Lifting gear of the Linkspan

By Laurie Stonehouse and Ken Larwood

Do you remember when this happened? It was March 1995. The Stena Londoner had a disagreement with the lifting gear of the linkspan, rumours were the damage cost a £1million!, I'm not so sure.  The south terminal had to be closed, note the traffic cones in the photo.  The other terminal had to used for foot passengers.


Ken Larwood has sent in some new photos and adds the following:-

During the early hours in March 1995, I received a call from Geoff Long the Marine Superintendent, that they had a 'spot of trouble' with the Newhaven linkspan and could I get down there ASAP. Prior to retirement I was manager of an Electrical/Mechanical engineering works that looked after Sealink's plant and ships for the South East. On arrival on site I was faced with what is shown in the photos and after a debate of about two minutes with a quote of monster monies and a timescale of approx ten years, it was decided that the best solution was to ship in the now redundant linkspan from Dieppe, which as you know is what happened.

The Stena Londoner suffered just a bent Jack Staff.  



Bob Stonehouse

Photo:Damage (2)

Damage (2)

Bob Stonehouse



Kind permission of Graeme Honeyball



Kind permission of Graeme Honeyball

Photo:Inspecting the damage

Inspecting the damage

Kind permission of Ken Larwood

Photo:Underside of the winding gear

Underside of the winding gear

Kind permission of Ken Larwood

Photo:What a mess!

What a mess!

Kind permission of Ken Larwood

Photo:A close up of the damage

A close up of the damage

Kind permission of Ken Larwood

Photo:View from across the river

View from across the river

Kind permission of Ken Larwood

This page was added by Laurie Stonehouse on 09/05/2013.
Comments about this page

Yes, that was a real Oops! moment. I recall hearing on the TV breakfast news that sailings were suspended due to technical reasons, then walked the kids to school, looked across to the harbour and saw what Stena Londonder had managed to do!

By Andy Gilbert
On 05/03/2008

At least the Falaise couldn't be blamed for THAT one!

By Roger Morley
On 26/05/2008

It wasn't only Newhaven that had this problem. It happened at Dieppe also and I think there was a car on it when it happened !

By Trevor Bennett
On 12/02/2009

Yes I think you're quite right about the Dieppe incident, and I think there was a fatality, so it was quite a serious accident. Just to add a comment on our continental partners' adjustments to port terminal facilities, I know it had to come with bigger ferries and better road systems, but now that the ferry does not enter the old main harbour basin, it's lost a lot of character and charm as the boats coming or going from within this location was unique .

By Chris Young
On 17/05/2009

The Dieppe incident was on 4th October 1981. The linkspan suddenly collapsed and it was a lorry that went into the harbour, killing the driver. The service was suspended for a month.

Ironically, the lifting gear from the old Dieppe ramp is what was sent across to Newhaven to replace the damaged gear here, and of course it's still in daily use today, 45 years on from its original installation in Dieppe.

I have to agree with Chris about Dieppe. I know the basin is a thriving marina now and more 'touristy' perhaps, but where else could you step off the ferry and walk right into the main shopping street? Catching a bus around from the newer terminal just isn't the same.

By Andy Gilbert
On 19/05/2009

I came on duty that morning and went down to relieve my colleague [Brian Hawkins] at the ramp and could not believe my eyes. The Captain of the Stena Londoner which caused the damage that day was Dennis Burdett from Dover. Because of the damage to the above mentioned equipment, we had to operate the service from No 2 ramp and he was subsequently nicknamed "Basher Burdett" because he also managed to wipe out two piles on number 2 ramp while operating from there in the first week.

The outer harbour at Dieppe had just been completed at that time, and Newhaven's Technical Manager [Geoff Long] came up with the idea of dismantling the old ramp from the inner harbour at Dieppe and shipping it to Newhaven and erecting it there. The so called "new ramp" has two large hydrulic rams with the pump house on top, whereas the old one had wires and winches with the large motor room on top which was standard for all British Rail Sealink ports.

By sparks
On 19/05/2009

I was on the wheel that night we hit the link-span. The Capt and 2nd mate were on the bridge wing. What a sight that was seeing it all crashing down. We also had some office dwellers from the claims dept in Ashford on the bridge. They were in total shock after the prang. All the best to the shore guys there, I used to be on the gangway and knew most of them

By Neil Bossom
On 26/04/2010

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.