01 November 2015

Warrington - Transporter Bridge

Of the 16 transporter bridges built to completion worldwide the UK boasted four: Newport (operational), Middlesbrough (operational), Widnes-Runcorn (demolished 1961), and Warrington. Warrington (also known as Bank Quay) Transporter Bridge was commenced in 1913 and opened in 1916. It linked two parts of the Joseph Crosfield and Sons Ltd chemical and soap works, either side of the Mersey.

Designed by William Henry Hunter and built by Sir William Arrol & Co., the bridge has an overall length of 339 feet, a span of 187 feet, is 30 feet wide, and has a height above the high water level of 75 feet. The cantilevered truss structure is founded in massive concrete caissons, faced in engineering brick. These, and the heavy double cantilevers to each of the four towers, shout the industrial use.

The bridge is alternatively known as Crosfield's No.2, as there was another 'bridge' on the site, slightly further north. Built in 1905, Crosfield's No.1 is oft-cited as a transporter bridge, yet there is no evidence that it ever carried a gondola, which disqualifies it from the club. It was, in effect, a gantry crane. The trolley of No.1 was removed by the time of WWII, and the structure was demolished in the 1970s.

Warrington (Bank Quay, Crosfield's No.2) Transporter Bridge was, and is, unique in the world, in that it was designed to carry railway wagons, of up to 18 tons. (Duluth Transporter Bridge, in Minnesota, USA, did though carry trams.) The rails continued right up to the edge of the aprons either end of the bridge (above) and onto the gondola, and can still be seen in the adjoining east bank chemical works yard. The bridge was converted for use by road vehicles in 1940, and strengthened in 1950 (or 1953, depending on source) to carry loads up to 30 tons.

It ceased operations in 1964, and now stands in a very dilapidated state, the gondola stranded on the inaccessible west bank. Despite being Grade II*-listed, scheduled as an ancient monument, and included on the Heritage at Risk Register, the bridge has been left to rot, a victim of its Warrington Borough Council ownership.


  1. norman williams19.11.15

    My name is norman williams I am 78 years old I have known about the bridge since I was a boy and I would like to say that warrington council want the bride to collapse and want to know if at all the lottery could help save the bridge I have made a meccano model of the bridge it can be seen on s.t.w.t.bridge and on my Facebook page ...thank you ..norman williams

  2. Thank-you for your comment Norman. You may be interested to know that there is a group called the Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge looking into trying to save it. They have a website. Would be interested to see your Meccano model. Perhaps you could email your contact details to youngmangonewest@hotmail.com. Thanks.