Before ever the Barrow Railway bridge was constructed to allow the trains run from Waterford to Rosslare, New Ross Harbour Board had concerns for its positioning. The Bridge would block access to the port and to get around this an opening span wasintroduced. Procedures were also agreed to facilitate safe opening and closing procedures in an attempt to avert accidents(In this they can be proud as there was never a rail incident with the opening). Another procedure which I was
unaware of until recently was a procedure called “Warping” which was aimed at facilitating a smooth passage for sailing vessels. The procedures value was underlined, even before the bridge was officially opened.
|The bridge with the opening span under construction only two months after the incident. Note the buoy below the bridge and possibly two another above close to the cylinder stanshion
presented its own problems to the ships that passed through a narrow, tidal passage. A warping procedure was developed circa 1904, aimed specifically at sailing vessels[i] as they were at the mercy of the winds and tides. Sailing ships were required to heave to on reaching the bridge and to run a rope through two buoys, each with an eye atop. A rope was passed through each eye by a hobbler crew and retaken aboard, effectively doubling the rope and as one was tied off the slack was released by the crew. Then using the tide, they drifted through the opening span, controlling their speed with the rope, which because of the loop could be easily retrieved once the operation was completed.
Barrow was sailing down on an ebb tide under pilot Whelan (sometimes referred
to as Phelan) when she struck a glancing blow at a gangway which was being used
in the construction. Following her was the schooner Ethel of Preston under pilot
Kearne. She however struck the opening span twice. Both incidents were reported
by the builders, William Arrol & Co., who although describing the incidents as “trifling” also expressed concerns that it could be potentially more serious.[ii]
the wind was favourable, his ship was answering her helm and he had confidence
in the wind carrying them through.
as she swung on this against the tide, first the stern hit the pier head, and subsequently the bow struck one of the bridge piles.
considered that he had not “properly stated the case” to the ships brokers and
that the Captain was really responsible. The pilots (four are said to be then employed) were to be warned to use the procedure whatever ships captains might say.
Want to see the majestic structure that is the Barrow Bridge as it is today? Check it out here from Waterford Epic Locations; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osxp6UyMV0g
Following publication John Aylward mentioned in a comment that a similar procedure was used at Timber toes in the city. Presumably similar took place at Redmond bridge and at the Red Iron Bridge.
I’m open to correction on this point but I’ve not read of the procedure being
required for steamers
New Ross Standard 3/3/1905. P.7 (much of the subsequent detail is taken from
the report of the harbour Board Meeting)
A nautical term used to describe a situation when a ship cannot be steered
New Ross Standard 4/8/1905. P.2