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Report - Newport Transporter Bridge, Newport - October 2015

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by WildBoyz, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    History

    The Newport Transporter Bridge is one of six remaining fully-functioning transporter bridges left in the world; although eight still exist altogether. Originally, twenty were constructed, but many have since been closed and scrapped owing to declining ship-building industries across the world. A transporter bridge is commonly referred to as a rigid purpose built structure, positioned at a high level over the designated crossing point, from which a suspended gondola is attached. Transporter bridges were constructed between 1893 and 1916 and served to allow large ships to pass underneath.

    Now a Grade I listed structure, the Newport Transporter Bridge, located in South Wales, was originally constructed and completed in 1906. It cost £98,000 to complete. Of the three transporter bridges in the UK, this is the oldest and largest of them, and the largest of all throughout the world. It was designed by Ferdinand Arnodin, a French engineer, and opened by Godfrey Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar, on 12th September 1906. The transporter design was selected because Newport was a busy port area, and because the river banks at the desired crossing point were particularly low; an ordinary bridge would have required a very long approach ramp, to gain sufficient height to allow ships to pass underneath. Equally, a ferry could not be used in place of a bridge since the river is often drained of most of its water during low tide. Although a ferry did operate occasionally, it was not a practical transportation method, and many fatalities were also attributed to this method of crossing the river.

    The bridge was shut down in 1985, owing to general ‘wear and tear’; however, after receiving £3 million for refurbishment and renovation, it reopened in 1995. Service was halted once again in December 2008 on account of a £2 million repair bill, but after £1.225 million was invested into it, it was able to reopen on 30th July 2010. The last recorded closure of the bridge was on 16th February 2011 until 4th June, because of operational problems. As it stands though, the bridge appears to be closed once again as painting work is carried out across the entire structure.

    Each of the towers are measured as being 73.6 metres (241.5 ft) tall, and the height to the underside of the main girder truss above the road is 49.97 metres (163.9 ft). The span between the two towers is 196.56 metres (644.9 ft), and the clearance between the towers is estimated as being 180.44 metres (592 ft). The gondola is powered by twin 35 horse-power electric motors; the motors turn a large winch situated inside the elevated winding house on the eastern side of the bridge. Compared to the Tees Transporter Bridge, the only other fully-functioning transporter in the UK, the Newport Bridge is 5 metres (16 ft) taller, but 23 metres (75 ft) less in overall length. Overall it also uses approximately 1,400 tonnes of steel as opposed to the 2,600 tonnes used to construct the Tess Transporter. The dramatic difference in weight is due to the use of cables on the Newport bridge, which support and induce tension into its structure to a much greater extent that its Teesside counterpart.

    Our Version of Events

    With the general rule of our trip being that we weren’t allowed to be in the same place too long, we decided to leave Birmingham late on the same day we’d arrived. We had shit to do and places to be, so we hit the road and headed straight for South Wales. By the time we got there, we were already rapidly burning the cover of darkness, so we wasted no time before attempting to hit the bridge. After first assessing our access options however, things looked to be a bit trickier than we’d first considered; large security doors, for instance, have been fitted, alongside anti-climb paint, and thick mud surrounded the base of the concrete pillars. We nearly lost one of the gang down there after he’d been stumbling around in the darkness trying to find a way onto the bridge. For some reason, a sudden increase in police activity also occurred after we’d spend no less than five minutes within the vicinity of the bridge. I had to admit, at first things weren’t looking good.

    Nevertheless, after a quick ‘team meeting’, we fetched together a plan. And what a good idea it all turned out to be! Half an hour later, with the plan well underway, we found ourselves on the side of the bridge somewhere, nicely tucked away in the shadows of the Transporter’s steel structure. After that, it was plain sailing to top. The views up there were pretty incredible, and it was well worth the final climb up a very bendy ladder. On the whole, we probably spent longer above Newport than we did on the actual ground; until it was finally time to head back down to grab some rest before the next day’s activities ensued. Luckily for us, we parked right near the local breakfast van, so we arose the next day to the smell of sizzling bacon and sausage.

    With it being dark when we’d decided to hit the bridge it had been difficult to grab a decent snap of the entire structure, so we cheekily decided to return the next day to grab a few shots of the bridge in the crisp morning daylight. That was when we noticed the very cheap day pass fee which gives any customer unlimited crossing access via the gondola throughout the day, access to the high level walkway and a visit into the motor house platform: all that for a mere £2.75 per adult or £1.75 per child – absolute bargain!

    Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Box, The Hurricane and Husky.

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    #1 WildBoyz, Oct 19, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015

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  2. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Excellent mate. Access is tricky, yeah, but you nailed it. Nice snaps:thumb
     
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  3. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Cheers mate, well worth the effort it took to do it :thumb
     
  4. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    Nicely done. Didn't make it up before the lights switched off then.
     
  5. thatdudeuk

    thatdudeuk 28DL Full Member
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    Love these shots up there with the lights turned off.
     
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  6. BoroLad

    BoroLad 28DL Regular User
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    Class pics...
    One I need to get off the list!
     
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  7. Bolts

    Bolts 28DL Regular User
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    Nailed this one mate :thumb cracking shots as usual
     
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  8. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Thanks for all the comments everyone :thumb
     
  9. Tomw1989

    Tomw1989 28DL Full Member
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    Nice shots!

    We tried it back in Jan but there was a pikey camp right at the base of the bridge on the steelworks side on the river. Looks like it's worth another punt.
     
  10. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Well done lads :thumb

    Still prefer the Tees one ;)
     
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  11. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Thanks mate. Same. I think the Tees one is my favourite out of the transporters.
     
  12. madmonky13

    madmonky13 28DL Member
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    I have to say, we tried this late October last year and failed miserably due to the combinations of anti climb paint, fences and gates. We have however hatched a plan and intend to head back up there with some more kit and get up no matter what
     
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  13. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Good to see you're determined to get up. Just be careful if you bring lots of kit along with you; if you get caught you might have a lot of explaining to do :thumb
     
  14. Boba Low

    Boba Low ____/
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    Better safe than sorry when it comes to kit. People always used to harness up for this, I think if you're caught you're caught (I've personally never heard of anyone getting busted actually climbing) and at least having some kind of safety on you shows a bit of responsibility. We got collared five minutes after driving away once with laps full of rope having abseiled off it. Pretty much told them what we'd been up to with a few minor untruths thrown in and were sent on our way no hassle!
     
  15. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    No, you shouldn't skimp on safety, but I believe in trying to keep the equipment to a minimum. All depends on climbing confidence and competency too I guess. We got caught doing a bridge swing off a viaduct once; they were concerned we were trying to commit suicide and had threatened to bring the helicopter out, which incurs a heavy price on our part apparently. They weren't particularly happy with what we'd taken up there and scrutinized it for a while. They turned out to be OK in the end, but I guess it also depends which sort of cop you get :thumb
     
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