Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Overview
The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge or Tees Transporter Bridge is the furthest downstream bridge across the River Tees
River Tees
The River Tees is in Northern England. It rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the North Pennines, and flows eastwards for 85 miles to reach the North Sea between Hartlepool and Redcar.-Geography:...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It connects Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough is a large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England, that sits within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire...

, on the south bank, to Port Clarence
Port Clarence
Port Clarence is a small village now within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees and ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is situated on the north bank of the River Tees, and hosts the northern end of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.-History:...

, on the north bank. It is a transporter bridge
Transporter bridge
A transporter bridge is a type of movable bridge that carries a segment of roadway across a river. The gondola is slung from a tall span by wires or a metal frame. The design has been used to cross navigable rivers or other bodies of water, where there is a requirement for ship traffic to be...

, carrying a travelling 'car', or 'gondola', suspended from the bridge, across the river in 90 seconds. The gondola can carry 200 people, 9 cars, or 6 cars and one minibus. It carries the A178
A178 road
The A178 is a road that runs from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough in the former county of Cleveland, England.The route of the A178 starts at the junction of the A179 and A689 in Hartlepool. It runs east as Church Street passing Hartlepool railway station...

 Middlesbrough to Hartlepool road.
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Encyclopedia
The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge or Tees Transporter Bridge is the furthest downstream bridge across the River Tees
River Tees
The River Tees is in Northern England. It rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the North Pennines, and flows eastwards for 85 miles to reach the North Sea between Hartlepool and Redcar.-Geography:...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It connects Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough is a large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England, that sits within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire...

, on the south bank, to Port Clarence
Port Clarence
Port Clarence is a small village now within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees and ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is situated on the north bank of the River Tees, and hosts the northern end of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.-History:...

, on the north bank. It is a transporter bridge
Transporter bridge
A transporter bridge is a type of movable bridge that carries a segment of roadway across a river. The gondola is slung from a tall span by wires or a metal frame. The design has been used to cross navigable rivers or other bodies of water, where there is a requirement for ship traffic to be...

, carrying a travelling 'car', or 'gondola', suspended from the bridge, across the river in 90 seconds. The gondola can carry 200 people, 9 cars, or 6 cars and one minibus. It carries the A178
A178 road
The A178 is a road that runs from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough in the former county of Cleveland, England.The route of the A178 starts at the junction of the A179 and A689 in Hartlepool. It runs east as Church Street passing Hartlepool railway station...

 Middlesbrough to Hartlepool road. Locally the bridge is simply known as the Transporter.

History


Following a 1907 Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 the bridge was built at a cost of £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

68,026 6s 8d
Penny (British pre-decimal coin)
The penny of the Kingdom of Great Britain and later of the United Kingdom, was in circulation from the early 18th century until February 1971, Decimal Day....

 (£ as of ), by Sir William Arrol & Co.
Sir William Arrol & Co.
Sir William Arrol & Co. was a leading Scottish civil engineering business founded by William Arrol and based in Glasgow. It built some of the most famous bridges in the United Kingdom including the Forth Bridge and Tower Bridge in London.-Early history:...

 of Glasgow between 1910 and 1911 to replace an earlier steam ferry. A transporter bridge was chosen because Parliament ruled that the new scheme of crossing the river had to avoid affecting the river navigation. The opening ceremony on the 17 October 1911 was performed by Prince Arthur of Connaught
Prince Arthur of Connaught
Prince Arthur of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of Queen Victoria. Prince Arthur held the title of a British prince with the style His Royal Highness...

.

The Tees Transporter Bridge has an overall length (including cantilevers) of 851 feet (259.4 m), leaving a span between the centres of the towers of 580 feet (176.8 m), the beam of the bridge being carried at a height of 160 feet (48.8 m) above the road. This combined with an overall height of 225 feet (68.6 m), makes this bridge the second largest example remaining in the world; the largest being the bridge across the River Usk
Newport Transporter Bridge
The Newport Transporter Bridge is a transporter bridge that crosses the River Usk in Newport, South Wales. It is a Grade I listed structure. Designed by French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin, it was built in 1906 and opened by Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar on 12 September 1906...

, at Newport in south Wales.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the superstructure of the bridge was hit by a bomb. In 1953, the gondola got stuck half-way. While it was stuck, gale
Gale
A gale is a very strong wind. There are conflicting definitions of how strong a wind must be to be considered a gale. The U.S. government's National Weather Service defines a gale as 34–47 knots of sustained surface winds. Forecasters typically issue gale warnings when winds of this strength are...

 force winds lashed water to within inches of it. However, despite this the Gondola and The Transporter Bridge are still running in perfect order.

In 1974, the comedy actor Terry Scott
Terry Scott
Owen John "Terry" Scott was an English actor and comedian who appeared in seven Carry On films. He also appeared in BBC1's popular domestic sitcom Terry and June with June Whitfield...

, travelling between his hotel in Middlesbrough and a performance at the Billingham
Billingham
Billingham is a town in the unitary authority of Stockton on Tees, in north east England, with a population of 35,765 . It was founded circa 650 by a group of Saxons known as Billa's people, which is where the name Billingham is thought to have originated...

 Forum, mistook the bridge for a regular toll crossing and drove his car off the end of the roadway, landing in the safety netting beneath.

In December 1993, the bridge was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is the British engineering society based in central London, representing mechanical engineering. It is licensed by the Engineering Council UK to assess candidates for inclusion on ECUK's Register of professional Engineers...

' highest honour, The Heritage Plaque, for engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 excellence, in recognition of the Council's efforts in keeping the bridge in good working order. Its historical importance was also recognised in 1985 by its listing as a Grade II* Listed Building and its prominence as a local landmark was further enhanced in 1993 by the installation of flood lights that operate during the winter months.

It has featured in films and TV programmes including Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot is a 2000 British drama film written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. Set in the fictional town of "Everington" in the real County Durham, UK, it stars Jamie Bell as 11-year-old Billy, an aspiring dancer, Gary Lewis as his coal miner father, Jamie Draven as Billy's older...

, The Fast Show
The Fast Show
The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran for three series from 1994 to 1997 with a special Last Fast Show Ever in 2000. The show's central performers were Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and...

, Spender
Spender
Spender is a BBC television drama set in Newcastle upon Tyne, written by Ian La Frenais and Jimmy Nail, who also starred. The series was produced by Martin McKeand . The series was broadcast on BBC between 1991 and 1993...

and Steel River Blues
Steel River Blues
Steel River Blues is a British television drama serial first broadcast in September 2004 on ITV. Produced by Ken Horn, it was based on the working and private lives of a group of firefighters in Middlesbrough...

. In the millennium
Millennium
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

 celebrations of 2000, fireworks were fired from its length. The storyline of the third series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is a British comedy-drama television programme about seven English migrant construction workers. In the first series, the men live and work on a building site in Düsseldorf....

, saw the bridge dismantled to be sold to and re-erected in the USA. The local council received calls from people worried that the bridge was really being pulled down, with the BBC adding a disclaimer on the end of the final episode of the series stating that 'The Transporter Bridge remains in Middlesbrough'.

The Transporter Bridge has a safety announcement, and until recently, it was a southern voice. Middlesbrough council decided it was time to change the voice, and held a competition for the new voice. The competition was won by a Middlesbrough man, Brian Hall, who was one of the last few finalists in the competition for the speaking clock in 2006. In 2008 Brian and his son, Sam, took part in a fundraising zipwire event off the Transporter Bridge, raising over £500 in doing so.

The bridge is currently owned by Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. Middlesbrough council has control of the day-to-day operations and maintenance.

Vintage Bus Running Day


The bridge is also host to an annual vintage bus running day, organised by The 500 Group. On this one day per year, usually a Sunday in April, vintage buses take people on free rides around Teesside
Teesside
Teesside is the name given to the conurbation in the north east of England made up of the towns of Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar, Billingham and surrounding settlements near the River Tees. It was also the name of a local government district between 1968 and 1974—the County Borough of...

. As part of the 2006 and 2007 events the bridge made a special trip carrying a former Teesside Municipal Transport Daimler Fleetline
Daimler Fleetline
The Daimler Fleetline is a rear-engined double-decker bus chassis built between 1960 and 1973 in Coventry, Warwickshire, England, and from 1973 until 1980 in Farington, Lancashire, England. However, the last complete vehicle did not enter service until 1983...

. Prior to this a double deck bus had not used the bridge in 30 years.

See also

  • Newport Transporter Bridge
    Newport Transporter Bridge
    The Newport Transporter Bridge is a transporter bridge that crosses the River Usk in Newport, South Wales. It is a Grade I listed structure. Designed by French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin, it was built in 1906 and opened by Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar on 12 September 1906...

     - a similar bridge in South Wales
  • Transporter bridge
    Transporter bridge
    A transporter bridge is a type of movable bridge that carries a segment of roadway across a river. The gondola is slung from a tall span by wires or a metal frame. The design has been used to cross navigable rivers or other bodies of water, where there is a requirement for ship traffic to be...

     - lists these bridges worldwide

External links