Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Monday, February 06, 2006

The most sophisticated bascule bridge ever built?

The design of Tower Bridge was the result of a public competition - the winning architect was Horace Jones. It was built over a period of 8 years and involved the sinking of 2 massive piers into the river bed to support it. The framework contains over 11 000 tonnes of steel. Steam was originally used to power the pumping engines but since 1976 this has been replaced by oil and electricity. The energy produced was then stored in accumulators which fed the driving engines which drove the bascules (French for see-saw or balance) up and down. Amazingly, the bascules only took about a minute to raise to their maximum 86 degrees. In 1952 A London bus had to leap from one bascule to the other when the Bridge began to rise with the bus still on it!

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