Asopos 1943 Viaduct

Jump to navigationJump to search

Asopos 1943 Viaduct
Eleftherochori, Central Greece, Greece
(230) feet high / (70) meters high
(230) foot span / (70) meter span


Image by Nikos Kantirisn.

The highest railway bridge in Greece, the original Asopos Viaduct was a 3-hinged truss-arch that crossed a deep chasm on the line between Salonika and Athens. Similar to the Nami-Ti bridge in China, the inclined truss struts of the main span support a series of smaller lattice spans. Both bridges were French designs.

A strategic bridge during World War II, a team of British guerillas was sent up the gorge to see if they could successfully take out the arch. With a narrow river locked between sheer cliffs, freezing water and several waterfalls to rappel up, they realized it would take days to reach the bridge. After an exhaustive hike with several men doing reconnaissance and others carrying hundreds of feet of rope, grappling equipment and explosives, several of the men finally made it to the bridge. Due to a reinforcement project that had been underway, the span had scaffolding and ladders on it that would aid their access. On the night of the attack, several German guards were up on the bridge keeping watch with many more nearby. Searchlights were always sweeping the gorge. After 2 hours, the men had set the charges without being seen and headed back into the canyon. The charges were set to go off after an hour and a half but nothing happened. Then after an hour and fifty-five minutes, there was a bright flash. Their distance combined with the loud stream made them unsure of what had occurred. The next morning, a man who had staked out a position on a cliff above the bridge told them the news - there is an empty space where the bridge used to be.

The demolition of the Asopos viaduct was one of the more successful feats of sabotage in the war. Saboteurs were also successful in destroying several spans on the nearby Gorgopotamos Viaduct. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and some private contractors eventually reconstructed both bridges.

AsoposPic copy.jpg

The original 1908 Asopos Viaduct.

2AsoposJohnny the Mountaineer.jpg

The 1943 truss was built on a new alignment upstream from the site of the original 1908 viaduct. Image by Johnny the Mountaineer.

3AsoposJohnny the Mountaineer2.jpg

Image by Johnny the Mountaineer.

4AsoposJohnny the Mountaineer3.jpg

Image by Johnny the Mountaineer.


Image by Nikos Kantirisn.


Asopos Viaduct satellite image.


Asopos Railway Viaduct location map.