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Monday, November 2, 2015

Warrington Transporter bridge ~ Japanese tourist chasing dreams

There is popular saying that people go any distance – chasing their dreams !

River Mersey flows in North West England. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon language and translates as "boundary river". The river may have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria.

The Warrington Transporter Bridge across the River Mersey is a structural steel transporter bridge.   A transporter bridge (also ferry bridge)is a type of movable bridge that carries a segment of roadway across a river. The gondola is slung from a tall span bywires or a metal frame. The design has been used to cross navigable rivers or other bodies of water, where there is a requirement for ship traffic to be able to pass. This has been a rare type of bridge, with fewer than two dozen built. There are just twelve that continue to be used today !  ~ this one was constructed in 1915 and fell into disuse in approximately 1964. It was designed by William Henry Hunter and built by William Arrol.

It was the second of two transporter bridges across the Mersey at Warrington. The first was erected in 1905 slightly to the north of the existing bridge, and was described in The Engineer in 1908.A third transporter bridge over the Mersey was the Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge, built in 1905 and dismantled in 1961.The Warrington Transporter Bridge was constructed to connect the two parts of the large chemical and soap works of Joseph Crosfield and Sons. It was originally designed to carry rail vehicles up to 18 long tons (18 tonnes) in weight, and was converted for road vehicles in 1940.  The bridge is not in great shape and because of its poor condition is on the Heritage at risk register and protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

A local group called 'Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge' was formed in April 2015 to act as the independent voice of the bridge. The group is liaising with other interest groups to safeguard the future of the bridge and its industrial heritage status. FoWTB have been featured on the local BBC News program ……

MailOnline carried an interesting story of a Japanese tourist who travelled 6,000 miles to take photographs of the bridge  in Warrington... but …  went home – not being able to find it. 

A Japanese tourist was left severely disappointed after he travelled nearly 6,000 miles to visit a famous bridge - but couldn't find it.Photographer Taichi Kondo, 37, visited Cheshire last year hoping to snap the Warrington Transporter Bridge, which is the last remaining rail transporter bridge in the world.But after searching Warrington and the surrounding area for the bridge, which despite being more than 76ft high is notoriously hard to find, he admitted defeat and returned home.

Taichi Kondo did not rest there – he tried for another time and was lucky enough to find the bridge.  Mr Kondo, from Tokyo, discovered the Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge website when he was back in Japan and, before returning to the UK last month, asked travelling partner RiyoOkiyama to contact the community group for directions.Happily, the pair were much luckier on their second attempt and took snaps of the 1915-built grade two listed bridge over the River Mersey to prove they had made it when they visited in September.

Mr Kondo, who is a professional horse racing photographer, takes pictures of bridges as a hobby and held a private exhibition of his shots at Canon galleries in Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo this summer.During their trip last month he and Ms Okiyama visited the sites of other famous UK transporter bridges in Middlesbrough and Newport before continuing to Germany.  Mr Kondo dreams to hold a photo exhibition under the theme of world transporter bridges.'Through the exhibition, he wants many Japanese people to know the greatness and the present conditions of world bridges like the Warrington transporter bridge.'

Margaret Ingham, chairman of the Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge group, said: 'The bridge is difficult to find and many Warrington people do not know of its existence, hence the comprehensive directions on our homepage.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

2nd Nov 2015.

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