The Tay Bridge Disaster Engineering Essay

The Tay Bridge Devastation as the occurrence is popularly known, was one of the worst structure failures of that time period both in conditions of the size and significance of the structure and also was one of the primary disasters as it had taken lives of 75 people. Such is the impact of the occurrence that it is intriguing the brains of experts and common people alike till time. Mainly because of the level of the disaster but also because of the BOT inquiry which offered a detailed accounts of the failing but fell in short supply of specifying how the final collapse of the high girder section took place leaving a puzzle to be unraveled.

Talk about the probability of any compromises to safe design and structure occurring today and suggesting safeguards to prevent such practices

Discussion is dependant on the reliable accounts of the devastation by various forensic technicians with give attention to original witness Information, systematically gathered and conserved by the Courtroom of enquiry. Original Pictures and other data from the reliable options, duly acknowledged, has been included with regard to illustration as is said -one picture will probably be worth 100 pages.

Brief record of the disaster and the bridge has been provided at the beginning for better understanding.


" At roughly 7. 15 p. m. on the stormy night of 28 December 1879, the central navigation spans of the Tay Bridge collapsed in to the Firth of Tay at Dundee, taking with them a coach, 6 carriages and 75 souls with their fate. " PMR Lewis 2002

"collapsed high girders section girders were found almost intact near the pierof the bridge, with twelve pier websites almost bases, and laid out in a wave form alongsidecompletely swept off their high towers"

The famous lines by Peter Lewis quoted above sum it all up, it was a windy evening, a cross breeze, a gale estimated at 10/11 at Beufort size was blowing western world to East and the sick fated Locomotive 224 influenced by David Mathew was on time exploring from Edinburgh to Dundee with75 individuals onboard, the coach hit the bridge at about 7. 15 p. m. , accounts of two trains- passing the bridge prior to the fateful train are available, observers had witnessed sparks and equipment and lighting from the bridge may be because of swaying of coach and scratching from the safeguard rails.

As the teach reached the "High Girders" as these were called both train and the bridge were swept down to the Estuary, no spirit survived the incident. It isn't clear whether the train derailed before the structure provided in or it was vice-versa from the attention witness bank account as, Rail way worker John, only eyewitness who seems to have observed the complete sequence said-"either the girders or the bridge is down" to the sign man.


Opened in 1878, The Tay brdge, 2 a long way across the Tay Estuary was the longest bridge on earth at that time and was remarked as "latest executive wonder" created by Sir Thomas Bouch. Approved for safeness by the Mother board of Trade, the bridge exposed for only 19 months. It took 1000 men six years to create the bridge. It had been operational for nearly two years. It was created by Sir Thomas Bouch who had a reputation for developing cost effective bridges.

An enquiry was entrusted to three judge judge who had been helped by two experts. The court docket declared its finding in record six month time holding Bouch, the creator accountable for the incident who was simply ripped of contracts for design for Forth Bridge and died a few months after the article of enquiry was made general population.


As stated the catastrophe has interested designers, scientists and general public at large, the catastrophe has been revisited by many and numerous makes an attempt have been designed to unravel the complexities leading to failing of the bridge. Pursuing four theories are prominent among them; although, the court of enquiry remains the source of original account as well as facts. Which in my own opinion is the basis of modern forensic executive as it gathered, processed and preserved the evidence in an exceedingly systematic and professional manne. This was the first executive inquiry to acquire ordered photographic study.

Court of Enquiry

Blown by the blowing wind theory

Train derailment theory

Fatigue theory

In order to research and analyse the executive failin