Forth Railway Bridge

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The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, to the east of the Forth Road Bridge, and 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of central Edinburgh. It was opened on 4 March 1890. It is often called the Forth Rail Bridge or Forth Railway Bridge to distinguish it from the Forth Road Bridge although this is erroneous: it having been called the "Forth Bridge" since its construction and having for over seventy years the sole claim to this name. The bridge connects Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh, with Fife, leaving the Lothians at Dalmeny and arriving in Fife at North Queensferry; it acts as a major artery connecting the north-east and south-east of the country. Described in the Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland as "the one immediately and internationally recognised Scottish landmark",[1] it may be nominated by the British government to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland.[2] The bridge and its associated railway infrastructure is owned by Network Rail Infrastructure Limited. Until 1917, when the Quebec Bridge was completed, it was the longest cantilever bridge in the world. The Forth Bridge remains the second longest.[3][4]

Contents

History

Construction of an earlier bridge, designed by Sir Thomas Bouch, got as far as the laying of the foundation stone, but was stopped after the failure of another of his works, the Tay Bridge. Bouch had proposed a suspension bridge but the public inquiry into the Tay bridge disaster showed that he had under-designed the structure and mistakenly used cast iron, which weakened the entire structure. The project was handed over to two other Englishmen Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, who designed a structure that was built by Glasgow based company Sir William Arrol & Co. between 1883 and 1890. Baker – "one of the most remarkable civil engineers Britain ever produced" – and his colleague Allan Stewart received the major credit for design and overseeing building work. During its construction, over 450 workers were injured and 98 lost their lives.

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