Forth Rail Bridge 'paid for in blood'

The 'epic struggle' of the men who built the Forth Rail Bridge is to be examined in a new documentary which claims the construction was 'paid for in blood'.

Forth Rail Bridge PIC Dan Phillips/TSPL

The Forth Rail Bridge is the first feat of engineering to be examined in Britain’s Greatest Bridges, a new programme written by engineer Rob Bell.

He will look at why almost 70 men lost their lives building the bridge - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site - which links Edinburgh to the north and carries around 200 trains every day.

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A spokesman for the programme said: “This incredible engineering achievement was born from tragedy and paid for in blood.

Forth Rail Bridge opening invitation. Credit: © National Museums Scotland.

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“Construction began in the shadow of the Tay Bridge disaster, which had cost the lives of 70 passengers.

“Almost the same number died during the construction of the Forth Railway Bridge. Most fell from its high girders but others suffered horrendous injuries as they worked under pressure on the sea bed.”

Bell is to scale the bridge’s 360ft towers and recreate the working conditions of the 4,500 men who built the bridge.

Forth Rail Bridge opening invitation. Credit: © National Museums Scotland.

The engineer said he wanted to uncover the “huge egos, flawed geniuses and jealous rivalries” involved with the creation of the Victorian superstructures.

Britain’s Greatest Bridges will be shown on Channel 5 at 9pm tomorrow (Friday).