Lecrín Valley History. A Tale of Two Bridges
The History of the Tin Bridge – Puente de Lata
Time for a little bit of Lecrín Valley history, about the Puente de Lata or Tin Bridge? Why a railway bridge built in the north of Granada ended up in Durcal.
In 1890, as part of the Baza-Guadix railway line, the company projected a bridge to cross the deep River Gor valley. Signed by the lawyer Neil Kennedy and possibly designed by mechanical engineer James Livesey, the bridge had to span the 250 metres of the River Gor Gorge. However, soon after the project was abandoned.
In 1904, a new team took over, designing what would be the first cantilever bridge in Spain. As Gor is situated north of Granada on flat, unstable land, the bridge had to be built in iron as opposed to stone. A disciple of Gustave Eiffel designed the metal structure, and it was built in the Leccog workshop in Belgium. Even so, this did not solve the problem of the instability of the land. The bridge underwent several attempts at improvement and despite the danger was in use from 1906 to 1912, being the only means of crossing the River Gor. To avoid accidents, travellers had to get off the train on arrival at the bridge and walk across in front of the locomotive!
How the Tin Bridge Came to Be in the Lecrín Valley
In 1920, the Sociedad Anónima de Tranvías Eléctricos de Granada started building electrified tracks for trams from Granada to Motríl. This required crossing the River Dúrcal, so the company decided to buy the Gor bridge and transport it to Dúrcal. No small feat, which they entrusted to the German company Dormunde Union, who dismounted the bridge and installed it in its present position in 1923. The trams from Granada via Padul were in use with no incidents until 1973. The Tin Bridge, as it’s commonly known, is 200 metres long by 53 m high and 4,80 m wide.
Originally the plan was to continue this tram line down to the port of Motríl but the extremely difficult terrain made this impossible. Instead, the company constructed a cable car from Dúrcal to Motril to transport goods. Inaugurated in 1926, the cable car had a varied existence, including several accidents involving the cars themselves plummeting to the ground. In 1953 this “Air Railway” closed.
The Tin Bridge Today
Recently restored, the Tin Bridge is a well known and loved landmark in the Lecrín Valley. No longer used for any vehicles, except for bicycles and baby buggies, it’s a favourite spot for an afternoon stroll from the village.
Durcal boasts five bridges, each marking a different era in the towns history. Stand on the Tin Bridge and you can see three of them. The old Stone Bridge, crossing the river below, beyond that the bridge built over the N.323a and, looking downstream, the viaduct over the A44 motorway. The fifth is the Roman Bridge, although it is probably medieval.
To see this ancient bridge, walk down to the river, from under the Tin Bridge, and along its banks, through gorgeous woodland… A walk well worth taking.
Durcal is just 15 minutes’ drive from Restábal. To get to the bridge you can either park at the entrance to Durcal, coming from Restábal, and walk straight down the main street until the end of the town. Or drive down and park at the bottom, you’ll see the bridge on your left-hand side.
Published by Susan at Casa Tagomago