Rouen Transporter Bridge

Rouen Transporter Bridge

At Rouen, French engineer F.J. Arnodin built a transporter bridge across the River Seine. It was a suspension bridge with towers 67 m. high, to which for a charge of 50 centimes the public could gain access via staircases for sightseeing. The span was 143 m. and the height of the girder crossing was 50 m above the water level. It was opened on 16th September 1899.

Our postcard by French card producers, Lévy Fils et Cie, of 44 Rue Letellier, Paris, dates from around 1910 and shows the passenger and vehicle carrying platform. This was 13 m. long by 10 m. wide and was about 7 m. above mean tide, but was said to have become submerged in the Seine floods of January 1910. It had 1st class (glazed) and 2nd class (open sided) passenger shelters at fares of 10 and 5 centimes respectively. At the opening it was painted green and white, but two months later was repainted salmon-pink.

Rouen Transporter Bridge The crossing took 55 seconds, being driven by two tramway type electric motors. These and a winding drum were mounted on the platform itself, on a gantry structure above the vehicle area. Cables passed from there up to a trolley running on rails suspended from the span and then to the towers. Thus the platform wound itself across the river. As this odd arrangement added some 7 tons to the platform's weight, it was later replaced by the more conventional set up of having a fixed winding house at the shore end of the bridge.

The driver was in a cabin above the 1st class saloon, where there was a tram type controller. Power came from the tramway power station in Rue de Blosseville, close to the south end of the bridge. Rouen trams served both banks of the river next to the bridge and a tram crossing was considered but was never undertaken, although the bridge was tested to carry 100 tonnes.

The Rouen bridge was blown up by French Army engineers in June 1940.

The small view of the complete bridge is from a card by Imprimeries Réunies de Nancy.

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