Rendsburg is a town in Schleswig-Holstein that over the centuries has been under both German and Danish rule, but it has belonged to Germany since 1864. It stands on the Eider river with which the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal, or Kiel Canal, the ship way linking the North Sea with the Baltic, built between 1910 and 1913, follows a parallel course. The completion of the canal enabled the development of port and ship-building facilities in the town.
At Rendsburg the railway line from Flensburg to Padborg, the principal route from Germany into Jutland, crosses the canal on a high-level cantilever bridge, which is also a transporter bridge, carrying road vehicles in a gondola that is suspended from the principal spans. It is known both as the Schwebefahre (hovering ferry) or the Eisenbahnhochbrucke (the high railway bridge). The widest span crossing the canal is of 140 m. It is flanked by two spans each of 77.3 m, and the total length of the bridge is 2486 m. The railway tracks are 42 m high, and the highest points of the towers are 68 m above the ground. The railway descends into the station in the town by loops 2 km long. The bridge was designed by Friedrich Voss, and consumed 17,740 tons of steel, most of which was provided by the Gutehoffnunghütte.