This overpass bridge was built as part of the project to build the nearby Forth Rail Bridge. The builder for this bridge is listed as Sir William Arrol and Company of Glasgow, Scotland, but technically William Arroll had associated himself with Joseph Phillips, Sir Thomas Selby Tancred, and Travers Hartley Falkiner for building the Forth Rail Bridge, and formed a company called Tancred, Arrol and Company for the construction of the bridge. That same joint venture built this viaduct as well. Total length given is an estimate.
Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings
Listed At: Category B
Historic Environment Scotland Number: LB49652
Description Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, 1883-1890; Louis
Nelville, engineer for Tancred, Arrol and Co and Joseph Philips,
contractors. Mild steel and masonry railway viaduct. Masonry abutments
of square snecked rubble with band course above eliptical arches (23
metre span) at either end; 4 spans of mild steel box girders formed with
raking vertical struts and light lattice steel parapet above (each steel
span 30 metres long) resting on 4 masonry piers of squared and snecked
bullfaced rubble set at 25 degree angles to the centre line; whole of
viaduct on curve with gradient of 1 in 70.
Statement of Special
Interest A-group with 'Forth Bridge' and 'Hope Street, Forth Bridge
Approach Railway, Truss Bridge' (see separate listings).
viaduct was erected by the Forth Bridge Railway Company as a component
of the North Approach Railway, built in association with the Forth
Bridge (see separate listing). The North Approach Railway is just over 3
kilometres in length commencing from the abutment at the north end of
the Forth Bridge and terminating at Inverkeithing at the former junction
with the North British Railway. Like the Forth Bridge itself, this
viaduct demonstrates an early large-scale use of open-hearth steel.
Upon completion the Forth Bridge was the world's longest railway
bridge built on the cantilever principle. It took a five thousand strong
workforce seven years to build using more than sixty thousand tonnes of
Siemiens-Martin open-hearth steel. It is Scotland's most instantly
recognisable industrial landmark and has become a symbol of national
A bridge crossing the Firth of Forth was first proposed
in 1818 by Edinburgh civil engineer, James Anderson. Some engineers
believed a tunnel would be a better solution and it was not until 1873
that the Forth Bridge Company was founded. The first contract was given
to Thomas Bouch who designed a bridge modelled on his design for the Tay
Bridge. However, after the Tay Bridge disaster of 28th December 1879,
when high winds blew down the high central girders, the company felt it
would be wiser to employ a completely new design. John Fowler (knighted
1885) and his colleague Benjamin Baker (knighted 1890) received the new
commission. Fowler's background in railway engineering was distinguished
having previously designed the first railway bridge across the Thames in
1860, St Enoch's station in Glasgow, and he was a principal engineer of
the London Underground system. Fowler and Baker's innovative cantilever
design, which allowed spans nearly four times larger than any railway
bridge previously built, was authorised by a new Act of Parliament in
1883. The bridge was completed seven years later, on 4th March 1890. It
has been in continuous use since then and around 200 trains currently
cross the bridge daily.
Listed at resurvey, 2003/4; list
description updated, 2013.