Newport Transporter Bridge

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Newport Transporter Bridge
Transporter Bridge, from Coronation Park.jpg
The bridge viewed from Coronation Park
Coordinates51°34′14″N 2°59′08″W / 51.57064°N 2.98556°W / 51.57064; -2.98556
CarriesMotor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians including buses and multi sized lorries.
CrossesRiver Usk
LocaleNewport, Wales
Official nameNewport Transporter Bridge
Maintained byNewport City Council
Heritage statusGrade I
DesignTransporter bridge
Total length236m (774.28 ft)
WidthThree cars (gondola)
(total width 108 ft / 33 m)
Longest span196.56m (644.88 ft)
DesignerFerdinand Arnodin
Opened12 September 1906
TollAdult Single – £1.50
Adult Return – £2.00
Child Single – 50p
Child Return – £1.00
Day Ticket (inc. unlimited trips on the gondola and walking across the top of the bridge) – £4.00[1]

The Newport Transporter Bridge (Welsh: Pont Gludo Casnewydd) is a transporter bridge that crosses the River Usk in Newport, South East Wales. The bridge is the lowest crossing on the River Usk. It is a Grade I listed structure.

It is one of fewer than 10 transporter bridges that remain in use worldwide; only a few dozen were ever built. It is one of only two operational transporter bridges in Britain, the other being the Tees Transporter Bridge.


Newport Transporter Bridge, 1931

The bridge was designed by French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin. It was built in 1906 and opened by Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar, on 12 September 1906.[2]

Newport Museum holds a silver cigar cutter which was presented to Viscount Tredegar on the day of the opening, as a memento of the occasion.[3]


The design was chosen because the river banks are very low at the desired crossing point (a few miles south of the city centre) where an ordinary bridge would need a very long approach ramp to attain sufficient height to allow ships to pass under, and a ferry could not be used during low tide at the site.[4]

Principal dimensions[edit]

A Corporation of Newport drawing dated December 1902 is calibrated in metres. The height of the towers is 73.6 metres (241.5 ft), and the height to the underside of the main girder truss above the road level is 49.97 m (163.9 ft). The span between the centres of the towers is 196.56 m (644.9 ft), and the clearance between the towers is quoted as being 180.44 m (592.0 ft); however, including the cantilevered sections, the main girder truss gives the bridge an overall length of 236 m (774.3 ft). The distance between the centres of the anchorage caissons is 471.06 m (1,545.5 ft). Power to propel the transporter platform or gondola is provided by two 35 hp (26.1 kW) electric motors, which in turn drive a large winch, situated in an elevated winding house at the eastern end of the bridge. This winch is sufficient to drive the gondola through its 196.56 m (644.9 ft) total travel at a speed of 3 metres per second (9.8 ft/s)[citation needed].

This is the oldest and largest of the three historic transporter bridges which remain in Britain, and also the largest of eight such bridges which remain worldwide.[citation needed]

When compared with Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge, the Newport Transporter is 5 m (16 ft) taller, but 23 m (75 ft) less in overall length. It also utilizes approximately 1,400 long tons (1,400 tonnes) of steel compared to 2,600 long tons (2,600 t) used to construct Middlesbrough's Transporter (not accounting for steel used in foundations or concrete anchors)[citation needed]. This difference in weight is mainly due to the Newport bridge making use of cables to support and induce tension into its structure to a far greater extent than the Middlesbrough bridge.

Other information[edit]

Today, the bridge is considered an “iconic symbol” of the city of Newport, particularly as a mark of its industrial heritage.[5]

As well as a working transport link, the bridge is also open as a tourist attraction – visitors can climb the towers and walk across the upper deck for a small charge.

The bridge forms part of the classified highway network and is also where route 4 of the National Cycle Network crosses the River Usk and route 47 begins.

It was the focal point of the local millennium celebrations of 2000, where fireworks were fired from its length, and has been featured in several movies and television shows. It was the centre-piece of the Crow Point Festival in September 2006 to celebrate its centenary. It is used for charity events such as sponsored abseils.


The Transporter Bridge in 2008

The bridge was shut down in 1985 because of wear and tear. Following a £3 million refurbishment, it reopened in 1995. Service was suspended again in December 2008 with the bridge facing a £2 million repair bill.[6] £1.225 million was spent on refurbishment, financed by grants from the Welsh Government, Newport City Council and Cadw. It re-opened on 30 July 2010.[7]

The bridge was closed on 16 February 2011, because of operational problems, but re-opened again on 4 June.[8]

Appearances in popular media[edit]

The transporter bridge provided the setting for some scenes in the 1959 British crime drama film Tiger Bay, which was set in Cardiff and therefore gave audiences the impression that the bridge was in Cardiff and not Newport. The bridge also appears in an early scene in the 1972 experimental film The Other Side of the Underneath by Jane Arden[citation needed] and features extensively in the 1996 video for the song "Talk to Me" by Newport band 60 Ft. Dolls.[9]

Visitor centre[edit]

The Visitor Centre is located on the west bank and features exhibits on the history of the bridge, its construction and other transporter bridges around the world. The centre has a painting of David Pearce, the former undefeated Welsh and British Heavyweight Boxing Champion 1983–1985. Pearce used to run up the steps of the Transporter Bridge during his training. The centre is generally open at weekends,[10] but it is currently closed until Spring 2023, while extensive restoration of the bridge structure is performed and a new visitor centre is constructed.[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Visit".
  2. ^ "City transporter bridge centenary". BBC News. Newport. 12 September 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. ^ "NOW AND THEN: The opening of the Newport Transporter Bridge (From South Wales Argus)". 28 April 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  4. ^ Popular Mechanics Magazine: Written So You Can Understand it. 1922. p. 60. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  5. ^ "BBC - Wales History: Newport Transporter Bridge".
  6. ^ "Nine historic buildings get £385k". Newport: BBC Wales News. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Transporter Bridge to re-open". Newport: South Wales Argus. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Newport Museums & Heritage Service : Homepage". Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  9. ^ 60 Ft Dolls - Talk to Me (Version 1) on YouTube
  10. ^ "Campaigners hope to put statue honouring 'Newport's Rocky' on Gilligan's Island".
  11. ^ "Visit".

External links[edit]