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Big big boats on small rivers...

The Thames isn't the world's smallest river. However, up around Hammersmith you don't expect to see anything much larger than the occasional tourist pleasure boat. I was driving over Hammersmith Bridge this afternoon, on my way back from a client, when I had a bit of aa surprise. The largest vessel I'd ever seen on the Thames was just about to go under the bridge. Not only that, but it looked like wasn't going to fit, even at low tide...

Luckily I had a digicam to hand, and found a side road where I could stop. I nipped out, and grabbed a handful of photos...

The enormous barge begins to emerge from under the bridge.

Its bridge slowly rises up from below the decks, where it retracted to avoid the span.

Almost fully back in place. Crewmen were taking photographs of the passage as if they didn't quite believe it themselves.

The barge carries on upstream, heading for the next bridge...

Thinking about the timing, and the descriptions in various news items, I'm guessing that what I saw was the sea-going barge that's going to carry the last Concorde from Heathrow to Edinburgh next week...

[Update: yes, it is that barge according to the BBC News and a transport news site found by that nice jonhoneyball]


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 29th, 2004 08:38 am (UTC)
pop-up barge? maybe that's what was underneath the Cambridge boat!
Apr. 3rd, 2004 01:47 am (UTC)
Not still bitter?

Mar. 29th, 2004 09:25 am (UTC)
It's the Terra Marique - that's _our_ barge that ! (UK taxpayers paid pretty much the entire bill to build it). It's the first bit of seriously integrated transport policy re: inland waterway freight that that UK has seen since the days of Thomas Telford.

It's a rather clever barge - there's a little one inside that comes out and fits up narrow rivers, then it clips into the seagoing barge for routing around the coast, or even across the channel.
Mar. 29th, 2004 09:30 am (UTC)
Wow. Cool pix!!! Very big boat. Big red boat!!!

Wish I could have ridden the concorde once before it was decommissioned. *le sigh*
Mar. 29th, 2004 11:35 am (UTC)
Why do I find myself thinking "Anything could happen in the next half-hour" as I contemplate that retractable bridge? ;-)
Mar. 29th, 2004 11:57 am (UTC)
Because any right-thinking chap thinks exactly that, whenever they see a great big machine painted bright colours and with a retractable whatever 8-)
Mar. 29th, 2004 10:20 pm (UTC)
Oh yes.

Though I was more expecting it to get trapped under the bridge, explode, and then a big green aircraft with lots of gadgets would land and, well...
Apr. 2nd, 2004 05:11 am (UTC)
Shrink the boat instead of raising the bridges - why hadn't someone thought of that before!?

Good pics. Reminded me of ones on the Web from a few years back of a boat that was nearly swamped as it went under a bridge - can't find them again though. )-:
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )