A ruined and collapsed section of the damaged ‘Friesenbrücke’ rail bridge was removed over the weekend
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Ever wondered why you need to get a bus to Germany in order to reach Bremen, Hamburg, or beyond by train? The answer is slowly disappearing into the mists of the past, but the Friesenbrücke used to allow direct train connections to Germany until 2015, when a ship called the ‘Triton’ accidentally rammed it, causing it to collapse.
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, after six years the Friesenbrücke is still not fixed. With another bridge (the Gerrit Krolbrug) in Groningen also having been accidentally rammed by a boat on Saturday, the first signs of repairs on the bridge to Germany appeared over the weekend. However, it is still likely that the bridge in Groningen will be replaced or fixed before connections to Germany are restored (which will reportedly take until 2024).
Apparently, in 1951, the 300-metre long steel bridge only took a year to construct from scratch, and perhaps one reason for the delay to reconnecting the North with Germany by train is the number of organisations with conflicting views about how to replace the stricken bridge. The Deutsche Bahn rail service has said that it wants to replace the bridge like-for-like, however the luxury yacht and ship builder Meyerwerf in Papenburg would prefer a bridge with a section that can be raised (could they pay for it, then?).
In any case, it is likely that a new bridge will begin to rise from the mud in 2022, to be complete by 2024; but reports in Germany suggest that 2030 might be a more realistic proposition. This would mean that the ‘temporary’ rail replacement bus could be in service for 15 years.