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The History of the Transporter Bridge in Newport, Wales

Updated: Mar 18

Listen - The Transporter Bridge in Newport WalesNarration by Ai

The Transporter Bridge in Newport, Wales, is an iconic and one-of-a-kind structure. It is the world's oldest working transporter bridge and one of only six remaining transporter bridges.

wikipedia newport transporter bridge

The need for a bridge

The Transporter Bridge was built to address a long-standing issue for the city of Newport: how to cross the River Usk. The river has a very high tidal range, making ferry crossing difficult and dangerous. Due to the requirement for high approach ramps, a conventional bridge would have been prohibitively expensive and difficult to construct.

The solution

The solution was to construct a transportation bridge. A transporter bridge is a type of suspension bridge that transports a gondola or platform suspended from a carriage that travels across the bridge's span. The gondola can transport vehicles, passengers, and goods.

The design

Ferdinand Arnodin, a French engineer, designed the Newport Transporter Bridge. It is a cantilever bridge with two 74-meter-tall towers. The bridge's main span is 197 metres long. The gondola is suspended from a carriage that travels along the main span on a rail track.


The bridge's construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1906. On September 12, 1906, Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar, opened the bridge.

Early years

In its early years, the bridge was a huge success. Every day, it transported thousands of people and vehicles across the river. However, the rise of the automobile resulted in a decrease in the use of the bridge. By the 1960s, the bridge was on the verge of being closed.


A group of locals formed the Transporter Bridge Preservation Society in 1972 to save the bridge from closure. To restore and maintain the bridge, the society has worked tirelessly. The bridge is now a popular tourist attraction, with cyclists and pedestrians using it.

History of the Transporter bridge

The bridge today

The Newport Transporter Bridge is a one-of-a-kind and intriguing structure. It is a testament to the Edwardian era's engineering ingenuity. The bridge is also a representation of Newport and its industrial past.

Further information

  • The bridge was shut down in 1985 due to 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. The bridge reopened in 2010 following a successful funding campaign.

  • The bridge is Grade I listed, meaning that it is of the highest architectural and historical importance.

  • The bridge is also a Scheduled Monument, meaning that it is a nationally important archaeological site.

  • The bridge has been used in several films and television shows, including Doctor Who and Torchwood.


The Newport Transporter Bridge is an undoubtedly distinctive and iconic structure. It is a must-see for anyone interested in engineering history or seeking a distinctive and unforgettable experience.

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