Tay Bridge Memorial – Dundee, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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Tay Bridge Memorial

Dedicated to one of the nation's worst engineering disasters.  


Dundee is Scotland’s fourth-largest city, and at one time it was one of the richest boroughs in all of Europe. It’s located along the shores of the country’s largest river, the Firth of Tay. Spanning this waterway for over two miles is the Tay Railway Bridge, once one of the longest railway bridges in the world. The original railway line was designed by the Scottish engineer Thomas Bouch and was opened in June 1878.

A little over a year later on the night of December 28t, 1879, the central span collapsed due to gale-force winds. This plunged several railway cars into the freezing water below. This event became known as the Tay Bridge Disaster, it was one of the nation’s worst engineering accidents.

Dedicated in December 2013, two identical memorials were erected on either side of the Tay. The memorials are marked with the words, “those known to have died,” with an alphabetical list of 59 names. This number has been disputed, with the tally estimated to be in the hundreds. 

After the accident and official investigation, the locomotive engine, Number 224, was recovered, dried out, and reconditioned in Glasgow. It was put back into service for another 45 years. The railwaymen gave it the nickname “The Diver.”

Bouch would die within a few months of the completion of the inquiry. 

The memorials read: “Deep waters can not douse, The enduring flame, That burned for those thus blighted, Now let them stand as one, Properly remembered, And in part, righted.”

Know Before You Go

The memorial on the southern side is located near the village of Newport on Tay. A short distance from here, a walk along loose gravel, will take one to the remains of the original Tay Bridge. This is only accessible at low tide.

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May 13, 2022

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