Forth Bridge's 125 years of service celebrated

March 4 2015  

Forth Bridge's 125 years of service celebrated

Celebrations are being held this week to mark the 125th anniversary of the Forth Bridge, which has been serving the UK’s rail passengers and freight since 1890.

The structure spans the Firth of Forth in Scotland and its cantilever design helped make it the longest spanning railway bridge in the world, at 2.5km, when it first opened.

The bridge is being honoured today with a flypast of a Spitfire and an RAF Typhoon, due to take place this lunchtime. This is to remember the German Luftwaffe’s first airborne raid on British soil of World War Two, which the bridge was at the centre of on 16 October 1939.

Other celebrations include charity abseiling, a community market in South Queensferry and visits to the top of the bridge guided by Network Rail.

The bridge was designed by Sir Benjamin Baker with the assistance of Sir John Fowler and is widely recognised as the first major bridge to be built from steel, of which 65,000t was used alongside almost seven million rivets.

Its opening reduced northward rail links to Aberdeen along the East Coast Mainline by four and a half hours, increasing trade within Scotland and the UK.

Institution of Civil Engineers’ historical engineering works panel chair Gordon Masterton said: “The Forth Bridge is one of the world’s supreme engineering achievements. It epitomises the ‘can do’ ethos of the high Victorian age with its genesis in the industrial revolution. The fact that it was successfully built over 125 years ago and is still in service is a stunning vindication of sustainable design.”

Anniversary celebrations for the Forth Bridge follow the adjacent Forth Road Bridge’s 50th anniversary in September last year.

(Photo: Network Rail)
 

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