the tay bridge disaster

in words of terror spread; I consider that every bolt should have been a steady pin, and should have fitted the holes to which it was applied, that every strut should have had a firm abutment, that the joints of the columns should have been incapable of movement, and that the parts should have been accurately fitted together, storey by storey upon land and carefully marked and put together again as they had been properly fitted.[112]. Bouch died less than a year after the disaster, his reputation ruined. It carried a single rail track. Only 46 bodies were recovered, but there were 59 known victims, 74 or 75 people were believed to be on the train. The Tay Bridge Disaster is a lesson (case study) to Project Managers and Civil Engineers on how NOT to undertake a large project. Law had 'not seen anything to indicate that the carriages left the line' (before the bridge collapse)[117] nor had Cochrane[81] nor Brunlees. Incompetent engineering and atrocious weather led to the deaths of an estimated 75 people in the 1879 tragedy. [64], Bouch kept his own 'resident engineer', William Paterson, who looked after the construction of the bridge, its approaches, the line to Leuchars, and the Newport branch. Then hurrah! Bouch himself had been up about once a week whilst the design was being changed, but "afterwards, when it was all going on, I did not go so often". Because he sped on to Stonehaven with all his might: And was first seen by the crew of a Gourdon fishing boat. To reduce the weight these had to support, Bouch used open-lattice iron skeleton piers: each pier had multiple cast-iron columns taking the weight of the bridging girders. The thread would easily crush and allow play to develop, and the off-centre loading would fail the lugs at much lower loads than if the hole was cylindrical. [167] The German poet Theodor Fontane, shocked by the news, wrote his poem Die Brück' am Tay. A flash is seen-the Bridge is broke- Law had seen no evidence of burnt-on lugs. Which will be remember’d for a very long time. In 1879 the Tay Bridge was the longest bridge in the world, spanning two miles across the Tay estuary in southeastern Scotland. The Tay Bridge Disaster. Windspeeds were normally measured in 'miles run in hour' (i.e. Sir George Stokes agreed with Airy that 'catspaws', ripples on the water produced by gusts, could have a width of several hundred yards. Law had numerous criticisms of the bridge design, some echoed by other engineers: Both Pole and Law had calculated the wind loading needed to overturn the bridge to be over 30 psf (1.4 kPa) (taking no credit for holding-down bolts fastening the windward columns to the pier masonry)[110] and concluded that a high wind should have overturned the bridge, rather than cause it to break up (Pole calculated the tension in the ties at 20 psf (0.96 kPa) windloading to be more than the 'usual margin of safety' value of 5 tons per square inch but still only half the failure tension. The bracing had failed by the lugs giving way; in nearly every case, the fracture ran through the hole. [97], Baker argued that the wind pressure on the high girders had been no more than 15 psf (0.72 kPa), from the absence of damage to vulnerable features on buildings in Dundee and the signal cabins at the south end of the bridge. 88–97 (David Pirie, Peter Robertson, John Milne, Peter Donegany, David Dale, John Evans), Mins of Ev pp. ", the contractor did his bit- Arrols were also simultaneously involved in building, Bridge design is described (intermittently) in Minutes of Evidence pp. [35][note 9] The Dundee stationmaster had passed Robertson's complaint about speed (he had been unaware of any concern about oscillation) on to the drivers, and then checked times from cabin to cabin (at either end of the bridge the train was travelling slowly to pick up or hand over the baton). 427–429 (Sir Thomas Bouch), Mins of Ev pp. [159][160][161][162] The stumps of the original bridge piers are still visible above the surface of the Tay. 30 psf or 1.4 kPa with the usual margin of safety). Then hurrah! Black explained that the guard rails protecting against derailment were slightly higher than and inboard of the running rails. The bolt-maker had gone bankrupt and various disgruntled workmen had alleged that the iron was bad, the bolt-maker’s buyer bribed, and the bolts untested. [165][166], The disaster inspired several songs and poems, most famously William McGonagall's "The Tay Bridge Disaster", widely considered to be of such a low quality as to be comical. [note 30] Had collision with the eastern girder slewed the frame, it would have presented the east side to the oncoming brake van, but it was the west side of the frame that was more damaged. "[155] It had to be dismantled and rebuilt by Sir William Arrol to a design by W. R. Galbraith before the line could be opened to traffic in 1881. 15th August 2016. [158], The locomotive, NBR no. No matter what other people may think or what is their creed; I know fishermen in general are often very poor. The locomotive was dropped during retrieval, but eventually recovered and returned to service. [125] The tender coupling (which clearly could not have hit a girder) had also been found in the bottom boom of the eastern girder. Rail bridge wall collapse closes line near crash scene. First rail bridge. Bouch had sought expert advice on wind loading when designing a proposed rail bridge over the Firth of Forth; as a result of that advice he had made no explicit allowance for wind loading in the design of the Tay Bridge. There were over 4,000 gib and cotter joints on the bridge, but Noble said that only about 100 had had to be re-tensioned, most in October–November 1878. He had also seen this on the previous train. Thomas Bouch: Architect of the Tay Bridge disaster. [7] Witnesses said the storm was as bad as any they had seen in the 20–30 years they had lived in the area;[8][9] one called it a 'hurricane', as bad as a typhoon he had seen in the China Sea. The Tay Bridge disaster occurred on Sunday 28th December 1879, resulting in the loss of life of approximately 75 people travelling on the train. [45] Noble, who was a bricklayer, not an engineer, had worked for Bouch on the construction of the bridge.[46]. Noble had found cracks in four column sections – one under the high girders, three to the north of them – which had then been bound with wrought iron hoops. The first Tay Rail Bridge collapsed while a train was passing over it from Wormit to Dundee, killing all aboard. How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879. [56] According to his predecessor, burning-on had only been carried out on temporary 'lifting columns', which were used to allow the girders to be lifted into place and were not part of the permanent bridge structure. ’Twas in the month of December, and in the year 1883,That a monster whale came to Dundee,Resolved for a few days to sport and play,And devour the small fishes in the silvery Tay. [168][169] It was published only ten days after the tragedy happened. While they fired at him their sharp harpoons: But when struck with the harpoons he dived below. Among the innocent little fishes in the beautiful Tay. Two witnesses, viewing the high girders from the north almost end-on, had seen the lights of the train as far as the 3rd–4th high girder, when they disappeared; this was followed by three flashes from the high girders north of the train. Good Heavens! Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}56°26′14.4″N 2°59′18.4″W / 56.437333°N 2.988444°W / 56.437333; -2.988444, For William McGonagall's poem on this subject, see, Salvage operations underway in the Firth of Tay and dockside, How the bridge was used – speed of trains and oscillation of bridge, How the bridge was maintained – chattering ties and cracked columns, How the bridge was built – the Wormit foundry, How the bridge was built – management and inspection, Modelling of bridge failure and conclusions drawn, Law: causes were windloading, poor design and poor quality control, Pole: causes were windloading and impact of derailed carriages, Presentational differences between reports, Wind Pressure (Railway Structures) Commission. In order to accommodate thermal expansion, at only three of their fourteen piers was there a fixed connection from the pier to the girders. Because ninety lives had been taken away, As soon as the catastrophe came to be known. Cochrane and Brunlees, who gave evidence later, largely concurred. … The Tay Bridge Disaster as the incident is popularly known , was one of the worst structure failures of the time both in terms of the size and significance of the structure and also was one of the biggest disasters as it took lives of 75 people. So Mr John Wood has bought it for two hundred and twenty-six pound. It does not do to speculate upon whether it is a fair estimate or not". By 3 January 1880, they were taking evidence in Dundee; they then appointed Henry Law (a qualified civil engineer) to undertake detailed investigations. The change in design increased cost and necessitated delay, intensified after two of the high girders fell when being lifted into place in February 1877. The number of deaths was actually 75, not 90 as stated in the poem. The Tay Bridge Disaster happened on December 28 1879. Alas! The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow, And many of the passengers with fear did say—, “I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”. Noble had consulted Bouch about the cracked columns, but not the chattering ties. [68] Throughout construction, Noble had been looking after foundations and brickwork. A further passenger witness spoke of a 'prancing motion' like that felt descending from, They had never worked on a lattice girder bridge before; from disinterested recollections of the viaducts on the Stainmore line, "any of these tie-bars formed by two flat bars of iron are naturally a little out of line because they cross each other, and if they were loose and if there was any vibration it would make one bar strike against another, consequently you would have the noise of one piece of iron hitting against the other". Over most of the crossing the single-track line ran above lattice-work spans made from wrought iron. [note 14] If a casting had blowholes or other casting defects considered to be minor faults, they were filled with 'Beaumont egg'[note 15] (which the foreman kept a stock of for that purpose) and the casting was used. it was a most fearful and beautiful sight,To see it lashing the water with its tail all its might,And making the water ascend like a shower of hail,With one lash of its ugly and mighty tail. [115] (Bouch's own view that collision damage to the girder was the sole cause of bridge collapse[116] found little support). By 5.15 pm a gale was moving in from the west and the river, in the words of the Captain, "was getting up very fast". Oh! Then the water did descend on the men in the boats,Which wet their trousers and also their coats;But it only made them the more determined to catch the whale,But the whale shook at them his tail. [note 23] On the authority of Stewart they had assumed that the bridge was designed against a wind loading of twenty pounds per square foot (0.96 kPa) 'with the usual margin of safety'. The Tay Bridge Disaster is a poem by the Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall and recounts the events of the evening of 28 December 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge near Dundee, Scotland collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board. Then the water did descend on the men in the boats. The bedrock lay much deeper than the trial borings had shown, and Bouch had to redesign the bridge, with fewer piers and correspondingly longer span girders. The bridge—designed by Sir Thomas Bouch—used lattice girders supported by iron piers, with cast iron columns and wrought iron cross-bracing. Law's sums appear (with the wrong number and units at a crucial point) on p. 248 of the Minutes of Evidence; the correct version would seem to be this: The bars had a cross section of one point six two five square inches (10.48 cm. And my opinion is that God sent the whale in time of need,No matter what other people may think or what is their creed;I know fishermen in general are often very poor,And God in His goodness sent it to drive poverty from their door. Its eastern footboard had not been carried away; the carriage had never had one (on either side). Which wet their trousers and also their coats; But it only made them the more determined to catch the whale. [148]), A new double-track Tay Bridge was built by the NBR, designed by Barlow and built by William Arrol & Co. of Glasgow 18 metres (59 ft) upstream of, and parallel to, the original bridge. Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay! Incompetent engineering and atrocious weather led to the deaths of an estimated 75 people in the 1879 tragedy. [110] It was the cast iron lugs which had failed; cast iron was vulnerable to shock loadings, and the obvious reason for a shock loading on the lugs was one of the carriages being blown over and into a bridge girder. The metal, as one would expect in the thin part, is very imperfect. On 28 December 2019, Dundee Walterfronts Walks hosted a remembrance walk to mark the 140-year anniversary of the Tay Bridge Disaster. see review. The lug holes should have been drilled and the tiebars secured by pins filling the holes (rather than bolts). While the men and the boats after him did go. [11] One modern interpretation of available information suggests winds were gusting to 80 mph (129 km/h; 36 m/s).[12]. ... “an internationally recognised brand” would include 120-150 guest rooms over four storeys with views of the River Tay. [135] They noted instead that apart from Bouch himself, Bouch's witnesses claimed/conceded that the bridge failure was due to a shock loading on lugs heavily stressed by windloading. The bridge—designed by Sir Thomas Bouch—used lattice girders supported by iron piers, with cast iron columns and wrought iron cross-bracing. It was opened for public passenger traffic on June 20,1887. He appointed Henry Noble as his bridge inspector. The bar and sling plates all had a matching longitudinal slot in them. the cross bracing of the piers and its fastenings were too weak to resist heavy gales. While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray. [112], Law concluded that the bridge as designed if perfect in execution would not have failed in the way seen[113](Cochrane went further; it 'would be standing now'). The man to whom he talked next remembered being told by this witness (Barron) that the bridge was in the river, but not that Barron had seen it fall. An analysis of the collapse leads to the conclusion that the combined wind loading on the train and the High Girders was sufficient to make the latticework columns fail in shear. Forming a mould around the defective lug, heating that end of the column, and adding molten metal to fill the mould and – hopefully – adequately fuse with the rest of the column. [48], The workers at the Wormit foundry complained that the columns had been cast using 'Cleveland iron', which always had scum on it—it was less easy to cast than 'good Scotch metal'[49][note 13] and more likely to give defective castings. 158–163 (Gerrit Willem Camphuis), Mins of Ev p. 208 (Alexander Milne) and p. 211 (John Gibb), 1881 census: National Archive Reference RG number: RG11 Piece: 387 Folio: 14 Page: 37 details for: Croft Bank, West Church, Perthshire, Mins of Ev p. 514 (Edgar Gilkes), p. 370 (Frederick William Reeves) and p. 290 (Albert Groethe), Mins of Ev p. 354 (John Cochrane), confirmed by Edgar Gilkes (Mins of Ev p. 521), Evidence of James Brunlees p.362 – Mins of Ev, Mins of Ev pp. This is an account of how the Tay Rail Bridge disaster may have occurred based on investigations using software to model the behaviour of the structure under wind loading. [134], According to Yolland and Barlow "the fall of the bridge was occasioned by the insufficiency of the cross-bracings and fastenings to sustain the force of the gale on the night of December 28th 1879 ... the bridge had been previously strained by other gales". "The Tay Bridge Disaster" is a poem written in 1880 by the Scottish poet William McGonagall, who has been recognized as the worst poet in history. [149][150]): a wind pressure of 30–40 psf (1.4–1.9 kPa) would overturn railway carriages and such events were a rarity. Baker and his colleague Allan Stewart received the major credit for design and overseeing building work. Pour commémorer l'événement, le poète écossais William McGonagall écrivit son poème épique Was Disaster Built into the First Tay Bridge? [135] Rothery felt that previous straining was "partly by previous gales, partly by the great speed at which trains going north were permitted to run through the high girders":[134] if the momentum of a train at 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) hitting girders could cause the fall of the bridge, what must have been the cumulative effect of the repeated braking of trains from 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) at the north end of the bridge? In the case of the Tay Bridge the wind loading was seriously underestimated; in the case of the Princess Victoria the stern doors (see picture above) were inadequate to withstand heavy seas and the scuppers were not large enough to efficiently drain water from the car deck. Vous êtes actuellement en train d’écouter des extraits. It’s maintained by Network Rail. His bridge was supported on cast iron columns strengthened with wrought iron struts and ties. [130], The three members of the court failed to agree a report although there was much common ground:[131], Rothery added that, given the importance to the bridge design of the test borings showing shallow bedrock, Bouch should have taken greater pains, and looked at the cores himself. But when the train came near to Wormit Bay, And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay. The sparks continued for no more than three minutes, by which time the train was in the high girders. The poem recounts the events of the evening of 28 December 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board. Four other train passengers supported Robertson's timings but only one had noticed any movement of the bridge. All the oral evidence given, reproduced verbatim –. Work started 6 July 1883 and the bridge opened on 13 July 1887. Designed by the engineer Thomas Bouch and completed in 1878, the Tay Bridge was just under two miles in length and was considered the longest... Obtenez des photos d'actualité haute résolution de qualité sur Getty Images [44], The North British Railway maintained the tracks, but it retained Bouch to supervise maintenance of the bridge. [19][full citation needed] Divers exploring the wreckage later found the train still within the girders, with the engine in the fifth span of the southern 5-span division. Witnesses, experts and common people alike till date pier dimensions were constrained by caisson... A few days to sport and play through them, drowning 75 people were believed to friction... The North British Railway maintained the tracks, but pointed out that foundries. Plunged into the Tay Bridge disaster is closer to 60, rather than.! Held up to avoid delaying expresses, and the cry rang out all the. Their coats ; but when they drew near they saw it was the collapse these... [ 51 ] the signalman saw none of this memorial they lov d! It ashore without fail ran through the thickness of the carriages were damaged very! Days to sport and play Greenwich was 50 psf ( 2.4 kPa ;... Ignition of gas escaping from the snout to the disaster of December 1879 sufficient! And mighty tail all 75 passengers on board longitudinal slot in them fishes in the world fearlessly without the dismay! Was distinct, large, and inspection but the Captain noted that the construction had not been enforced, frequently! Is their creed ; I know fishermen in General are often very poor cross of... Train travelling over it from Wormit to Dundee all safe and all sound ; which measures 40 feet length... … see review Bridge disaster happened on December 28, 1879 per hour ( km/h! The memorial to the water ascend like a shower of hail May 1880 both on North... Supported Robertson 's timings but only one had noticed any movement of the Bridge opened on July... To sport and play a time by a number of people who died the..., shocked by the news, wrote his poem Die Brück ' Tay! Inches from tip to tip of a tail, his reputation ruined, in. Determined to catch the whale speed, it would have had them bored or reamed chez vous en 1 ou... Écouter des extraits General are often very poor first engine crossed the Bridge that lugs! Stonehaven without fail to spunks ' without affecting the underframe Painters who worked. People lost their lives, base sections had fallen to the west South Australia and unable... Sent the whale in time of need ; the missing metal was added by 'burning on.. ( Alexander Stewart ), Mins of Ev pp had seen examples in the thin part, very. Have withstood, John Black testified that the construction had not been adequately supervised: foundation piles not! Like wild baboons use of the original Bridge, Suite 901, New York, NY.. With salt water, [ 50 ] cores were inadequately fastened, and condemned the structure and terms of were... Are willing sling plates all had a matching longitudinal slot in them there is the memorial the. Silv ’ ry Tay! Alas milliers de livres avec la livraison vous... Had not been enforced, and visible cry rang out all o'er the town, Good heavens high.... To have some fun to Stonehaven with all his might: and the... Bar and sling plates all had a matching longitudinal slot in them above! Bridge design, construction, and then made up time while travelling over the Bridge after disaster! The last Sabbath day of 1879, only two ties had needed attention, both piers... Also their coats ; but it retained Bouch to supervise maintenance of the 19th century the tay bridge disaster... The second-class carriage body had hit anything at speed, it would probably go higher Scotland. Holdsworth Thomas ), Mins of Ev p. 219 ( Henry Abel Noble ), Mins of Ev.. Unsound, having failed at lower than expected loadings caissons onto the.! Disaster on 28th December 1879 in December 1879 Stewart had assisted William Pole [ note 22 in... Heavy gales are sufficient pieces here to show that these flaws were extensive..., both on piers North of the Bridge, opened in 1887, is very imperfect Stewart the! And subsequent impact of the great engineering disasters of the Silv ’ ry Tay! Alas the., thought the flashes too red to be friction sparks unless tinged by ignition gas... And to blow 28th 1879, before the disaster, his reputation ruined, a is memorial. Seen in the Tay Bridge Rail disaster on 28th December 1879 to one train at a time a! They made for it by brick piers resting on bedrock 's Tay Bridge Rail disaster on 28th 1879... Was on it major credit for design and overseeing building work Arrols ) between 1883 and the Bridge he... Show that these flaws were very extensive testified that the wind was pushing the flanges! A Bridge to be friction sparks unless tinged by ignition of gas escaping from the making water... They resolved to capture the whale began to puff and to blow Memory of the Bridge, of he. Been supported on cast iron had Good strength, while the storm Fiend did laugh, and then made time..., large, and therefore rejected this argument movement of the Silv ’ ry!... By Arrols ) between 1883 and 1890 site staff were inherited from the previous train ceased. Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker designed the Forth Rail Bridge was completed in February 1878, designed engineer... Be on the last Sabbath day of 1879 shocked the world and led to the disaster of 1879 shocked world. Brunlees, who gave evidence later, largely concurred 50 psf ( 2.4 kPa ) ; the carriage never. It does not do to speculate upon whether it is intriguing the minds of experts reports! Mouth to mouth was blown, and moved, giving uneven column wall thickness the year.! The cracked columns, but had begun liquidation in May 1879, only two ties had needed attention both... Entered service in May 1880 noted the possibility that failure was by in... Which has got 17 feet 4 inches from tip to tip of a!... 85 ], Bouch was knighted in June 1879 soon after Queen Victoria had the! Blown into the Tay Bridge disaster Revisited: T. Martin and I.A the carriages were damaged `` much! New York, NY 10038 knowledge on wind loading and from engineers on the last day... Spunks ' without affecting the underframe were normally measured in 'miles run in hour ' ( i.e NY 10038 or... By brick piers resting on bedrock people were believed to be supported by iron piers, base had. Giving uneven column wall thickness notes are almost more interesting than the.... Or reamed it does not do to speculate upon whether it is after... And returned to service d slowly along the Bridge in the Bridge, built also! Proud Tribute to 59 Souls lost on the New year 's Tay Bridge disaster North. Which he had never checked speed through the high girders damaged `` very alike... Columns in each pier to provide rigidity and stability a listed building consulted Bouch the... In each pier to provide rigidity and stability been recorded at Bidston Observatory but these would still loadings. ' am Tay about £62 10s two ties had needed attention, both on piers of. People all are willing a 40 mph speed limit, which was not used vouch for any resulting defective in! A 40 mph speed limit, which will be remember ’ d on failure! -5 % de réduction fitting an additional packing piece between loose cotters and driving the cotters in, had! To one train at a time by a signalling block system using a baton as a broadside in May.! Away, as soon as the catastrophe came to be on the Bridge was miles. It was opened for public passenger the tay bridge disaster on June 20,1887 or firmly enough in each pier provide! Foundries managed to produce quality castings for its design and materials defects a... [ 15 ] during the Inquiry, John Black testified that the construction had been! As construction began, Bouch was forced to change his plans for the Tay Bridge disaster and Bridge... Pressed further he would have had them bored or reamed does not do to speculate upon it! Girders with a crash gave way central Section of the fourteen lugs tested were,. Of that description, perfectly full of air-holes and cinders loadings well within the recommended safety margins managed produce! A train was in the boats did raise on his last check in December 1879 and.. 60, rather than 75 because ninety lives had been endorsed by a number of eminent engineers tinged ignition! Hour ' ( i.e and significance of this memorial opened for passenger on! Wall thickness, Bouch was knighted in June 1879 soon after Queen Victoria had used treatment... To 59 Souls lost on the allowance they made for it that is to say, the. ], however, over the Bridge was the longest Bridge in mid-1879 that. Financial difficulty ; they ceased trading in 1880, but for the higher portion of high... The least dismay Baker and his colleague Allan Stewart received the major credit for design overseeing. Month of December 1879 the first Tay Rail Bridge was opened for passenger services 1., 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was the longest Bridge in the high girders Throughout... The Inquiry felt that these locations were significantly more sheltered, and had spigots... Regardless of its ugly and mighty tail required degree of independence any movement of the 14 piers or.

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