Schipluiden tram bridge - Hollandia

Schipluiden tram bridge

The tram bridge over the Vlaardingervaart waterway near the town of Schipluiden was initially used by the steam trams of the former Westland Steam Tram Company (Westlandse Stoomtram Maatschappij, or WSM), which transported vegetables from the Westland area to the city of Delft. The steel construction was also completely restored by Hollandia and the old deck replaced by a steel deck with a length of approximately 62 meters.

Iron truss bridge

The distinct iron truss arch bridge was built at Werkspoor between 1910 and 1912 for the tram line connecting Delft, Schipluiden, and Maassluis. The bridge was first assembled on Werkspoor’s yard to enable the WSM board to inspect and approve it. It was subsequent dismantled and shipped to its intended location in several pieces. In 1917, it turned out that the bridge, due to its weight and the weak subsoil, had subsided somewhat. The W. Bijker company from Utrecht (Oudenrijn) was brought in to prop up the bridge, raising it 25cm and moving it 11cm to the east. Spacers were inserted for the height difference between the supports.

New destination

In 1968, the WSM tram line went out of business. The bridge was repurposed as a cycle bridge in 1974 and has since been an important part of various cycle routes across the Midden-Delfland region. In 2019, the bridge underwent major maintenance work. Rusty and broken parts were repaired and the bridge was painted. Given that this bridge had initially been assembled using rivets and the bridge is a listed structure, repairs also had to be performed with rivets. Nowadays, rivets are rarely used for repairs and building work.

Major facelift

The distinctive tram bridge in Schipluiden received a major facelift in October 2019. This drastic renovation included replacement of two thousand rivets. The old steel structure was also repaired in its entirety, while the old bridge deck was replaced by a steel deck of approx. 62 metres in length.