The recent unveiling of the Tower Bridge glass walkway last week was a major talking point for those who work on and around the River Thames. The thought of standing on a pane of glass 42 metres above the river may be a little unnerving to some, however there have already been a huge number of visitors who are extremely keen on the idea. The bridge attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year and is arguably one of the most iconic structures in the world.
The huge bascules were used to be powered by Victorian steam engines, but today are operated by use of oil and electricity. There is a wide misconception that there must be a cost attached to booking the bridge to lift for vessel, however you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that this service is in fact free for vessels over 30 feet in height and available every day of the year, under the Corporation of London (Tower Bridge) Act 1885.
The P.S Dixie Queen is the largest passenger boat on the River Thames and the only one which requires the bridge to lift. Those who visit the Tower Bridge walkways might just catch a glimpse of the replica paddle steamer gracefully passing beneath as traffic and pedestrians come to a standstill (click here to view video). Other boats that require a bridge lift include sailing yachts, super yachts, barges carrying substantial or unusually shaped loads, and also large cruise ships that moor alongside the HMS Belfast during their stay in London.