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The construction of the Royal A Ibert Bridge was a lengthy process, partly due to the impoverished state of the Cornwall Rail-way. Preliminary work on the site bégan in 1848, but nothing was done between 1849 and 1852; when work resumed the bridge was to accommodate only a single track -two had originally been planned. Brunel's experience with the bridge at Chepstow proved useful, since theform which took its designer's name, 'Brunel, was again adopted, although the tubes were oval rather than circular. Having witnessed thefloating of the tubes of the Menai bridge, Brunel was in a more favourable position than had been Stephenson, and the operations went with-out a hitch. Brunel's chief assistant, Brereton, supervised the second spans installation, while his employer wrestled with the almost intractible problems of the SS Great Eastern. Sadly Brunel was not present for the opening by Prince Albert. The accident referred to at the end of the article (see page 42) occurred on 6 May 1859 when the locomotive Elk and two coaches of the down evening train from Plymouth derailed on the approach to Grove Viaduct near St Germans and plunged into the mud of the creek. The poor qualiry of some of the détails in the engraving is surprising - one would have expected a more competent artist to be assigned a royal subject. 
 

OPENING OF THE CORNWALL RAILWAY 
As there are sharp curves at both ends of the bridge, which causes the line to assume a horseshoe form, of which the bridge is the arch, an excellent view of it can be obtained on approaching it from either the Cornwall or Devon side. The train, therefore, after reaching the Saltash station, continued on for about a quarter of a mile, to give the Royal party an opportunity of inspecting the bridge from one of the best points of view. The train having returned to the Saltash station, the Prince Consort alighted, and, accompanied by Mr. Woolcombe, walked across the bridge and rninutely examined the works. His Royal Highness then proceeded to examine the works underneath the bridge; and, having partaken of a collation, he embarked on board the Vivid, and proceeded down the Hamoaze amidst a Royal salute from the battery on the hill. The Royal party again shortly afterwards disembarked at Tor Point, on the Cornish side of the harbour, whence they rode over to Tregantle, on the western side of Mount Edgecumbe, where some considerable defensive fortifi-cations are in course of erection. His Royal Highness, after a short stay, again embarked on board the Vivid, in which he was coriveyed to Mill Bay, whence he proceeded to the railway station, where he partook of a substantial luncheon before taking his departure for London. The Royal train started frorn Plymouth shortly before seven o'clock, and arrived at Windsor a few minutes after one a.m. 
The Cornwall Railway was formally opened on the following day throughout its entire length to Truro ... and was thrown open for public traffic on Wednesday. 
[ILN MAY 14 1859] 

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ACCIDENT ON CORNWALL RAILWAY 
An accident involving the loss of three lives occurred on this line, about three miles west of the Albert Bridge, on the night of Friday (last week). An engine and some portion of the train following it were precipitated from a viaduct twenty-eight feet high into the mud and water below. The driver, the fireman, and one of the guards were killed. After some delay all the passengers were removed from their perilous situation, very few having received any material injury. 
[ILN JUN 4 1859] 

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SUSPENSION RAILWAY TUNNEL 
The Chester and Holyhead railway on leaving Chester will keep near the banks of the river Dee to Flint, and will then proceed near St. Asaph and Denbigh to Avergelly, from whence following the coast of the Irish Sea, it will proceed by Conway and Bangor to the Menai Strait, which it will cross by means of a suspended tunnel, and so enter the Isle of Anglesea. Its course will then lie near Llangefui and Llanerchymedd, and hav-ing entered Holy Island by crossing the straits, will proceed at once to its destina-tion, Holyhead. The tunnel proposed by Mr. Robert Stevenson to cross the Menai Straits is intended to be formed of iron, and to be suspended from massive stone piers, as shown in the engraving. It will simply consist of a strong iron beam of about one hundred and fifty yards in length and fifteen feet in depth, which will be hollow to allow the free transit of the trains, and so supported as to prevent vibration. Gigantic piers will be built on either coast, in which the ends of the tunnel will be firmly imbedded. This stupendous undertaking originated with Mr. Robert Stephenson, and is the first of the kind ever proposed. 
[PICTORIAL TIMES MARCH 12 1846] 
 

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THE TAY BRIDGE 
 
We give one Illustration of this important structure, which bas recently been completed. The project of building a bridge over the Tay, so as to shorten the way from Dundee and the North-East of Scotland to the South, was conceived very early in railway history. A meeting of the shareholders of the Edinburgh and Northern Railway (afterwards the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee, and now merged into the North British), held in September, 1845, empowered the Board to take all the necessary steps to construct a bridge at or near Newburgh, or to agree with any other company to assist in con-structing the bridge. The intention at that time took the form of a high-level bridge, which the Dundee and Perth and Edinburgh and Northern Companies agreed to construct at an estimated cost of between £100,000 and £150,000. This agreement was never carried into effect. Previously, proposals had been made for a low-level bridge near the same spot, making use of Mugdrum island in the Tay, and, in consequence of opposition to this scheme, another project was to construct a swing bridge, so as to accommodate the river traffic. The question rested in abeyance till 1865, when the initiatory steps for the promotion of a bridge were taken by an independent company; but this also came to nothing. In 1866 the North British Company promoted a bill for a bridge and railway connection at Dundee, substantially coinciding with the bridge now built; but this also fell aside owing to the financial circumstances of the line. It was not till the Session of 1870 that an Act for the bridge was obtained, the project being promoted as a separate undertaking, but warmly supported by the North British Company. From the end of 1871 till now the bridge works made progress but various causes helped to retard operations in earlier years. 
        Among these causes were the death of the contractor, Mr. De Bergue, and the alterations in the form of the bridge, as well as in the methods employed in con-structing it, owing to the bed of the river not having answered the original expecta-tions. After fourteen piers, being those nearest the south end, on the original plan of engaged pillars of solid brickwork rest-ing on a submerged base, had been com-pleted, and a good deal of work at the other and shallower side had been done, the plan of using brick above high water was discarded in favour of iron, and in the case of the larger piers the method of laying the foundations was also changed. 
        Starting from Dundee on a wide radius, to change the direction from the shore line to the straight flight over the river, the bridge raises by a gradient of 1 in 73 to the summit level, at the north end of the large spans, where the roadway is 88ft. above high water, and about 100ft. above the mean tide level. The descent to the south side is 1 in 363, or to the eye nearly level. The thirteen spans of 245ft. each, placed in the centre of the river, and filling up nearly one third of the length of the bridge, form of themselves a great work, the size and importance of which can hardly be judged either by the view from the river below or by the passenger who will only see the work from the train. Approaching from either side, there is a distance of about 3500ft., where the line is laid on the top of the girder, and the train will travel in the open. When the wide spans are reached the rails run on the bottont of the 27ft. high girder, and the long straight lines of the structure give the roadway the appearance of a tube or tunnel, as this part of the bridge is approached. Far beneath, the passenger will see the hurrying ebb or flow of the strong tide of the Tay, sometimes in rough weather lashed into fury by the tempests that sweep down from the hills. Excepting the unfastened girders that fell, no part of the structure bas shown a sign of failure, although the storms since the highest and most exposed parts of the structure were built have been of unsur-passed severity. A walk across the bridge gives a sense of enormous strength in the structure, and although the lines of the structure are wholly straight, or diagonal, its extent, its lightness, and its ever-shifting lines give it a picturesque effect. The view of country, of sea and river, fertile land and distant mountain, obtained from the higher piers is superb. The rails are laid double throughout-that is to say, a service rail with a guard rail within, keyed into a double chair, and laid upon a continuous sleeper of pitch pine. The roadway presents a sound, serviceable line, the excellent finish of every part being noticeable. The weight of the steel rails and chairs is given at 1 wt. per foot, the rails themselves being 751b. to the yard. 
[ILN DEC 1 1877] 

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 THE NEW TAY BRIDGE AT  DUNDEE 
 
The terrible disaster on the night of  Sunday, Dec. 28, 1879, when the iron railway-bridge over the Tay estuary, while a passenger-train was crossing, amidst a violent hurricane of wind, suddenly fell in the raging waters below, and ninety lives were lost, cannot yet have been forgotten. The bridge which had been constructed in six years, at a total cost of £350,000, from the designs of the late Sir Thomas Bouch, C.E., was opened for traffic on May 30, 1878. It was 3450 yards long, consisting of eighty-five spans, eleven of which, with lattice girders, measured 225ft., others 227ft., 166ft., 145ft., and 129ft., on piers formed of six cast-iron columns resting upon masonry and concrete. These iron columns, two in each pier, were connected laterally with each other by crossbracings of wrought iron; and the loosening of the tie-bars, which were insufficiently fastened, made the bridge unable to resist the tremendous force of the wind. The foundations of the piers themselves had not actually given way. The North British Railway Company lost no time in applying to Parliament for powers to construct a new bridge, on the old foundations, for which plans were prepared by Mr. James Brunlees, C.E.; but the Bill was rejected in the Session of 
1880. The directors then called in Mr. W. H. Barlow, C.E., who made an accurate examination, applying various tests and experiments to the existing piers. He reported in favour of making entirely new foundations; and in 1881 a Bill was introduced for the construction of a new Tay Bridge, which would cost £670,000 sixty feet westward of the one that fell. It was stipulated with the Perth Town Council, in the interest of the river navigation, that four of the openings between the piers should be 215ft. wide, with a clear height of 77ft. above high water at ordinary spring tides; and vessels were to be towed through at the expense of the railway company. The Board of Trade also required the removal of the ruins of the old bridge. The Bill having passed, the contract for the works was taken by Messrs. William Arrol and Co., of Glasgow, and operations were com-menced early in 1882, which are now successfülly completed. 
    We give some Illustrations of the new Tay Bridge. The entire length of the viaduct is 10,780ft., the width of the river being 9580ft. There are eighty-five spans, of which eleven are 245ft. in length, two of 227ft., one 162ft., thirteen 145ft., twenty-one 129ft., one 113ft., one 108ft., twenty-four 71ft., four 66ft., one 56ft., two iron arches 81ft. (approach on the Dundee side), and four brick arches 50ft. (approach on the Fife side). The height above the water to the under side of the girders is 65ft. on the south side, 77ft. in the centre, and 16ft. on the north side of the river. The foundations of the piers consist of solid brick and concrete cylinders, arranged in pairs, encased in strong wrought-iron caissons, up to low-water mark, and continued upwards, faced with Staffordshire brick impervious to water. Above high-water mark, each pair of cylinders is united by a massive con-necting piece of masonry, on the top of which are laid the iron plates forming the base of the iron superstructure. This is of singularly graceful design; two iron octagonal columns, each firmly braced in-side and plated outside, rise above the pair of piers, and the inner portions meet above in an arch, while the outer parts extend to support a platform 40ft. wide, upon which the girders of the span rest, the lattice-girder form of construction being employed. The effect of using these iron columns, instead of raising the piers of solid masonry to the girder level, is greatly to reduce the weight put upon the foundations, while obtaining strength enough to bear any strain on the bridge. The flooring of the bridge is of steel, in deep furrows, coated with asphalt and ballasted. The sides are protected by lattice-work, which will break the force of the wind on trains passing over the bridge. The structure will bear a lateral wind-pressure of 561b. to the square féot. All the materials were severely tested. The quantity of wrought iron used, in-cluding many girders from the old bridge, is 19,000 tons; of steel, 3500 tons; and of cast-iron, for the piers, 2500 tons; with three million rivets, averaging five inches in length; ten million bricks, weighing 37,500 tons; and 70,000 tons of concrete. The cost has not greatly exceeded the esti-mate, being about £282,000 for the foun-dations, £268,000 for the piers, and £268,000 for the girders and parapets. Adding, however, the cost of the bridge that was destroyed, the North British Railway Company has spent more than a million sterling in bridging the Tay. The public advantage gained is that of shortening the journey from Dundee to Edinburgh by one hour, and from Aberdeen to Edinburgh by two hours, while the traffic between Dundee and the east of Fife is doubled. The new bridge was first used for ordinary passenger traffic on the Queen's Jubilee day, instead of the ferry at Tayport. 
        The eminent engineer, Mr. William Henry Barlow, of London, is a son of the late Professor Barlow, of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He was born in 1812, studied under his father, and was a pupil in the machinery department of Woolwich Dockyard, and with the engineer of the London Docks. He went, in 1832, to Constantinople, for Messrs. Maudslay and Field, to erect machinery at the Turkish Ordnance Factory, and was also employed about the light-houses on the Bosphorus. In 1838 he became assistant-engineer of the Manchester and Birmingham (London and North-Western) Railway, and was subsequently engineer to the Midland Railway in the construction of several branch lines, and in designing the St. Pancras Station, with its great roof of 240ft. span. He was joint engineer with Sir John Hawkshaw in completing the Clifton Suspension Bridge. In 1850, Mr. Barlow, who is the author of valuable scientific researches in mechanics and electricity, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and he is one of its vice-presidents. 
        Mr. William Arrol, born at Houston, near Paisley, and now about forty-seven years of age, was a working man; first employed in the establishment of Messrs. Coats, of that town, he was afterwards apprenticed to Mr. Reid, a well-known blacksmith, engineer, and yachtsman; he laboured in the shipbuilding yards of the Clyde, and became foreman of the girder department at Messrs. Laidlaw and Sons' Barrowfield Iron Works. But he set up in business on his own account in Glasgow at the age of twenty-six, and in time became proprietor of the great Dalmar-nock Iron Works. He now employs four or five thousand men, and has the character of being one of the best of masters; all his assistants are of his own training. Among his important works have been the bridges on the Glasgow, Hamilton, and Bothwell Railway; the South Esk railway bridge at Montrose; the Broomielaw viaduct of the Caledonian Railway, and several bridges in Brazil; he took the contract for the Forth Bridge at Queensferry, as originally designed by Sir T. Bouch, and is con-tractor for the bridge that is now being constructed to cross the Forth at the isle of Inchgarvie. Mr. Arrol has invented and applied various useful devices, such as the patent drilling and riveting machine, for the more economic execution of heavy ironwork. 

[ILN AUG 6 1887] 

Entire books (by John Thomas and John Prebble) and even a novel (Hatter's Castle by A. 7. Cronin) have been devoted to the tragedy of the first Tay Bridge and its designer, Thomas Bouch. It was a story of continual changes and errors of design, margins cut down to, the limit (for which Bouch was known), appalling négligence and sheer bad workmanship. The inquiry took the view that the défects with the bridge were so numerous that it would sooner or later have come down. Opened on 31 May 1878, when Bouch was knighted after Queen Victoria had crossed the structure, the bridge was in use for only 18 months. On the night of the collapse, which took the lives of 75 people, an exceptionally severe storm blew down the firth; the reading on the Beaufort scale was 10 to 11, taken by officers aboard HMS Mars which was anchored near the bridge. The train which went down was the 5.20pm Burntisland to Dundee hauled by 4-4-0 No 224; the booked locomotive was normally a tank locomotive but a breakdown necessitated its replace-ment by the spare engine at Dundee, whence the local had started at 1.30pm. A number of people watched the train crossing the bridge and saw streaks of fire fall into the raging water. The disaster naturally shocked the nation and broke Sir Thomas Bouch, who died within a year of the storm. 
Work on the bridge which still carries traffic across the Tay at Dundee was begun after some delay over the design and site of the new viaduct, and over what to do with the remains of thefirst bridge. The Board of Trade wanted all the girders taking down and every pier uprooted. In the end it was agreed that the piers should remain, and they may still be seen today. Some of the girders from the first bridge were incor-porated in the new design. The new bridge was opened to passenger traffic on 20,7une 1887. 


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This page was created by Julia Lee '99. It is maintained by Professor Robert Schwartz of the History Department, 
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