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Jamestown, Forth Bridge, North Approach Railway Viaduct

A Category B Listed Building in Inverkeithing, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.023 / 56°1'22"N

Longitude: -3.4052 / 3°24'18"W

OS Eastings: 312509

OS Northings: 682009

OS Grid: NT125820

Mapcode National: GBR 20.SGYC

Mapcode Global: WH6S3.NWN2

Entry Name: Jamestown, Forth Bridge, North Approach Railway Viaduct

Listing Date: 10 February 2004

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397243

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49652

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Inverkeithing

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay

Traditional County: Fife

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Inverkeithing

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 Interest

A-group with 'Forth Bridge' and 'Hope Street, Forth Bridge Approach Railway, Truss Bridge' (see separate listings).

This 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 identity.

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.

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