You are in RA » Document Archive » Accident at Tay Bridge on 28th December 1879 » Tay Bridge Disaster: Report Of The Court of Inquiry, and Report Of Mr. Rothery, Upon the Circumstances Attending the Fall of a Portion of the Tay Bridge on the 28th December 1879

view document PDF (2.1Mb download)Tay Bridge Disaster: Report Of The Court of Inquiry, and Report Of Mr. Rothery, Upon the Circumstances Attending the Fall of a Portion of the Tay Bridge on the 28th December 1879

Document Summary

The report of the inquiry panel set up by the Board of Trade to examine the catastrophic collapse of Thomas Bouche's Tay Bridge on a dark and stormy night in 1879.

This document was published on 30th June 1880 by Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

It was written by Board of Trade.


This item is linked to the Accident at Tay Bridge on 28th December 1879


The original document format was Scanned Images, and comprised 48 pages.

This document was kindly sourced from Colin Holmes and is in our Accident inquiry documents collection. It was added to the Archive on 6th February 2006.

Copyright Information

This document is Crown Copyright, and is subject to the terms governing the reproduction of crown copyright material. Depending on the status and age of the original document, you may need an OPSI click-use license if you wish to reproduce this material, and other restrictions may apply. Please see this explanation for further details.

"The train from Edinburgh which fell with the bridge arrived in due course at St. Fort station, and there the tickets of the passengers for Dundee were as usual collected. We were told by the ticket collectors that there were at that time in the train 57 passengers for Dundee, five or six for Broughty Ferry, five for Newport, two season ticket holders, the engine driver, stoker, and guard of the train, and two other guards, making 74 or 75 persons altogether. The tickets having been collected, the train proceeded on its course, leaving St. Fort Station at 7.8 p.m., and on approaching the cabin which stands at the southern end of the bridge, the speed was slackened to about three or four miles an hour to enable the engine driver to take the baton or train staff, without which he is not allowed to cross the bridge. On receiving the-baton, steam was again turned on, and the train passed on to the bridge, upon which the signalman, Thomas Barclay, signalled to the north cabin signalman, the time according to the entry in his book, being exactly 13 minutes after 7 o'clock. It was then blowing a strong gale from about W.S.W., and therefore almost directly across the bridge; there was a full moon, but it was quite dark, owing to the face of the moon being obscured by clouds. It seems that a surface man in the employment of the the North British Railway Company, named John Watt, had gone to keep Barclay company, and was in the cabin when the train passed: and whilst Barclay was attending to his duties, entering the time in his book and making up the stove fire, Watt was watching the train through the window in the cabin door, which looks north along the line. According to Watt, when the train had got about 200 yards from the cabin, he observed sparks flying from the wheels; and after they had continued about three minutes, there was a sudden bright flash of light, and in an instant there was total darkness, the tail lamps of the train, the sparks, and flash of light, all, he said disappearing at the same instant."

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