Some pictures and info. about the Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge

From the early part of the last century, until 1961, a transporter bridge carried people, and a very restricted number of vehicles it must be said, between Runcorn and Widnes, over the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. This bridge was owned and operated by the former Widnes Borough Council. It was the longest span continually operating transporter bridge in the world. However it outlived its usefulness and needed high maintenance. With the growth of vehicle traffic the old bridge just could not cope, and a new high level single arch bridge replaced it in 1961. The transporter bridge was pulled down a year or so later and the only remaining visible signs are the two access roads on each side of the river.

Transporter bridges can still be seen in Britain at Newport. Monmouthshire, and at Middlesboro, Teeside, and there is still a small one across the Mersey at Warrington, inside a factory. There the River Mersey is much narrower than it is at Runcorn. Here are a few pictures of the old bridge.

There is an excellent little book about the bridge which contains many old photographs. Written by local historian Dave Thompson, it is listed on my bibliography page

The Transporter Bridge opened in 1905. Span 1000 ft.(304.8m.). Height above high water 82 ft.(25m.)

Looking down Waterloo Road, Runcorn. The new bridge construction can be seen on the left of the photo.
The last trip of the transporter bridge, July 22nd. 1961. The 'car' is just half way across on the journey from Widnes.
A view of the three bridges in 1960. The incomplete new bridge is having the roadway support beams fitted. The railway bridge lies beyond it. The Mersey Hotel at Widnes is the "white" building in the centre of the picture. This was once a stopping-off point for people who were waiting to cross by the ferry in the days before there were any bridges here.
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