Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge
Ferry Road, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge Reviews
Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge Apr 20, 2013
The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge was built in 1912 or so, as an attempt to provide a crossing for traffic on the Tees, more reliably than ferries, but without stopping large ships coming up the river. It is the last working bridge of its kind in the UK. Transporter bridges are essentially giant, ground level cable cars. A bridge platform is suspended from the superstructure and winched across the river by winding engines. When the platform is docked, ships can pass freely under the bridge. Traffic simply drives on at one end, waits, and drives off at the other. It is a really amazing work of engineering.
In the heyday of the Teesside docks, this was a thriving dock full of cargo vessels and the other side of the river was also bustling. Now, the docks are long gone. The bridge stands alone, a giant structure surrounded by wasteland, industrial ruins of various ages, and a small, closed visitor’s centre. It’s almost mournful. The surrounding area was obviously earmarked for regeneration; a set of hoardings advertising the grand plans for the area is almost as bleached as the sign that tells you that the isolated brick wall used to be a salt factory, although not as decrepit as the sign converting litres to gallons in the ruined petrol station. But the bridge is still in full use. Apart from people who (for no reason I could figure out) genuinely want to go to the other side of the river, there are industrial history nerds and tourists with interested small children crossing to see the last transporter bridge in action. It also has specific charity events on from time to time – you can bungie jump from it, or climb it for charity, and things like that. Pedestrians are charged 60p to cross (about $1), and cars about £1.30. There is a bemused bridgekeeper who is deeply puzzled by why anyone would want to see the bridge for fun.
I had a free train ticket and that’s how I came to visit Middlesbrough. Apart from football, I am not sure why anyone would happen to be passing. So unless you are a student of industrial heritage or engineering, or really, really like large bridges, I am not sure why you would end up here. But if you do, this is well worth the 60p to visit.
Part of the 2013 - Home Sweet Home travel blog
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