Today, covered over, the walk-ways are a major tourist attraction, containing an exhibition about the history of the bridge and offering unique views of London. The 1,000 ton bascules, which can be opened in less than 5 minutes, were originally driven by pressurised river water, pumped into hydraulic ‘rams’ by coal-burning steam engines.
Today, driven by oil and electricity, the hydraulic system is still used over 1000 times a year for passing vessels. With river traffic taking priority over road traffic, the daily flow of 40,000 people is often disrupted. The original steam engines are part of the Towers Exhibition.