El Ferdan Railway Bridge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
El Ferdan Railway Bridge
El Ferdan Railway Bridge.jpg
El Ferdan Railway Bridge, the longest swing bridge in the world, runs from the west of the Suez Canal to the east into Sinai, opens most of the time to allow sailing ships to pass in the canal, and closes during passage of trains
Coordinates 30°39′25″N 32°20′02″E / 30.657°N 32.334°E / 30.657; 32.334Coordinates: 30°39′25″N 32°20′02″E / 30.657°N 32.334°E / 30.657; 32.334
Carries2 rail lines
CrossesSuez canal
Width12.6 m (41 ft) [1]
Longest span1,100 feet (340 m)
No. of spans8
Constructed byKrupp
Construction cost$80 million[1]
Opened2001; 19 years ago (2001)

The El Ferdan Railway Bridge is a swing bridge that spans the western shipping lane of the Suez Canal near Ismailia, Egypt. It is the longest swing bridge in the world, with a span of 1,100 feet (340 m).[2]

The bridge is no longer functional due to the expansion of the Suez Canal, as the parallel shipping lane completed in 2015 just east of the bridge lacks a structure spanning it.


The first El Ferdan Railway Bridge over the Suez Canal was completed in April 1918 for the Palestine Military Railway.[3] It was considered a hindrance to shipping so after the First World War it was removed.[3] A steel swing bridge was built in 1942 (during the Second World War), but this was damaged by a steamship and removed in 1947.[3] A double swing bridge was completed in 1954 but the 1956 Anglo-Franco-Israeli war with Egypt severed rail traffic across the canal for a third time.[3] A replacement bridge was completed in 1963[2] which was destroyed in 1967 in the Six-Day War by the Egyptian engineering General Ahmed Hamdy.

In July 1996, a consortium led by German Krupp was awarded a $US70 million contract to design and build the bridge, raised to $80 million to increase the main span from 320 to 340 m (1,050 to 1,120 ft).[1] The current bridge was constructed in 2001.[2]

Significant developments in the region[edit]

The El Ferdan Railway Bridge was part of a major drive to develop the areas surrounding the Suez Canal, including other projects such as the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel under the Suez Canal (completed in 1983), the Suez Canal overhead powerline crossing, and the Suez Canal Bridge (completed in 2001, roughly 12 miles north of the El Ferdan Railway Bridge).

The bridge today[edit]

The parallel New Suez Canal was excavated in 2014/2015 a short distance to the east but without a bridge spanning it.[4] Without a second bridge, the railway across El Ferdan bridge is a dead end.

Instead of the bridge, a new railway tunnel in the Ismailia region (and another near Port Said) is planned in order to reconnect the Sinai to the rest of Egypt’s rail network.


  1. ^ a b c Michael J. Abrahams (November 8–10, 2000). "Suez Canal Bridge at El Ferdan" (PDF). Eighth biennial symposium - Heavy Movable Structures.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  2. ^ a b c "El Ferdan Swing Bridge". Structurae. Nicolas Janberg Internet Content Services. 1998–2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
  3. ^ a b c d Hughes, 1981, page 17
  4. ^ Videos of the inauguration can be seen on various media and this bridge doesn't appear.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°39′25″N 32°20′2″E / 30.65694°N 32.33389°E / 30.65694; 32.33389 (El Ferdan Railway Bridge)