Newport transporter bridge

Transporter bridge across the river Usk at Newport, Gwent, Wales. Designed by Ferdinand Arnodin, the Frenchman who patented the transporter bridge (or aerial tramway). Newport's bridge across the River Usk lilnked the town to the eastern docks. Newport transporter bridge was opened on 12th September 1906 and refurbished 1992-96.


Passengers and light vehicles travel in a gondola suspended from a trolley which runs on rails. The trolley is hauled by a cable conected to a stationary electric motors. Newport transporter bridge is a similar design to the Marseille transporter bridge (le pont transbordeur de Marseille) which lasted from 1905 until it was dynamited in 1944.

I was fascinated by these bridges as a child: maybe it was the combination of visual engineering, overhead railway and electric traction. The car journey to and from grandparents in Liverpool included a choice of treats such as the Mersey tunnel or the new bridge across the river Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal between Runcorn and Widnes. Usually we went north across the road bridge and came back through the Mersey tunnel. The old Runcorn Widnes transporter bridge was still alongside the sleek new road bridge when it opened in 1961. I made a model of the old transporter bridge from Meccano.

Here are some of my Father's slides: it looks like I'm waving goodbye to the old bridge before it was demolished.

Runcorn Widnes transporter bridge 1961