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Science, Maths & Technology

The Tay Bridge Disaster: Timeline

Updated Wednesday, 9th May 2007

Timeline of events related to the Tay Bridge disaster, part of the BBC/OU's programme website for Forensic Engineering

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The railway line leading up to the Tay Bridge Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: St Andrew's Valentine Collection







Dee Bridge disaster


Bouch appointed to the Edinburgh and Northern Railway


First train ferry across Forth


Tay Bridge proposal put to North British Railway


Act passed to approve Tay Bridge

July 1870

Contract signed to build a bridge across the Tay

October 1872

Survey of estuary

December 1872

Start of site work

January 1873

Wormit foundry at south end of bridge built

February 1873

Oxford rail disaster


Hopkins, Gilkes & Co take over construction contract

July 1874

Accident in caisson on pier 54; 6 die

August 1875

Fall of main girder in storm

February 1877

Bridge finished and first train passes over

September 1877

Testing of the bridge by Major-General Hutchinson

February 1878

First passenger train passes over completed bridge

May 1878

Queen Victoria rides over bridge; Bouch knighted

June 1878

Bridge collapses in gale killing 75 people

December 1879

Board of Trade inquiry starts in Dundee

January 1880

Board of Trade inquiry in London to hear expert evidence

April 1880

Final report to Parliament in London

June 1880





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