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Warrington Transporter Bridge (Crosfield's Bridge No.2)
River Mersey, Warrington, Cheshire, UK
Warrington Transporter Bridge (Crosfield's Bridge No.2)
associated engineer
William Henry Hunter
date  1914 - 1915
UK era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SJ597876
ICE reference number  HEW 140
photo  © Matt Harrop (cc-by-sa/2.0)
One of three transporter bridges remaining of the five constructed in Britain, and the only one to carry rail traffic. This bridge was the second built for the transportation of chemicals and goods to and from Crosfield’s soap works at Bank Quay, Warrington. It is no longer operational and is at risk of structural deterioration.
The other surviving transporter bridges in Britain are at Middlesbrough (constructed 1909-11) and Newport (1902-6).
Like the first transporter bridge (built about 1905, demolished in around 1962) over the tidal River Mersey at Warrington, this one was constructed to serve the soap works founded by Joseph Crosfield (1792-1844). It stands on private land where the river loops through Bank Quay.
William Henry Hunter (1849-1917), chief engineer of the Manchester Ship Canal, designed the bridge, and it was constructed by Sir William Arrol & Company. It is composed of steel lattice girders and towers, and is much more robust than the earlier, comparatively lightweight, suspension bridge that was located some 400m downstream (north west).
The towers on either bank are 21.3m high, each with a pair of legs springing from rectangular brick plinths founded on mass concrete cellular caissons. Double cantilevers on each tower support a central 61m span of riveted mild steel plates and angle iron. The bridge is 9.1m wide and provides 23.2m clearance at high water.
The travelling car, or platform, suspended from the transporter's main span was designed for rail traffic weighing up to 18.25 tonnes. It served Crosfield’s branch line from the London & North Western Railway main line to the works.
In 1940, the car was modified so that it could also take road vehicles. Further modifications in 1950 increased the bridge's load capacity to 30.5 tonnes, and the overall length of the structure to 103.3m.
In about 1964, the bridge was taken out of service. In April 1975, it was Grade II* listed. It is also a Scheduled Monument.
In 2010, the bridge was placed on the Heritage at Risk register owing to its poor state of repair. In March 2015, the local group Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge was formed "to be the independent voice of the last rail transporter bridge in the world". In 2016, the structure was nominated for the Institution of Civil Engineers North West Heritage Award.
Five transporter bridges were built in England. Three survive — this one at Warrington plus the operational ones at Newport and Middlesbrough. Two have been demolished: the Runcorn-Widness bridge and the first Warrington transporter, both built in 1905. There are six known operational transporter bridges in the world, and a further three that are disused.
Contractor: Sir William Arrol & Co
Research: ECPK
"Flying Bridges. A Short History of Transporter Bridges", eBook by Cyril J. Wood, Diarama Multi-Media, available at www.canalscape.net
reference sources   CEH North

Warrington Transporter Bridge (Crosfield's Bridge No.2)