The first railway bridge over the River Tay in Dundee was designed by Thomas Bouch and was officially opened on 26 September 1877. It had taken 6 years to build and 10 million bricks, 2 million rivets, 87,000 cubic feet of timber and 15,000 casks of cement.Queen Victoria crossed it in the summer of 1879 and knighted Thomas Bouch soon afterwards.
Everything went well at first, but on 28 December 1879 there was a storm so fierce that the engineers were worried that the structure would be weakened. They tried to alert the railway authorities to the danger, but it was too late and a train had already started to cross the bridge. It collapsed under the weight and the train plunged into the river. Seventy-nine people were killed.
Speculation is still rife concerning the exact cause of the disaster, but it brought about a countrywide review of bridge safety. Thomas Bouch died shortly afterwards, a broken man. A new, modified Tay Bridge was built parallel to the original bridge, using undamaged girders from the first bridge. It was completed in 1885. Many people claim to have seen a ghost train at the site of the old bridge on the anniversary of the disaster and to have heard people screaming.Bridge | Dayton | Emily | Farndon | Glasgow | Newton Falls | North England | Wakefield |
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