Friday 16 January 2009

Transporter Bridges Revisited

This fabulous postcard explains the romance of this antiquated but astonishing bridge technology. This is a view of the car, or gondola, that glides through the air as it crosses the River Usk at Newport. It is very similar to the example constructed in Marseille to a design by the same engineer, Fernand Arnodin (see below). There’s an affinity with the world of the seaside pier but the ornate period architecture of the shelters and control tower and the overhead canopy suggest a distinctly theatrical experience. It’s not difficult to imagine this structure simply carrying on when it reaches the distant shore and gaining altitude as it sails across the Bristol Channel and out into the open Atlantic. Next stop, Coney Island.

The gondola has an air of ramshackle fragility when compared with the mass and weight of the supporting structure. The platform would make the perfect location for a dinner party; the gentle motion of the gondola would, no doubt, assist the digestive process. There’s space to accommodate an army of chefs and even a small orchestra to grace the occasion. It would also make an unusual and rather pleasing location from which to have one’s ashes scattered. The Newport bridge has been out of action for over a year but there is encouraging news in this report in the South Wales Argus of January 2, 2009. Previous postings on this topic are here and here.

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