17 February 2016

Osten Transporter Bridge, Lower Saxony

Osten Transporter Bridge was built 1908-09 to provide a crossing between Osten and Hemmoor that did not interfere with shipping on the River Oste. It is one of only 16 transporter bridges ever built to completion worldwide, and was the first of three in Germany: Osten (in use), Kiel (opened 1910, dismantled 1923), and Rendsburg (in use).

With a length of 262.5 feet (excluding the overhang), and a width of 32 feet, the bridge is of truss construction. The structure is symmetrical but for the overhang on the Osten side of the river (below).

Unusually for a transporter bridge, the gondola (next two photos) is suspended from the moving trolley by way of solid steel latticework, instead of the usual cables. Large compared to the modest scale of the bridge, the gondola can transport either 100 people or six cars at a time.

The foundations were laid by a local constructor, and the steelwork was fabricated by MAN (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg) at Gustavsburg. AEG (Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft) of Berlin undertook the work to provide electric traction, as in a tram.

The bridge operated on a regular basis until 1974. It was listed as a Technical Monument in 1975. Taken out of service in 2001 because of extensive rust damage, the bridge was recommissioned in 2006.

Now operated as a tourist attraction from April to October, Osten is one of only nine survivors from the 16, and of only seven transporter bridges still operational in their original form. A small museum devoted to the bridge can be found on the Osten side.

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