Die größte in Betrieb befindliche  Schwebefähre der Welt überbrückt den River Tees im Nordosten Englands.


Website über
die Schwebefähre
von Middlesbrough (1)

Website der BBC, 
sehr informativ

30 alte Fotos
von der Fähre, 
unter anderem
aus der Bauphase

Wikipedia über Middlesbrough


* In 1940, during the Second World War, the bridge had a lucky escape from German bombers who narrowly missed it.

* Legend has it that one of the rivets in the Transporter is made from pure gold and was then painted over.

* The final cost of the bridge was £84,000 and it was completed 42 years after Charles Smith had produced his very first design for a transporter bridge.

* It is 259 metres or 851 feet in length, which makes it the longest of the transporters remaining in Britain.

* The height from high-water to underside of the girders is 160 feet or 49 metres and the extreme height of the bridge from high-water mark to the top of the centre of the towers is 225 feet.

* The base girders weigh 163 tons.

* The total amount of steelwork in the bridge is 2,600 tons.

* In 1913 a half crown bet led to an adventurous diver's death.

* It takes 4,000 five-litre pots - a staggering 20,000 litres - of paint to spruce up the bridge every seven years.

* In 1919 a Norwegian sailing ship hit the bridge and broke its mast.

* Last year 19,000 pedestrians and 58,300 vehicles crossed the Transporter.

* The bridge lights cost £10,000 a year.

* The Transporter is captured on the cover of the Lighthouse Family's Postcards From Heaven album.

* There are only three remaining working transporter bridges in the UK. One is in Warrington and the other, called the Newport Bridge, is in Gwent.

* The gondola takes slightly more than two minutes to complete the crossing.

* Prior to erection, in the early 1970s, of high-level access platforms, workmen were expected to walk a piece of steel about four inches wide, at a height of 150 feet or 46 metres above the ground, carrying a can of grease and any tools and equipment.


Middlesbrough is situated on the south bank of the River Tees. It has a long industrial heritage with the coal and iron industries using the river to transport materials, and the shipyards based on the River Tees. The factories and processing plants are still there today. It also has four shopping centres and all the facilities you would expect with a population of about 200,000. 

Places of interest: 
Middlesbrough is famous for being the birth place of Captain Cook and celebrates this with an award winning museum. Other museums relating to Middlesbrough's history sit comfortably alongside art galleries and the unique Nature's World to give visitors a wide selection of places to visit. There is also the Middlesbrough Theatre, an Art Gallery, and a multiplex cinema at Teeside Park. 

Nature's World is a unique visitor attraction, extending to over 25 acres, provides a model for a balanced and sustainable future. Attractions include a traditional composting and organic gardens, a 400m long working River Tees model and a futuristic eco-structure and hydroponicum. 

Captain Cook's Birthplace Museum is close to where he was born in 1728. It is an award winning museum showing the life of Captain James Cook and his voyages of discovery. It also houses interactive displays and exciting audio-visual presentations, hands-on experiences, exhibition area, café and gift shop. 

Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre shows Middlesbrough's Industrial Heritage and the history of this unique bridge. The bridge, opened in 1911, has a middle that acts as a ferry across the Tees. 

Dorman Museum is a refurbished museum displaying the history of Middlesbrough from the 19th century, a collection of Middlesbrough and Linthorpe pottery, exhibitions, discovery centre, and cafe. 

Middlesbrough Art Gallery combines an art gallery with exhibitions by local artists. 


Aliens in
der Gondel

Weltgrößte Fähre mit Webcam und Videos

Im Jahre 1907 erbaut (Video hier), ist die Transporter Bridge von Middlesbrough, die den River Tees überspannt, die größte noch in Betrieb befindliche Schwebefähre der Welt. 
Die Fähre befördert 750 Passagiere und 600 Fahrzeuge pro Tag in jeweils zweieinhalb Minuten. 

Webcam-Foto - aktuellere Aufnahme hier

Eine BBC-Webcam überträgt tagsüber aktuelle Schnappschüsse von der Fähre. Eine Website berichtet ausführlich über die Geschichte der Fähre.

Aus der TV-Serie "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet"

Das Baudenkmal ist durch die TV-Serie "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" weithin bekannt geworden ist - Thema: Die Transporter Bridge wird demontiert und nach Arizona geschickt. (Mehr auf der Fanseite zur Serie, auf der auch alle Locations abgebildet sind.)

Altes Fähren-Logo an einem Laternenpfahl

Die Stadt Middlesbrough hat die Schwebefähre zu einem zentralen Bestandteil ihrer Tourismuswerbung und ihres Stadtmarketings gemacht. 

Das neue Stadt-Logo (Bild oben) zeigt zwei aufwärts zeigende Pfeile, die sich zu einer stilisierten Schwebefähre zusammenfügen.

Fähren-Bild in einer Hotel-Rezeption

Middlesbrough verfügt - neben Rochefort - über das weltweit beste Besucherzentrum einer Schwebefähre. 

Der geräumige Bau direkt neben der Fähre (siehe Luftaufnahme) bietet Platz für mindestens einen Bus voller Gäste.
Das Besucherzentrum ist mit audiovisuellen Hilfsmitteln ausgestattet.
Gezeigt werden Dokumente und Bilder, unter anderem von derm Vorgänger der Schwebefähre, einem Fährschiff, ...
... sowie künstlerische Darstellungen des Bauwerks.
Ein Modell veranschaulicht das Größenverhältnis früherer Segelschiffe zur Schwebefähre.
Natürlich informiert die Ausstellungen auch über die Schwesterfähren in aller Welt...
... von Buenos Aires bis Osten an der Oste.
An Monitoren können unter anderem Video-Animationen des Künstlers Dave Brunskill betrachtet werden, ...
... die die Schwebefähre zum Thema haben; mit Kindern aus Middlesbrough hat Brunskill er im Besucherzentrum der Fähre das Video "Aliens in der Gondel". 
Auch das Internet ermöglicht verschiedene virtuelle Reisen mit der Fähre. Hier geht's los, per Mausklick...
Dieses wunderschöne Foto (von der sehenswerten Website von Carol Green) zeigt die H. M. Bark "Endeavour", eine Nachbildung des berühmten Schiffs von Käptn James Cook, auf dem Fluß Tees unter der Schwebefähre von Middlesbrough. Anlass war der 275. Jahrestag der Geburt von James Cook Ende 2003.
Der Name Cooks ist im Stadtbild vielerorts präsent, zum Beispiel in diesem Pub an der Ferry Street, die zur Schwebefähre führt.

Bungee-Sprung von
der Schwebefähre

Video (youtube) hierabspielen

Ein Förderverein für den britischen Fußball-Erstligisten Middlesbrough AFC - kurz "Boro" genannt - hat im August 2006 ein öffentliches Bungee-Springen von der örtlichen Schwebefähre veranstaltet.

Der Erlös soll dazu beitragen, der britischen Fußball-Legende Brian Clough (Fanseite hier, Vita bei Wikipedia) ein Denkmal zu setzen, schreibt heute die Zeitung Guardian (Text hier).

"Cloughie"-Buch, -Statue (Entwurf)

Es handele sich um die erste Bungee-Sprungveranstaltung von einer Brücke über einen britischen Fluß. Zuvor hatte dort lediglich ein Lokalreporter einen Probesprung gewagt (Reportage hier).

Mehr über die Schwebefähre von Middlesbrough, die im kommenden Jahr 100 Jahre alt wird, unter schwebefaehre.org.

Nächstes Jahr 100. Geburtstag: "Boro"-Fähre

Ein Video von den Bungee-Sprüngen in Middlesbrough kann hier abgespielt werden.

Sep 15 2004

on show

These are eyecatching models of the Middlehaven masterplan, on display today at a prestigious event in Italy. The scheme is being showcased at the Venice Biennale 9th International Architecture Exhibition.
Commissioned by urban regeneration company Tees Valley Regeneration, the scheme will transform Middlesbrough's 250-acre Middlehaven area.
The development, which represents a combined public and private sector investment of £500m, includes offices, apartments, hotels, leisure outlets and adventure sporting attractions that will boost the local economy and create jobs.
The buildings include a primary school in the shape of a giant spelling block; a Rubik's Cube cinema; a ten-storey office block nicknamed Marge Simpson's hair, apartment blocks inspired by Prada skirts, a toaster theatre and a hotel in the shape of the game Kerplunk, all set in a landscape planted in daring, coloured "stripes".
This year's Venice exhibition - Metamorph explores the fundamental changes under way in contemporary architecture.

A 4.5-metre-long model of the Middlehaven development is being exhibited in The Corderie in the Venice Arsenale - the venue for works that have transformed architecture since the 1970s.

TVR chief executive Joe Docherty said the project was as challenging and visionary as any urban development in the world today.

"This masterplan is attracting attention from around the globe. We've had inquiries from developers from as far afield as Dubai and America and it is fitting that the model will be unveiled at the prestigious Venice Biennale. Our aim is to change the narrative of the Tees Valley.

City von Middlesbrough

"The importance of the built environment to the regeneration of a region cannot be over emphasised. We are very excited about this masterplan and believe that through bold, exciting and confident architecture we can really begin to change people's aspirations," he said.

Will Alsop, head of the multi award winning Alsop Architects practice, which is behind the masterplan, said: "The Venice Biennale is a highlight in the architectural world and we are delighted to be showcasing our Middlehaven project there.

"When we arrived in the Tees Valley, we knew very little about the region except that it had provided the inspiration for Ridley Scott's Blade Runner film. What we found was a brave, beautiful landscape inhabited by a series of massive objects.

"Our response emerged quickly - we would create a beautiful landscape for Middlehaven - a landscape fit for the 21st century and inhabited by 21st century icons´┐Żextraordinary objects sitting proudly in a new and extraordinary landscape. The Transporter Bridge and Riverside Stadium were taken as markers of scale and grandeur, but now, next to the wide expanse of the Tees, will sit a new generation of icons."

Bridge team's 
royal meeting

Sep 26 2003

Middlesbrough could link up with other towns and cities with transporter bridges to provide a better future for the structures. 

And the move has been given the seal of approval by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos.

Audienz bei König Juan Carlos I.

Middlesbrough councillor John McPartland, with Rodger Wakerley, a senior engineer with the authority, were Middlesbrough's drepresentatives at a gathering in Spain of delegates from towns with transporter bridges.

Delegates came from Warrington and Newport in the UK and from towns in France, Germany, and Argentina.

It was hosted by the company operating the  transporter bridge in Bilbao.

Delegates first met in Madrid where King Juan Carlos, the senior patron of the transporter bridge in Bilbao held a reception.

Cllr McPartland said: "We spent half an hour with the King. I presented him with a brochure about Middlesbrough and its Transporter Bridge. I told him that people on Teesside were not only proud of their Transporter Bridge but it was Teesside people who had built it.

"I also mentioned the arrival of Spanish international Gaizka Mendieta at the Boro," said Cllr McPartland.

Rodger Wakerly (l.) mit deutschem Gast

Delegates travelled to Bilbao where they viewed its transporter bridge which carries 32,000 foot passengers and 1,200 vehicles every day.

"It is part of the living fabric of the city," said Cllr McPartland.

An initial meeting was held about forming an association of towns and cities with transporter bridges.

Cllr McPartland, who is a big fan of the Transporter Bridge and wants to see it develop as a visitor attraction in the future, added: "It is a link with the past but it also has a wonderful future. We have to cherish it."

Oct 2 2003

Symbol of hope

The Transporter Bridge is one of Teesside's most recognisable landmarks.

While the bridge is getting a lick of paint, we look back over the past 92 years to find out more about the quirky history of the impressive structure.

The Transporter Bridge towers above the River Tees and is a welcome home beacon to any Teessider - native or adopted.

Opened in 1911, the Teesside landmark celebrates its centenary in eight years and is currently having its regular re-paint.

This year is an exciting one for the bridge. Middlesbrough is gearing up for its 150th anniversary, Middlesbrough Council chiefs have been in talks with the King of Spain to discuss the future of Europe's transporter bridges and it is celebrating its 92nd birthday this month in spectacular style.

This year Middlesbrough is celebrating the 275th anniversary of Captain James Cook's birth and on October 17 - the bridge's birthday - Cook's ship the HM Bark Endeavour will be sailing up the River Tees on the morning tide.

The authentic replica of the world explorer's 18th century vessel will enter the dock and sail under the Transporter Bridge at about 9am.

Middlesbrough could link up with other towns and cities with transporter bridges to provide a better future for the structures - a move which has been given the seal of approval by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos.

Middlesbrough councillor John McPartland, with Rodger Wakerley, a senior engineer with the authority, were Middlesbrough's representatives at a gathering in Spain of delegates from towns with transporter bridges last month.

Delegates came from Warrington and Newport in the UK and from towns in France, Germany, and Argentina. It was hosted by the company operating the transporter bridge in Bilbao, Spain.

Delegates first met in Madrid where King Carlos, the senior patron of the transporter bridge in Bilbao held a reception.

Cllr McPartland said: "We spent half an hour with the King. I presented him with a brochure about Middlesbrough and its Transporter Bridge.

"I told him that people on Teesside were not only proud of their Transporter Bridge but it was Teesside people who had built it."

Delegates travelled to Bilbao where they viewed its transporter bridge which carries 32,000 foot passengers and 1,200 vehicles every day.

An initial meeting was held about forming an association of towns and cities with transporter bridges.

Cllr McPartland, who is a big fan of the Transporter Bridge, wants to see it develop as a visitor attraction in the future.

Contractors are currently repainting the structure and as part of the work the trolley rails, which carry the gondola across the Tees, have to be removed.

The painting work, costing about £350,000, is expected to be completed by November.

The next time the bridge is repainted is likely to be in 2010, the year before its centenary.

Rodger Wakerley, principal engineer at Middlesbrough Council, has been in charge of the Transporter since 1998.

"The Transporter was built for the coal industry," says Rodger. "In 1985 it was made a Grade II starred listed building so it's protected.

"The bridge is very popular with people from Teesside, around the UK and even the world.

"On our Heritage Day 2002, after the publicity of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, 1,001 people came in one Saturday to see the bridge which was fantastic."

The re-painting and steelwork repairs are being carried out by TI Protective Coatings, from Bolton.

The paint helps to protect the bridge from the ravages of the elements. The bridge will continue to operate during most of the re-painting work.

The visitor centre was opened in 2000 and it is hoped that the opening hours will be increased to allow more people to see the exhibits.

In September 2001, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was filmed in three weeks on site.

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was the result of the fertile imagination of Norton-born moviemaker Franc Roddam.

His Teessiders became mainly Geordies, a change which has always grated with Franc.

But when the television series made a return to the small screen after a 15-year gap, Franc wrote the whole series based around the gang dismantling and selling the Transporter Bridge, and rebuilding it in Arizona.

The storyline caused quite a stir, sparking many calls and letters both to the Evening Gazette and Middlesbrough Council.

"I had to send quite a few letters to people reassuring them that it was due to computer technology and the bridge had not really been moved," says Rodger.

And the Gazette had to publish an article informing the public that the bridge was in fact still intact.

In September 2000, the Transporter was seen across the globe on the big screen in Billy Elliot.

Young Billy, played by Billingham's then 13-year-old Jamie Bell, travelled across it to Tchaikovsky's music in one of the most evocative entrances to Middlesbrough ever seen.

Album von Lighthouse Family

The bridge is also on the sleeve cover of the Lighthouse Family's album Postcards From Heaven.

And the bridge is going nowhere.

"It can't. It's a listed building," says Ian Stubbs, Middlesbrough's assistant curator of museums and galleries.

"English Heritage would not let anyone pull it down. It is ranked in the top 17pc of buildings in the country."

It's even been the setting for a marriage proposal! When Justin Goult, 33, from Redcar, decided to pop the question, he looked no further than the Transporter.

"Some people might not think it's romantic but for me, it's a big symbol of Teesside, where I'm from," says Justin.

He left the area 12 years ago to work and live in Walthamstow, London, with Louisa Rampersad, 29.

But he proposed on a weekend break back to the North-east and she said yes.

It's been the site for many wacky stunts including charity fundraisers which have seen adventurous Teessiders abseil from the bridge.

Earlier this year, one-wheeled Canadian wonder Kris Holm pedalled his way across the Transporter Bridge on his unicycle.

So amazing are his feats, they have helped him to secure enough sponsorship to become the world's only professional unicyclist.

Billy and the "terrifically
impressive structure" 

Auch in dem Film "Billy Elliott" spielt die "transporter bridge" von Middlesbrough mit. Zu den Klängen von Tschaikowskys "Schwanensee" schwebt die Fähre über den River Tees. In einer Filmkritik heißt es:

"Although the film is rigorous in its use of Easington locales, there's an unexplained scene which takes place 25 miles south on Middlesbrough's transporter bridge - a terrifically impressive, cinemagenic structure, but would it have been too much trouble to write a line of dialogue explaining what these characters are doing so far from home?"

Die bekannteste Attraktion von Middlesbrough wird ... 100 Jahre alt. Die Transporter Bridge ist ein Stahlkoloß und die größte in Betrieb befindliche Schwebefähre der Welt. Nach wie vor überqueren auf ihr täglich 750 Personen im Nordosten Englands den Fluß Tees und blicken dabei auf marode Industriebauten, Schrottplätze und das zweitwichtigste Gebäude der Stadt hinab. Nur wenige hundert Meter entfernt befindet sich das am Ufer gelegene Riverside Stadium, Spielstätte des FC Middlesbrough...

Im Gegensatz zur Umgebung stand der Fußballklub noch bis vor kurzem in der Blüte seines Schaffens. 1876 gegründet, gewann Middlesbrough erst 2004 den ersten nationalen Titel. Durch den Sieg im Ligapokal eroberte der Verein einen Platz im Uefa-Cup, ... Erfolge, die die Verantwortlichen träumen ließen, sogar das Wort von der Champions League machte die Runde. Die Realität sieht anders aus... (Die Welt, 16. 2. 2006).

Unsung Landmarks
(BBC). For some, Britain's most notable landmarks are the likes of Edinburgh Castle or St Paul's Cathedral. But beautiful and impressive as they are, these are Britain's picture postcard landmarks, and there are plenty more that might be worthy of the status of landmark. 

They are buildings that might only dream of featuring in a Visit Britain commercial, and yet they are every bit as distinctive as our castles and cathedrals. 

The OED gives the definition of a landmark as "an object in the landscape, which, by its conspicuousness, serves as a guide in the direction of one's course (orig. and esp. as a guide to sailors in navigation); hence, any conspicuous object which characterises a neighbourhood or district". 

Die Fähre - eingebunden ins Wanderwegenetz

There can be few buildings that fit the bill as well as Northampton's Express Lift tower. ... Another symbol of bygone technology is the gasometer at London's Oval... Hundreds of miles to the north, there is Middlesbrough's transporter bridge, one of only three left in the country. It is said to be the most photographed site in Middlesbrough, but then Ironopolis, as the town is sometimes known, is not an A-list spot on the tourist trail. However, what the bridge lacks in internationally appreciated elan it more than makes up for in local love. 

Die Ferry Road führt zur Schwebefähre

When the BBC used it as the backdrop for a series of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, with the plot seeing it dismantled and taken to America, it had to put a disclaimer on the programme, reminding viewers that it was fiction. 

Middlesbrough is said to have been the inspiration for the spectacular but dystopian industrial backdrop of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.(...)


Terrifically impressive structure
Auch in dem Film "Billy Elliott" spielt die Schwebefähre von Middlesbrough mit. Mehr...

Middlesbrough (1911). Como símbolo de la ciudad, sa anagrama figura en papeleras y otros elementos del mobiliario urbano. Es propiedad del Middlesbrough Borough Council y su mantenimiento y servicio esta subcontratado a la empresa privada Stage Coach. Con una ditancia entre torres de 260 metros, la altura de las mismas es de 68 metros y el travesano está 54 metros sobre el nivel del rio. El tablero superior se puede visitar, previo pago, durante determinadas fechas del ano (Fomento).

El 17 de diciembre de 1911 el príncipe Arthur de Connaught inauguraba el puente transbordador de Middlesbrough. Las dimensiones son las siguientes: altura de las torres 68 metros, altura del travesano sobre el nivel del rio 54 metros. Este transbordador funciona en la actualidad con un horario de 5 de la mafiana a 23 horas los dfas laborables, siendo los festivos de entre las 14 horas a las 23.

On l7th December, 1911, Prince Authur of Connaught inaugurated the Middlesbrough transporter bridge. Its measurements are the following: height of the towers 68 metres, height of the upper span above sea level, 54 metres. This transporter bridge runs at present from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and from 2 p.m. to llp.m. at Weekends.

Alfredo Pérez Trimino: "Puente Vizcaya - mi vida en imágines", Bilbao, 2000.

The span 
of history

* 1873: Charles Smith, manager of the Hartlepool Ironworks, designed the Ferry Bridge, the originator of the principle of this type of bridge. He proposed that the cost of the bridge would be £31,162, which was deemed too expensive at that time and steam ferries, costing £6,050 each, were used instead.

* 1893: The first Transporter bridge was erected in Bilbao, Spain.

* 1906: On October 19 the council met Ferdinand Arnodin, the French pioneer engineer of transporter bridges, and discussed with him the erection of a bridge across the River Tees.

* 1910: On August 3 the formal layering of two foundation stones at the Middlesbrough base of the bridge was performed by Lieutenant Colonel T. Gibson Poole, chairman of the Ferry Committee and then Mayor, and Alderman Joseph McLauchlan, the initiator of the scheme.

* 1911: On October 17, Prince Arthur of Connaught opened the bridge. The opening ceremony was one of the biggest events in Middlesbrough's short history. Schools, shops and factories were closed for the day as people flocked to the riverside to watch the event.

* 1993: The installation of flood lighting that operates during the winter months. In December the bridge was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' highest honour, The Heritage Plaque, for engineering excellence.

* 1996: In April, local government reorganisation transferred the ownership of the bridge to Middlesbrough Council and Stockton Council with Middlesbrough Council responsible for its day to day running and maintenance.

* 2003: The Transporter celebrates its 92nd birthday. It is re-painted at a cost of £350,000, four times its original £84,000 cost.

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