SIR William McAlpine is to officially unveil a Transport Trust Red Wheel plaque recognising the transport heritage significance of the Tees Transporter Bridge at a ceremony on Friday, April 7.
The Tees Transporter Bridge will join an elite list of transport heritage landmarks recognised by the prestigious Transport Trust’s Red Wheel award, including the nearby Darlington North Road Station, Saltburn Cliff Lift and the sites of the Rainhill Locomotive Trails and SS Great Britain’s launch.
The Transport Trust’s Red Wheel heritage plaque scheme seeks to highlight the most important sites of transport heritage and bring them to the attention of a wider and younger audience through the installation of bespoke commemorative plaques backed up with a comprehensive website.
Founded over 50 years ago, the Transport Trust is the only charity devoted to the conservation, restoration and promotion of Britain’s transport heritage nationally and across all modes of transport – by land, air and water.
The accolade is the latest awarded to the iconic structure, recently renovated as part of the multimillion pound Heritage Lottery Fund Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience which included the installation of a new lift, gondola renovation, Visitor Centre enhancement, blue plaque trial and new interactive learning and tourism resources.
The Cleveland Bridge-designed landmark has previously received the Institute of Mechanical Engineers’ prestigious ‘Heritage Plaque’ award.
President of the Trust Sir William McAlpine, a life-long authority on the subject and sometime ‘saviour’ of Flying Scotsman, explained: “It was Britain’s leadership in engineering and transport developments that made the Industrial Revolution possible and fuelled the growth of the British Empire.
“Fortunately, many significant transport heritage sites still stand and it’s most important that we raise awareness of them, so that the present and future generations can be proud of what their forebears achieved and maybe seek to emulate them.
“The Tees Transporter Bridge is an outstanding example and I am delighted to be unveiling this award on behalf of the Transport Trust.”
Tosh Warwick, Middlesbrough Council’s Heritage Development Officer, said: “The prestigious Transport Trust ‘Red Wheel’ award recognises the importance of the Bridge as
one of the nation’s leading transport heritage sites and marks the landmark’s place as the world’s longest transporter bridge still in operation.
“The event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the new Visitor Experience which has allowed the heritage of the Tees Transporter Bridge to be enjoyed by thousands each year.”
The event is free to attend and will be followed by refreshments and a ground tour of the site.