Tay Rail and Road Bridges

The Tay Estuary is straddled by two significant examples of structural engineering - the Tay Rail and Tay Road bridges. The Tay Rail Bridge was completed in 1887 and sweeps across the estuary carrying rail traffic between Dundee and neighbouring Fife. It replaced the original crossing which collapsed in 1879, killing 75 people. Stumps from the original bridge can still be seen rising above the river's surface and the old girders were used in the construction of the new structure.

"The Tay Bridge Disaster" was written in 1880 by the Scottish poet  William McGonagall, who is widely acknowledged  as the worst poet in history.  The poem tells of the incident on December 28, 1879, when, during a severe gale, the original Tay Bridge collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board (now thought to be 75 people, not 90 as stated in the poem).

The poem is by far the most famous ever written by McGonagall, and is still widely quoted. It begins:
        "Beautiful railway bridge of the silv'ry Tay
        Alas! I am very sorry to say
        That ninety lives have been taken away
        On the last sabbath day of 1879
        Which will be remember'd for a very long time."

The Tay Road Bridge is 2,250 metres long and connects Dundee with Newport on Tay. Leading directly into the city centre, the bridge offers views of the River Tay, The Law and the Sidlaws as well as the ongoing regeneration of Dundee's waterfront. Lit up at night, the Road Bridge itself is a sight to see.  This bridge has a strong chess connection as it was designed by a former Scottish Champion, William Fairhurst.

Tay Bridge