FP100: No. 9

Tay bridge disaster memorial
Tay bridge disaster memorial

Tay Rail Bridge disaster remembered

On December 28, 2013 over 100 men, women and children stood in silent reflection as they remembered the victims of one of the world’s most infamous disasters.

134 years before the Tay Rail Bridge – at the time the world’s longest bridge – collapsed into the stormy waters below amid a fierce winter storm.

Steam train no 224, which was on the bridge at the time with six carriages, had begun its journey in Burntisland and was taking many of its passengers home to Dundee.

Fifty-nine people, including six children, are known to have died but until 2013 there had been no permanent memorial to them.

At the time the disaster caused shock-waves across the world and the accident was blamed on its designer Thomas Bouch, who was also due to build one of the icons of the modern world, the famous Forth Bridge.

The Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust was established in order to facilitate the building of memorials, particularly because many of the passengers and the train driver came from Fife. Newspapers at the time claimed that about 75 people died when the the central navigation spans of bridge gave way. The trust’s aim was to raise enough money to erect two memorials to those who died; one at Wormit and another at Riverside, Dundee. Both memorials bear the names of all of those known to have died plus a poem written by Glenrothes man Ian Nimmo White who was instrumental in the intensive fund-raising campaign.

The memorials were unveiled with the new rail bridge and the stumps of its predecessor, a poignant reminder in the background.