Germany’s oldest transporter bridge crosses the Oste river between the village of Osten and the town of Hemmoor (Basbeck district) and is the most striking structure in the Elbe-Weser triangle. For over 100 years a 38 metre high and 80 metre long steel framework has spanned the river.
This masterpiece of civil engineering was constructed in 1909 by the MAN company based in Gustavsburg near Mainz. It became necessary to build a new river crossing because when the railway line between Harburg and Cuxhaven opened in 1881, the ferry barge, which had operated at the same place until the transporter bridge was built, was no longer able to meet the growing demands for the transport of people and freight.
The transporter bridge was built to be high enough to allow all of the sailing vessels with their high masts that travelled up and down the river back then to safely pass underneath.
The gondola has been powered by electricity from day one. The engine is located high up in the cabin, as is the entire drive, which consists of four wheels (each with a circumference of 3.70 metres) running on rails.
The transporter bridge has become a landmark of the whole region and of the Deutsche Fährstraße (ferry road), and it is impossible not to be impressed by the structure. There are only eight bridges of this kind in the world.
Preservationists and an action group, which paved the way for today’s Fördergesellschaft zur Erhaltung der Schwebefähre Osten-Hemmoor e.V. in 1975, have stymied all plans to demolish the ‘Eiffel Tower of the North’ and will continue to campaign to preserve the transporter bridge.
For more information, please visit the Osten-Hemmoor transporter bridge website.