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Day 141 - Barton Swing Bridge | by JonSaunders
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Day 141 - Barton Swing Bridge

On the outskirts of Trafford Park on the road to Worsley is the Barton Swing Bridge... well, two of them actually. One carried the road - which is where I stood to take this shot. The other - pictured here - carries a canal.


I find this sort of local engineering history really interesting. Yes, I'm proud to be a geek. You can read a really good article all about it here, together with further good photographs. I especially like the fact that they replaced the original stone canal bridge with this swing bridge in 1893 with, what was at the time, cutting edge technology of the swing bridge. But they couldn't test the new bridge until after they knocked down the old one, because there wasn't enough room!


It was replaced by a unique swing aqueduct that was opened in 1893 and was an even more daring structure than the original aqueduct, consisting of a channel that could be sealed off at each end to form a 235 feet long and 18 feet wide tank, holding 800 tons of water, that swung round on its pivot, situated on an island in the middle of the Ship Canal.

The swing aqueduct was built alongside the original stone aqueduct so it was impossible to test whether it worked by swinging it open with a tankful of water until the original aqueduct had been demolished!

However, the faith in the designers and engineers was well placed and the aqueduct has been swinging successfully ever since.

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Taken on May 21, 2009