Tay Bridge disaster

Tay Bridge Disaster

UK Rail Accident
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Tay Bridge disaster

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The Tay Bridge disaster occurred on 28 December 1879, when the first Tay Rail Bridge, which crossed the Firth of Tay between Dundee and Wormit in Scotland, collapsed during a violent storm while a train was passing over it. The bridge was designed by the noted railway engineer Sir Thomas Bouch, using a lattice grid that combined wrought and cast iron.

The disaster

During a violent storm on the evening of 28 December 1879, the centre section of the bridge, known as the "High Girders", collapsed, taking with it a train that was running on its single track. All 75 people on the train were killed. The total number was only established by a meticulous examination of ticket sales, some from as far away as King's Cross.Rolt, L T C (1955): Red for danger. The Bodley Head, London.


Investigators quickly determined many faults in design, materials, and processes that had contributed to the failure. Bouch claimed to have received faulty information regarding wind loading, but his later statements indicated that he may have made no allowance for wind load at all. Bouch had been advised that calculating wind loads was unnecessary for s shorter than , and had not followed this up for his new...
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