Bukhangang Railroad Bridge
Two bridges hop across the North Han River along the Hangang Bike Path east of Seoul (aerial view).
- The concrete-pillared Yangsu Railroad Bridge (양수철교; map)
- The tan and rust-tinged-trussed Bukhangang Railroad Bridge (북한강철교; map)
At different points in time, both claimed the name “Yangsu Railroad Bridge.”
Let’s browse their histories.
Old Yangsu Railway Bridge
Engineers completed the original Yangsu Railroad Bridge in 1939. For almost 70 years it carried trains along the old Gyeongui-Jungang Line, connecting Neungnae to Yangsu Stations.
The first Yangsu Railroad Bridge lived for only eleven years, however.
North and South Korea tussled for control over the bridge during the Korean War. But the war’s ping-ponging front lines collapsed the bridge twice.
- South Korea demolished Yangsu Railroad Bridge in 1950 to slow the North Korean Army’s rapid advance.
- After it was rebuilt, fighting again leveled the bridge in 1952.
New Yangsu Railway Bridge
The third Yangsu Railway Bridge survived longer than its predecessors. However, in 2008, rail engineers modernized the Gyeongui-Jungang Line by electrifying the trains. The old Yangsu Railway Bridge’s overhead trusses couldn’t accommodate the electric wires and gates.
So the Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) built a modern concrete arch bridge 50 meters upriver. The new bridge’s green gates and overhead wiring carries Gyeongui-Jungang Line’s new electric trains over the South Han River (road view).
But engineers didn’t demolish the old Yangsu Railway Bridge. In 2011, they:
- Reinforced the bridge’s aging supports.
- Tore up its tracks and installed wooden slats.
And gave it a new name: “Bukhangang Railroad Bridge” (North Han River Railroad Bridge; 북한강 철교; map).
Today the old bridge doesn’t carry trains, but cyclists and walkers, who capture and post pics of the bridge’s rustic trusses (road view).
Because of its unique appearance and proximity to Seoul, the Bukhangang Railroad Bridge appears in K-dramas and K-pop music videos.