The Sleeper's Blog

05.04.16

Search is launched to uncover origins of WW2 era plans to reconstruct Forth Bridge

Mysterious 71-year-old plans for a Forth Bridge reconstruction that was never built have been discovered in an archive, leading to a hunt to find out more about them.

The drawings, found in a microfiche file among a box of historical documents, show a three-arch structure which would have been situated to the east of the bridge, running through Dalmeny and North Queensferry.

The structure is similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge but equivalent in size to three bridges built back-to-back, with 110m arches and 70m masonry towers.

It is not clear why the plans were drawn up and never built, but the drawing is attributed to the ‘Engineers Department Edinburgh’ and dated 22 January 1945, leading to speculation that it was developed as a contingency structure in case the Victorian-era Forth Bridge was destroyed by V2 rocket attacks in the Second World War.

Network Rail, who own the World Heritage Site bridge, and tourism body VisitScotland are now appealing for anyone with information about the plans to help solve the mystery.

Ian Heigh, a senior project manager for Network Rail, said: “To be honest, even Network Rail’s longest serving railway engineers seem to be a bit perplexed by the true purpose of these proposals. If this bridge had been built, the entire character of the area would have altered, not just the famous landmark. We’d love to know more about these plans, so I’d encourage anyone with more information to get in touch.”

If you have more information about the plans, please email: info@forthbridgeexperience.com.

To see a short video of the plans, click here.

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