The hydraulic power still used to move the bridge is today derived from electrically driven pumps. These feed a hydraulic accumulator sunk into a 60 feet (18 m) shaft below the bridge; the water is then released under pressure which runs the machinery to turn the bridge. The mechanism used for this is still the same machinery originally installed by Armstrong.
It has an 281 feet (85.6 m) cantilevered span with a central axis of rotation able to move through 360° to allow vessels to pass on either side of it.
The previous bridge on the site was demolished in 1868 to enable larger ships to move upstream to William Armstrong's works. The hydraulic Swing Bridge was designed and paid for by Armstrong, with work beginning in 1873. It was first used for road traffic on 15 June 1876 and opened for river traffic on 17 July 1876.
The Swing Bridge stands on the site of the Old Tyne Bridges of 1270 and 1781, and probably of the Roman Pons Aelius.
Famous quotes containing the words river and/or swing:
“The Xanthus or Scamander is not a mere dry channel and bed of a mountain torrent, but fed by the ever-flowing springs of fame ... and I trust that I may be allowed to associate our muddy but much abused Concord River with the most famous in history.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.”
—Gerard Manley Hopkins (18441889)