FRIENDS OF NEWPORT TRANSPORTER BRIDGE (FONTB)
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Other Transporter Bridges (by Sidney Robinson)
What is a Transporter Bridge?
There have been and no doubt still are a number of bridges in the World referred to, I believe wrongly, as Transporter Bridges. We cannot do better than to quote the definition by Bridge Engineer Barry Mawson, "that a Transporter Bridge has to be a rigid purpose built structure at high level over the crossing from which a gondola is suspended".
Using this criteria, it is known that 16 Transporter Bridges were built in the World plus one Bridge partly built and never completed. All these Bridges were built in the period between 1893 and 1916, a period in which Transporter Bridges could well handle traffic conditions of the time.
Only 8 Transporter Bridges remain and a summary of the 8 bridges lost is given below.
Four Transporter Bridges in France were severely damaged or destroyed during World War II. All these bridges were designed by the famous Transporter Bridge Engineer Frenchman Ferdinand Arnodin who also of course designed the Newport Transporter Bridge.
The locations of the 4 Bridges are:
The other 'lost' Bridges are:
Details of the remaing 8 Transporter Bridges are given below:
Portugalete, near Bilbao, Spain
Spans the River Nervion
Situated 6 miles downstream from Bilbao, the bridge was designed by Spanish engineer Alberto de Palacio in consultation with Ferdinand Arnodin.
A steam engine originally powered the gondola which was converted to electric drive in 1939. The bridge was damaged during the Spanish Civil War but has undergone extensive renewals since including lifts to the high level walkway and weather protection on the gondola.
Matrou, near Rochefort, France
Spans the River Charente
Designed by Ferdinand Arnodin and most resembling the Newport Transporter Bridge, it was originally powered by steam. A bascular bridge was erected close by to relieve it. It was taken out of use in 1967 when a new lifting bridge was constructed but restored in 1996 as a tourist attraction.
Spans the River Usk
The largest and most elegant of the remaining Bridges. Designed by Ferdinand Arnodin in conjunction with Newport Borough Engineer Robert H. Haynes.
30 miles north west of Hamburg. Spans the River Osten, a tributary of the Elbe
The gondola is suspended by rigid steel girders rather than cables and the bridge has been restored as an historic monument.
Spans the River Tees
The gondloa was adapted to take electric tram cars but this use did not materialise. In 1969 a new pipe line was built across the span to transfer oxygen between two Teeside industrial plants.
Spans the Kiel Canal
Built on the underside of a high level railway bridge with lengthy approach viaducts, the gondola is suspended by rigid steel girders rather than cables. A tunnel now takes heavy motor traffic under the canal, leaving the gondola to transport pedestrians, cyclists and light traffic.
Buenos Aries, Argentina
La Boca del Riachelo, spans river between City of Buenos Aires and Province of Buenos Aires.
The Bridge is also named "Nicolas Avellaneda" after the President of the Argentine Republic 1874-1880. A bridge was built about 200 metres away to relieve the Transporter Bridge which is currently out of use. Local people are planning its restoration.
Spans the River Mersey at the works of Joseph Crossfield and Sons Ltd (part of the Unilever Group)
This bridge is on private land within the works of Joseph Crossfield and has been used rarely since 1967. It catered for both rail and road traffic.
Projected and Unfinished Bridges
Construction of a Transporter Bridge crossing the River Gironde at at Bordeaux in France commenced in1910 but progressed only to the towers before World War I intervened. Construction was not resumed after the war and the towers were dismantled in 1940. Of suspension construction, the span would have been approximately 1400 ft (426m) and it would have been the World's largest Transporter Bridge
Other Transporter Bridges have been projected at:
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