Friday, 21 September 2012

Pont Transbordeur, Rochfort

Being an engineer and loving all things engineered I revelled in our visit to the transporter bridge at Rochfort.

A little of the history and technical detail from (translated)

The transporter bridge of Rochefort or ferry bridge Martrou is the work of the engineer, constructor Ferdinand Arnodin . It was inaugurated on 29  July  1900.

The transporter bridge is a work of art that connects the two banks of the Charente between the towns of Rochefort and Échillais without obstructing navigation. This is one of the last existing bridges ferries France .
This bridge is based on eight masonry piers, with a depth of 19.5 meters on the north shore (Rochefort) and 8.5 meters on the south shore (Échillais), upon which four metal towers 66.25 meters high which are located 2 × 2 on both sides of the Charente. The 'tablier' is 175.50 metres long, peaking at 50 metres above the highest water flows where the slide connects these four towers between them. The space between the batteries is 129 metres and the space from platform to platform of 150 metres .
A gondola at the road allows users to move from one bank to another. It is suspended by cables from the  'tablier' and moves along the rails of the deck of 24 pairs of rollers by means of a cable which is wound and unwound on a winch drum fixed to the floor in machinery which located in the bridge abutment on the Rochefort side. The energy of the winch is supplied by two generators driven by an electric motor (originally a steam engine until 1927).

It is a fantastic piece of engineering...

Although the French are renound for their bridges the concept of the transporter bridge was invented in 1873 by Charles Smith (1844-82) the manager of an engine works in Hartlepool. The UK currently has four remaining, more details about these and Transporter Bridges in general can be found here.

1 comment:

Tim said...

It looks just like the one on Teesside!!
Great fun, the transporter bridge.