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Riddle of the Tay Bridge disaster: Track 1

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On December 28th 1879, the Tay Bridge collapsed as a train passed over it, killing all 75 passengers on board. At the time of this tragedy, the Tay Bridge was the longest bridge in the world, and to this day the accident remains the worst structural disaster the UK has ever seen. This album attempts to unlock the mystery of this catastrophe, through several plausible explanations and expert opinions. This material forms part of the course T173 Engineering the future.

By: The iTunes U team (The Open University,)

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Track 1: Riddle of the Tay Bridge disaster

A short introduction to this album.


© The Open University 2009


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Riddle of the Tay Bridge disaster    A short introduction to this album. Play now Riddle of the Tay Bridge disaster
2 The history of the Tay Bridge    A look at how the Tay Bridge was developed and where it now stands historically. Play now The history of the Tay Bridge
3 The Tay Bridge Disaster    Open University professor, David Swinten reveals there was a violent storm on the evening of the bridge collapsing, while Eleanor Simpson shares a personal story about the tragedy. Play now The Tay Bridge Disaster
4 The Tay Bridge Investigation    Dr Denis Smith of Kirkcaldy Museum explains how the museum led an enquiry and discovered the bridge was poorly designed and constructed. A last minute alteration to the bridge is also investigated. Play now The Tay Bridge Investigation
5 Bill Dow's theory    Bill Dow has spent over a decade researching the Tay Bridge disaster, and here he shares his theory that the train de-railed through a combination of heavy wind and a weak girder. Play now Bill Dow's theory
6 Tom Martin's Tay Bridge analysis    Mathematician Tom Martin uses the modern method of 'structural computer analysis' to understand the failure of the bridge, and looks at how this failure started at the base columns due to heavy winds. Play now Tom Martin's Tay Bridge analysis
7 Forensic Engineering    Dr Pete Lewis explains how he believes the dynamic effects of vibration and the inappropriate use of cast iron, caused fatigue to the Tay Bridge and were responsible for its collapse. Play now Forensic Engineering
8 The Hatfield accident    Professor Roderick Smith explains the cause of the Hatfield accident while others look at how the flaws of the Tay Bridge are still used as lessons for today's engineers. Play now The Hatfield accident