Müngsten Bridge

As you might expect this monument is surrounded by plenty of legends. The most popular of these goes as follows: one day before the first trial journey the head architect, Anton von Rieppel, toppled into the River Wupper from the top of his masterpiece for fear that the whole construction might collapse with a thunderous roar. Another legend claims that, amongst the total amount of 934,456 rivets holding the gigantic steel construction together, there is one rivet made of pure gold. By now railway lovers at least will have guessed the name of this monument: the Müngsten viaduct. With the same elegance with which the Eiffel tower rises into the heavens above Paris this graceful steel construction seems to bestride the 465 metre broad Wupper valley below with ease. Today the 107 metre high Mungsten viaduct is still the highest railway bridge in Germany. And this, despite the fact that it is now over 100 years old. On 22nd March 1897 thousands of curious onlookers gathered to witness the opening celebrations. From now on the neighbouring industrial towns of Solingen and Remscheid were directly linked. This was particularly good news for goods traffic for trains had previously been forced to make a 44 kilometre detour via the Wuppertal suburbs of Barmen in the East and Elberfeld in the centre because of the impossibility of bridging the Wupper. Progress had its price. For the cost of building the viaduct was almost five million Marks. In those days it was also a very heavy technical challenge not only on account of the length of the bridge but also because of its vertiginous height. Anton von Rieppel solved the problems in a masterly manner thereby writing a new chapter in the annals of architecture. His alleged suicide is thankfully a complete myth. As for the riddle of the golden rivet, a train-lover from Remscheid claims to be a little bit nearer the solution. According to him the precious rivet was used to attach a commemorative plaque to the arch of the bridge in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm I. But is it still there? Or might it have been exchanged long ago by one of the many railway maintenance teams responsible for keeping it in good running order? For trains still travel regularly over the Müngsten viaduct. The nearest stations are Güldenwerth in Remscheid and Schaberg on the Solingen side. The short stretch of line between the two represents a milestone of European industrial history.

Müngsten Bridge
Müngstener Brückenweg
42659 Solingen