, I also explored here alone. The bridge is very easily accessible if you're willing to tresspass on the active railway line for a short 1 minute walk. Beware though, trains pass through approximately once every 30-40 minutes.

    The route and bridge are quite clearly indicated on google earth so there's no major obstacles.

    I visited in the evening time, a nearby garage was still open with people working but they didnt seem too interested in the fact that I walked onto the railway line. Its a pretty quiet area.

    The old railway track is now removed but it used to branch off left from the Waterford - Dublin line. Now a gravel trail just remains. Its about a 5 minute walk.

    0. Entrance to the railway line. Plenty of abandoned things here! I may be paying a visit to these some day in the near future.


    1. You can see the old line braching off. Just follow this trail.


    2. A shot from beside the bridge


    3. The bridge is protected by iron fencing on each end, but one of the bars is removed allowing you to easily squeeze through if you're skinny enough.


    4. Heavily rusting away


    5. Some sort of light fixture. Perhaps a gas lamp? I can't quite tell.


    As mentioned, the bridge is very decayed, and there's holes everywhere. I had to take extra care when walking along it, as there's large gaps between each beam. Several parts of the bridge had loose metal and track which creaked and shook if stood on, but over all it seemed sturdy enough to hold.
    Its also a bit slippy, and all the rust makes for sharp edges and it destroys everything you touch. Bring good gloves and shoes.





    I took my time walking out, it was quite windy. Upon reaching the far span, there is another large iron fence preventing you from getting near the edge. I had to clumb this one which was fairly easy, just be careful not to slip or else its a certain death. The river suir below is one of the fastest and deepest rivers in Ireland. Its well known locally that if you fall in, you dont come back out unless you're wearing a life jacket. You can see the speed of the current and whirlpools as you walk across below. I reckon its a 30ft drop or so.

    The control cabin I mentioned earlier is located here too. There is a badly rusted lader leading up to it, and while its surrounded by a wire cage, there is nothing to prevent you from falling forward, if any of the beams were to give way. The cabin above looked badly damaged too, the flooring had multiple holes in it. I considered climbing up but it just seemed to risky.

    It was at this stage a group of jet skiers came up the river and started racing around the bridge. They seemed surprised at my presence (as was I at theirs), and spent a good while checking me out. I was nervous they would call the local river rescue (The river suir is a popular suicide spot), and I tried to make it as obvious as possible that I was just taking photo's.

    One of them even climbed onto the bridge to dive off. I nodded and waved, as did he and we carried on our own seperate ways.

    8. The floor at the foot of the ladder


    9. Looking up at the control cabin. Flimsy ladder.


    10. The decayed flooring


    I did however manage to get a nice look inside the track level cabins or huts. This is where the engines were stored to power the lifting process. The floor inside these was also flimsy so I didnt venture very far in. I dont know what kind of engines these are, but if anybody knows I would appreciate your input.

    11. Engine Hut


    12. Engine inside


    13. Same engine, other hut.








    17. Towards the removed span


    18. Other side of the bridge, which I visit later.


    19. Looking back at fence and huts.


    20. The view looking north towards the newly erected n25 bypass cable span bridge


    After this I made my way back, and drove around to the other side of the river. Just to check it out. There isnt anything special on this side, but it gave me a nice view of where I just came from.

    21. View from the other edge.


    22. The remains of the removed centre span.


    23. Another view from up the river


    24. Noticed this written on the track. Whatever it means.



    As I was only 2 minutes down the road from the N25 bypass, I took a spin up to check out beneath that bridge. There's nothing here but its cool to look at.




    #1 MJ-XX, Aug 15, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014

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  2. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
    Regular User

    Oct 14, 2012
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    Re: Red Iron bridge - Waterford, Ireland - July 2014

    Thats a good report, very comprehensive
  3. Bugsuperstar

    Bugsuperstar Irresponsible & Reckless
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    Mar 10, 2009
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    Re: Red Iron bridge - Waterford, Ireland - July 2014

    I really enjoyed that. Thanks.
  4. 1nk4

    1nk4 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    May 25, 2014
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    Re: Red Iron bridge - Waterford, Ireland - July 2014

    thanks for sharing :)
  5. The Stig

    The Stig Urbex = Nosey Bastard
    Regular User

    Aug 13, 2008
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    Good stuff there :thumb
  6. Longhairshitjob

    Longhairshitjob 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 11, 2013
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    Great report on both the quality bridges. Nice.,
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