The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland at 193 kilometers. On December 28, 1879, a railway bridge over the River Tay on the Dundee side collapsed when a train passed, killing 75 people. This was the worldwide shocking Tay Bridge disaster.
The current Tay Rail Bridge spanned the wide River Tay south of Dundee and was built in 1883-1887. Its predecessor collapsed due to strong winds on December 28, 1879, and the current Tay Bridge is a second generation. Proposals to build a bridge across the River Tay date back to 1854. The North British Railway (River Tay Bridge) Act received royal assent on July 15, 1870, and the foundation was laid on July 22, 1871.
The famous railway engineer Thomas Bouch designed the original Tay Bridge, which was a typical steel truss girder railway bridge. Unfortunately, almost every part of the bridge was substandard, causing the most famous bridge disaster. Even at high tide today, the original piers are still visible on the waters of the River Tay. Let's learn more about the size of the current Tay Rail Bridge in this post.
Description of The Current Tay Railway Bridge Size
The Tay Railway Bridge is a sea-crossing railway bridge on the Firth of Tay in Scotland, England, connecting Dundee with the suburb of Wormit in Fife. After the collapse of the old bridge, a new double-track bridge designed by William Henry Barlow was built 18 meters (59 feet) upstream of the original bridge, parallel to the original bridge. The foundation stone was laid on July 6, 1883. Nearly 25,000 metric tons (28,000 short tons) of steel, 70,000 metric tons (77,000 short tons) of concrete, ten million bricks (37,500 metric tons in weight), and three million rivets were used in construction. The second bridge opened on July 13, 1887, and is still in use today.
Length of The Tay Railway Bridge
The second-generation Tay Bridge was opened to traffic in 1887 and is still in use today. The completed bridge is 3,286 meters (10,709 feet) long, 2,559 meters (8,396 feet), in a straight line running virtually north / south across the Tay until it curves eastwards towards Dundee. Its overall length may vary by up to 1.14 meters (4 feet) due to the thermal expansion. The Dundee region has recorded temperatures of +29C and -17C since 1980. The Tay Railway Bridge is a double-track construction of iron and steel with 13 main spans and 76 approach spans; the longest span is 74.7 meters (245 feet).
|Total Length||3,286 m (10,709 ft)|
|Longest Span||74.7 m (245 ft)|
History of The First Tay Railway Bridge
The original railway bridge replaced earlier ferries. The first-generation bridge was opened to traffic on June 1, 1878. In 1879, Queen Victoria was very satisfied with the bridge, and the designer Bouch was canonized as a knight. At 7:15 pm on December 28, 1879, the bridge collapsed after it tilted in strong winter winds. A train carrying seventy-five passengers and staff passed through when it collapsed, killing all of them. The disaster shook the nation and sent shockwaves through the engineering community.
People salvaged the remains of the main beam and the train and found that the train was still in the main beam's iron cage, proving that the bridge's collapse caused the train to fall into the water. The failure was due to a defect in its manufacture, which meant that the bridge didn't meet the wind resistance standards the designers expected. As one of the best bridge engineers in Europe, the disaster completely ruined Bouch's reputation. In general, people's understanding of aerodynamics was limited at that time.
Only 19 months after it opened, the first Tay Bridge collapsed. Compared to earlier viaducts, the engineering details of the Tay Bridge were simpler, lighter, and cheaper. After the collapse of the old bridge, subsequent UK bridge designs must be able to withstand wind loads of up to 56 pounds per square foot (2.7 kPa). The second Tay Bridge underwent a strengthening and refurbishment project in 2003 and is currently in good working order.