Kingsferry Bridge

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Kingsferry Bridge
73107 on Kingsferry Bridge.jpg
Charter train on Kingsferry Bridge
Coordinates 51°23′27″N 0°45′01″E / 51.3907°N 0.7504°E / 51.3907; 0.7504Coordinates: 51°23′27″N 0°45′01″E / 51.3907°N 0.7504°E / 51.3907; 0.7504
Carries 2 lane road
single track railway
Crosses The Swale
Locale Isle of Sheppey, Kent, UK
Design Vertical lift bridge
Width 50 feet (15 m)
Longest span 123 feet (37 m)
Clearance above 120 feet (37 m)
Opened 1960

The Kingsferry Bridge is a combined road and railway vertical-lift bridge connecting the Isle of Sheppey to Kent in South East England. It was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson, and built by John Howard, with Dorman Long and Sir William Arrol & Co. It comprises a reinforced concrete and structural steel deck, supported from portal-shaped reinforced concrete towers.

The first bridge on the site had been a railway bascule bridge built in 1860 as part of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. This was replaced in 1904 by a Scherzer-type bascule bridge.[1] On 17 December 1922, the Norwegian cargo ship Gyp collided with the bridge,[2] damaging it so badly that it took ten months to repair and re-open the bridge. It was eventually replaced in turn by the present bridge.[1]

Swale railway station is at the southern end of the bridge which is regarded by network rail as a "railway crossing".[citation needed] The A249 was carried on the bridge until the opening of a new fixed Sheppey crossing in 2006.


The bridge is raised up to 20 times per day to allow ships to pass underneath
Kingsferry and Swale Crossing.jpg

The bridge is powered by an electric motor beneath the road. The bridge has engine rooms on either side, which operate the wire ropes and counterweights that lift and lower the bridge. The bridge has been raised over 100,000 times and every lift has to be recorded. The bridge can only be lifted when the Sittingbourne railway signalman gives authorization, once a train travelling across the bridge has passed the relevant track section.

The maximum bridge lifting height is 84 feet and, when full height has been attained, a klaxon is sounded for confirmation.


The police borrowed £73,000 from Swale Council to place an order for an automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR), to be installed on both the Sheppey Crossing and the Kingsferry Bridge in 2010.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Otter, Robert A.: "Civil Engineering Heritage: Southern England", Thomas Telford Publishing, 1994, p. 239
  2. ^ "King's Ferry Bridge seriously damaged" The Times (London). Monday, 18 December 1922. (43217), col A, p. 9.
  3. ^ "Sheppey crossing cameras will monitor every vehicle in bid to catch criminals". This is Kent. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-27.