Victoria Bridge, Kuala Kangsar

Victoria Bridge, Kuala Kangsar.

The Victoria Bridge is a single railway bridge that crosses the Sungai Perak at Karai and is one of the oldest railway bridges in Malaysia. It is located about 4 km from the Iskandar Bridge.

Official opening plaque. (Source: http://www.malaysiasite.nl)

It was opened on 21 March 1900 by Almarhum Sultan Idris Murshidul Azzam Shah at a ceremony which was also attended by Sir Frank Swettenham, the Resident-General for the FMS, and Sir John Pickersgill Rodger, the acting British Resident for Perak. The ceremonial opening of the bridge comprised unlocking of a bar traversing the portal with a silver key.

The bridge was constructed between December 1897 and March 1900 by the Perak State Railway and comprised iron lattice girders over a thousand feet long, resting on six brick piers, with the roadway 40 feet above the ordinary level of the river. Seen from the bank, the mighty Victoria Bridge bridge is a handsome structure which spans the wide Sungai Perak. The bridge has been erected at a cost of over $300,000. The construction of the bridge was under the supervision of Mr. Happlestone while C.R. Hanson was the chief engineer. Sir Frank Swettenham in his speech during the opening of the bridge regarded Victoria Bridge is the largest bridge in the East outside India.

Queen Victoria. (Source: Google images)

The bridge was named after Queen Victoria[1] on two considerations. Firstly, when the construction began in 1897, it was the year of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Secondly, the bridge was completed at moment when her authority was being triumphantly vindicated in South Africa.

The bridge at her peak was an important structure during the boom of the tin mining industry as well as linking the western Malay states with each other and the port of Penang. The bridge is said to be similar to the “bridge on the river Kwai” and Guillemard Bridge in Kelantan.

(Source: Google Images)

The Victoria Bridge is now no longer in use since 2002, as a new concrete bridge has been built some 15 metres away and parallel to her to take over the role of handling rail traffic. While Victoria Bridge is closed to rail traffic, its adjoining footbridge is still publicly open to motorcycles and pedestrians.

Footnote:
[1] Queen Victoria was the Queen regnant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. She was dubbed as the “grandmother of Europe” where her 9 children and 42 grandchildren were married into royal families across the continent, tying them together.

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Reference:
1. Asiaexplorer.com. Victoria Bridge.
2. Malaysiasite.nl. Forgotten Bridge.
3. Wikipedia. Victoria Bridge.
4. The Straits Times. 1900 March 26. p3.

2 thoughts on “Victoria Bridge, Kuala Kangsar

  1. Dear Sembangkuala,

    My kampung is between the two great bridges of Malaya then (Victoria bridge and Iskandar bridge)and opposite the town of Karai or Enggor or whatever. The railway station (used to be) and the post office is Enggor but the Police Station which is located in the same town is called Balai Polis Karai. As a kampung folk, I am proud and a bit annoyed by the development carried out by the British over the area. The two bridges were on the opposite sides of the kampung and we could see telephone lines and electrical lines on them. There is also an electrical transmission line across the kampung. My late father said that it was already there during the Japanese Occupation. But the kampung folks were still using kerosene lamps until around in the 1970s. So folks those were the legacy of the British Administration. If it was not for the tin deposits in the Kinta Valley, the two bridges and the Ubudiah Mosque won’t be there.

  2. We were there at the Victorial Bridge, K.Kangsar on the 27th August, 2013. The Official Memoral Plaque from Karai side was not on the wall! Look like it has been taken off from the mounting delibrately!!!

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