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Victorian railways: The Tay Bridge disaster

The railways: The Tay Bridge disaster

George tells his granddaughter about an accident that happened in 1879 on the new bridge across the River Tay. At that time he was a young man working in the foundry making the bolts for the new bridge.

At a span of two miles it was the longest bridge in the world and was situated right to the side of George's cottage.

However, George's wife, Nessie, never trusted the bridge, particularly as one of the girders supporting the bridge had been damaged after an accident and had been bent back into shape rather than being recast.

One day as they were travelling across the bridge on the train, they heard an ominous noise. When they reached St Fort, on the other side of the bridge, they warned the stationmaster, who calmed their fears. However, that evening there was a storm and from their cottage they could hear the girders of the bridge straining. They hoped that the evening mail train would have been stopped, but then they heard it approaching the bridge. They strained to hear what happened to it, but couldn't hear much above the howling wind.

The next morning they discovered that there had been a terrible accident; the bridge had collapsed and the train had fallen into the river with the loss of all 70 or so passengers on board.

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