Winning proposal of the ProRail circular design challenge

In an open call ProRail asked for ideas to find a new use for old train track material. A circular design challenge. The aim was to find a new purpose for the material with a minimum need for amendments to the materials. Achieving a maximum result with a minimum input of new material and energy.
De Spoorloper was chosen as one of the three winners of this challenge. Currently we are working on realizing a prototype of this proposal.

De Spoorloper (translated: railway-walker) is a pedestrian bridge entirely made out of old train track material without adding any new material or making changes to the existing material.

In this proposal the old material is again put to use for infrastructural purposes. The train track material is ingeniously reassembled into a pedestrian bridge to cross ponds, small canals or ditches, a perfect fit into the tradition Dutch landscape.

The rails of the train tracks become the structural elements of the bridge. The wooden sleepers form the deck of the bridge, concrete sleepers form the foundation in the terrain. Crushed stone is used to overcome the height difference between terrain and bridge deck.

The main span of the bridge is oriented upside down compared to the traditional railway structure. The foundation into the terrain is upright. Due to the symmetry of the rail profile, the rails can be connected despite their differing orientation.

For all connections (rails-sleepers and rail-rails) traditional railway connections will be used.


At the end of the lifetime of the bridge, the whole structure can be disassembled, and the materials can once again become available for re-use.

*ProRail is a government task organisation that is responsible for the Dutch national railway network