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Visit to the Armstrong Swing Bridge

May 27 2016 News >> Latest News

Swing Bridge TourThe Armstrong Swing Bridge over the River Tyne might be one of Newcastle’s finest landmarks but probably few people get to see how it works. So when FODMs member Tony Stephenson organised a tour of the bridge this was a trip not to be missed. On a gloriously sunny May day we were welcomed on board the bridge by NE England Blue Badge Guide Jan Williams. Jan gave us an excellent run through the history of bridges across the Tyne from Roman times to the present day. She the explained how the swing bridge which opened in 1876 was needed to get growing volumes of road traffic across the river and to enable increasingly larger ships to move up and down the river. History lesson over, we then went inside to see the impressive 19th Century hydraulic machinery that operates the bridge. The 1450 ton 281ft long bridge is moved by the force of water pressure generated by the heavy weight of the “accumulator” sitting on water supply. Sadly on the day the bridge team were having problems with the accumulator and we were not able to see the swing in action. However despite this it was still a real experience to walk around the bridge jetty and see the 140 year old machinery up close. Thank you Port of Tyne for allowing us to visit!

Graham Bradshaw

Swing Bridge
 

Last changed: May 27 2016

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