“Tyne Bridge” passing beneath Middlesbrough Transporter

These two photographs were taken on Friday 24th March 1972. “Tyne Bridge” was a 167,000 tons ore-bulk-oil (OBO) carrier, built at Swan Hunter’s Haverton Hill Shipyard (formerly Furness Shipbuilding). It was heading out for sea trials, guided by 6 tugs. The visible tugs are (left to right) Ayton Cross, Ormesby Cross, and Leven Cross. The top 12 feet of the ship’s mast was hinged to obtain clearance under the transporter. I took the photographs from British Rail’s wagon repair depot, in the one-time Port Clarence goods station.

Photographs and details courtesy of Brian Johnson.

10 thoughts on ““Tyne Bridge” passing beneath Middlesbrough Transporter

  1. I worked for Servodyne in Stockton at the time, and we built the electronic controls for the generator sets in that class of ships. Went on the sea trials of some of them, including that one.

    Colin Allison


  2. Was I correct in assuming there was an equally large and almost-complete vessel – the “Esso Northumbria” – similarly steered stern-first down the Tees around this time (1970/71?) with a mere 8ft clearance under the transporter bridge at a high tide? By then with a 8mm cine-camera and easily ‘nicking-off’ work from my employer’s Thornaby office (ha-ha!!!), I went to Middlesbrough, paid 1d to walk up the many staircases and onto the wide steel deck atop the transporter bridge to take unrepeatable footage. I’d love to relocate my filmstock to view these shots again…


    • I took these transparencies on a relatively cheap camera (Ilford Sportsman) & they don’t enlarge well. If you can find my photo of a train at Seal Sands on this site (I can’t get the search button to work) it shows the problem. I did a decent 6″x 4″ print some years ago, but my current printer had trouble with it when I tried for another some months ago. I am happy for Picture Stockton to sell you a copy, so long as they acknowledge my copyright on the back, but their offered A4 may be too much.


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