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Bowed Truss Railway Bridge, Inverkeithing

A Category B Listed Building in Inverkeithing, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0264 / 56°1'35"N

Longitude: -3.4028 / 3°24'10"W

OS Eastings: 312669

OS Northings: 682387

OS Grid: NT126823

Mapcode National: GBR 20.S9J2

Mapcode Global: WH6S3.PSTG

Plus Code: 9C8R2HGW+HV

Entry Name: Bowed Truss Railway Bridge, Inverkeithing

Listing Name: Hope Street, Forth Bridge Approach Railway, Truss Bridge

Listing Date: 4 August 2004

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397656

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49946

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Inverkeithing

County: Fife

Town: Inverkeithing

Electoral Ward: Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay

Traditional County: Fife

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Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, 1883-1890; Louis Neville, engineer for Tancred, Arrol and Co and Joseph Philips, contractors. Mild steel and masonry bowed N-truss bridge. Skew plan. Ashlar coped snecked bull-faced masonry abutments. Each span approximately 37 metres long; bridge approximately 10 metres wide.

Statement of Interest

A-group with 'Forth Bridge' and 'Jamestown, Forth Bridge, North Approach Railway Viaduct' (see separate listings).

This truss bridge was erected by the Forth Bridge Railway Company as a component of the North Approach Railway, built in association with the Forth Bridge. 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 (see separate listing) this truss bridge was designed by Fowler and Baker, and demonstrates the early use of open-hearth steel on a large scale.

Upon completion the Forth (Railway) 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 fifty 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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