AskDefine | Define drawbridges

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

drawbridges
  1. Plural of drawbridge

Extensive Definition

A drawbridge is a type of movable bridge typically associated with the entrance of a castle. The term is often used to describe all different types of movable bridges, like bascule bridges and lift bridges.

Overview

Drawbridges may be used to withdraw passage across (rather than allow passage beneath), as is found in military fortifications, and this is the most common use of the term. Simple drawbridges may be found in short canal crossings, where the lifting mechanism is a pair of overhead beams with counterweights that are not a part of the bridge's load bearing structure. The most common type of drawbridge consists of a wooden platform with one fixed side (normally with a hinge), and the other side attached to the wall from a floor higher than the drawbridge.
In the Middle Ages, drawbridges were often used to allow or deny access across a moat or ditch. They could be let down to allow people across, or pulled up to deny entry into the castle.

Road and rail

Now, with cars and trains in need of crossing small waterways without blocking boats from passing, drawbridges have a more peaceful reason for their existence.
In Queensland, diamond crossings between narrow gauge cane tramways and main lines are being replaced by drawbridges, so that the rails of the main line are completely unbroken by gaps or weak spots. This also allows the main line speeds to be raised.
Another rail use of drawbridges was on the Listowel and Ballybunion railway in Ireland. This was a sort of monorail, where trains hung on either side of a fence-like track. Road crossings were either a gate-like Stuart section of track or twin drawbridges, that allowed crossing at rail level. A vertical lift drawbridge at Mossdale in California was the actual final link in the first transcontinental railway and was opened a few monts later than the Golden Spike ceremony at Promentory.

Gallery

Magere Brug (a double drawbridge) in Amsterdam

See also

drawbridges in Czech: Padací most
drawbridges in Welsh: Pont godi
drawbridges in German: Zugbrücke
drawbridges in French: Pont-levis
drawbridges in Japanese: 跳ね橋
drawbridges in Dutch: Valbrug
drawbridges in Norwegian: Vindebro
drawbridges in Swedish: Vindbrygga
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