Thursday, 7 January 2010

These Wretched Winter Storms!

Might Easily Be A Labour Project Today?

The iron railway bridge over Scotland’s River Tay has collapsed in a severe storm as a passenger train rolled across. The train plunged into the boiling river, killing everyone on board.
The lattice girder bridge, designed by highly regarded railway engineer Sir Thomas Bouch, crossed the Firth of Tay between Dundee and Leuchars. It was built on the cheap, which turned out to be a hallmark (and a selling point) of Bouch’s work. The North British Railway, which commissioned the 2-mile-long bridge, was hewing to a tight budget, and Bouch was considered a master of the form.
Since buying prefabricated sections from established foundries was out of the question, the resourceful Bouch used iron produced in his own hastily constructed foundry. The quality was poor and the casting uneven. Additionally, Bouch didn’t bother calculating wind loads, even after altering his original design to include girders longer than 200 feet.

Dec. 28, 1879: Tay Bridge Collapses.


subrosa said...

Ah OR, every Dundonian knows that the first bridge was built by corruption from the chief engineer down.

Each time I drive along Riverside I see the pillar stumps and it reminds me of the night when 75 poor souls met their fate in the freezing currents of the Tay.

Demetrius said...

At least it inspired some of Scotland's finest poetry. Did you know that the mathematical caculations on the structural issues of the Forth Bridge were done by a Japanese research student?

Stewart Cowan said...

You've inspired me to read a bit more about this (I like bridges - wouldn't want to build one, though).

I see that Thomas Bouch died ten months after the disaster, aged 58, his reputation ruined.

The locomotive was recovered and remained in service for another 40 years, "acquiring the nickname of 'The Diver'; many superstitious drivers were reluctant to take it over the newly rebuilt bridge."

"Bouch's design for the Forth Bridge had been accepted and the foundation stone laid, but the project was cancelled due to the Tay Bridge disaster." (Phew!)

Maybe that's why there's so much steel in the Forth Bridge? To be sure, to be sure.

I notice that more people (98) died in the building of the Forth Bridge than lost their lives in the Tay Bridge disaster.

The thought occurs that, were we to build such a bridge today, where would the steel come from? China?

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Demetrius - Timo Shemko's theorems circa late 1700 were used and still are on many marine structures. Including stability factors on marine platforms. He was eons ahead of his time.

I hate to say this but travelling over the utility Tay bridge has none of the adventure built into the Forth. While integrity should never be sacrificed on style; style shouldn't be ignored in favour of vapid utility.

subrosa said...

Demetrius, is the reference to McGonagall said with tongue in cheek? lol

No I didn't know that.

subrosa said...

Stewart this post is by my lovely co-author Oldrightie. He'll be delighted to know he's inspired you I'm sure.

subrosa said...

Dundee was a manufacturing city and would have been treated as such by London Crinkly - therefore the cheapest bridge would do them fine.

Whereas Edinburgh was called 'The London of the North' and needed the best.

Now I can't remember the name of the book but I read that around 50 years ago. It would still apply today I expect.

Stewart Cowan said...

So it is, Rosie. I didn't read the wee bit at the bottom. Thanks, Old Rightie.

subrosa said...

OR's style of post is different to mine Stewart. I'm surprised he hasn't responded to you but I know he had quite a fall of snow yesterday and lives in a rural area. Possibly he's been on the end of a shovel for hours.

Oldrightie said...

I was, Subrosa and my thanks to Stewart!

subrosa said...

Oldrightie, you can be assured your post has brought an interest to many even though they didn't comment.

Thanks so much for your contribution. xx

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