Facts and figures

Vital statistics for a marvel of Victorian engineering.

  • 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

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