Tales of the Tees – Transporter Bridge


Newport Bridge

There is probably no more famous landmark in Teesside than the Transporter Bridge. Opened in 1911, it replaced two steam ferries that transported mainly workers to the many factories on either side of the river. Its design was determined by the number of vessels that still used the river, it could not get in the way of the boats. When opened, the bridge was paint red, it only became blue in 1961. In fact the bridge has been repainted every five years or so to stop the corrosion.

The bridge is essentially a funicular with a gondola fixed to a steel rope. The rope is moved around huge pulley wheels and the gondola moves with it. You can fit around 200 people or 9 cars on the gondola with a small toll being paid for crossings. Unfortunately the bridge has not been operational since 2022 and it requires some major work to replace rotten parts before it can open again. There is a lot of support in the area to make that happen with money recently being committed by TVCA.


Today you can visit the small museum located next to the southern legs of the bridge and outside is a sculpture my Mackenzie Thorpe. If you are daft enough you can even book to bungee jump off the middle of the bridge but this only happens from time to time.

Other resources

The history of the Transporter Bridge

Very simple facts and figures about the bridge

A bridge operative talks about the bridge

Crossing the Bridge video

Drone footage of the bridge in its current colours

Map of the area just after the bridge was built – clear view of the industry at the time

Original footage of the opening day. Watch for the guy who falls off!