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Victoria Bridge, Karai

Victoria Bridge is one of the oldest railway bridges in Malaysia. It was constructed between December 1897 and March 1900 by the Perak State Railway as a crossing over the Perak River to serve the local tin mining industry.

The bridge was designed by Mr. G. W. Fryer, a train engineer, and assisted by Mr. C. R. Hanson. The estimated total cost was $325,000.

The bridge was named after Queen Victoria I and is located in the town of Karai, Kuala Kangsar District, Perak. The town was a coal mining town in the early 19th century, and due to its good quality of coal, it became the center of coal production.

To manage and supervise the coal industry activities, the British built a railway network from Kinta Valley to the north. Karai was one of the stops.

The Victoria Bridge is a single track railway truss bridge that crosses the Perak River. It was formally opened on 21 March 1900 by Sultan Idris Murshidul Azam Shah.

Also present in the opening ceremony was the Federated Malay States British Governor-General, Sir Frank Swettenham.

It is interesting to note that there was once a train station near the bridge called Enggor Railway Station Complex, which had ticketing counters and communication system facilities.

In December 1941, British army engineers blew up the bridge to slow down Japanese advances to Singapore. However, it was rebuilt when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Karai. The Japanese hired local labourers to rebuild the bridge, paying them 55 cents per day.


References:

Mamat, M. J., & Aziz, M. F. A. (2018, September). Relationships of Early British Amenities with the Formation of Small Towns in Perak. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 401, No. 1, p. 012007). IOP Publishing.

Aliasak, M. H. H., Osman, M. N., Zakaria, S. R., Sa’ad, M. F., & Ling, N. L. F. J. (2016). Town of Karai: The Only Coal Mining Site in the State of Perak and Its Contribution to the Urban Development. In Regional Conference on Science, Technology and Social Sciences (RCSTSS 2014) Science and Technology (pp. 187-199). Springer Singapore.

Mamat, M. J., & Aziz, M. F. A. (2018, September). Relationships of Early British Amenities with the Formation of Small Towns in Perak. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 401, No. 1, p. 012007). IOP Publishing.

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