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Forth Bridge Facts & Figures

A Marvel of Victorian Engineering.

Forth Bridge Facts & Figures
  • The Forth Bridge first opened in 1890
  • The overall length of the Forth Bridge is 2,467 metres
  • The main structure (portal to portal) measures 1,630 metres
  • The highest point of the Forth Bridge stands 110 metres above high
  • water and 137 metres above its foundations
  • 53,000 tonnes of steel and 6.5 million rivets were used to construct the Forth Bridge
  • The Forth Bridge's piers are constructed from 120,000 cubic yards of concrete and masonry, faced with 2 ft thick granite
  • 200 trains use the bridge every day, carrying 3 million passengers each year
  • The total painted area of the Forth Bridge is 230,000 sq metres, requiring 240,000 litres of paint
  • There are 1,040 lights installed on the Forth Bridge, using approximately 35-40,000 metres of cable
  • 57 lives were lost during the construction of the Forth Bridge
  • At the height of its construction, more than 4,000 men were employed
  • The construction of the bridge resulted in an unbroken East Coast railway route from London to Aberdeen.

Key Dates for the Forth Bridge

1873 Thomas Bouch’s first design for a suspension bridge across the Forth presented

1879 Bouch’s design for the Forth Bridge abandoned following Tay Bridge disaster

1882 Design submitted by John Fowler and Benjamin Baker approved

1883 Construction of Fowler and Baker’s cantilever structure began

1885 Last caisson launched

1886 Pier foundations completed

1887 Three towers completed

1889 Cantilevers completed

1890 Bridge formally opened by Prince of Wales on 4 March 1890

 

The human cantilever

Three men positioned to model the cantilever principle, 1887

Paul Johnson, The Spectator

"The Forth Rail Bridge combines utility, beauty and nerve-tingling sublimity in equal proportions, and for my money is the finest piece of engineering in existence."

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Paul Johnson, The Spectator

"It is the supermest specimen of all ugliness."