One of the world’s most iconic rail bridges, the Forth Bridge in Scotland, will become publicly accessible for the first time by 2015 under newly revealed plans by Network Rail Scotland.
The £12-£15 million proposals are for a visitor centre and viewing platform to be linked by a glass lift in North Queensferry, with a smaller pod-type base to facilitate guided walks to the top of the south tower in South Queensferry. Spanning the Forth Estuary, the bridge opened in 1890. The main structure runs 1,630 metres from portal to portal, and its highest point – where the proposed viewing platform will be – is 110 metres from high water to top. It currently carries 200 trains per day, which equates to 3 million passengers per year.
David Simpson, route managing director, Network Rail Scotland comments, “After 10 years spent restoring the bridge to its full glory, and in advance of the application for world heritage listing, these plans will offer the public the chance to visit the bridge and see it ‘close-up’ for the first time. We are hugely excited by these proposals and believe that they have the potential to be developed into an important new visitor attraction for Scotland.
“While these plans are still at development stage, we believe that the options we have revealed today can be delivered without impacting the well loved view of the bridge. Any infrastructure on the bridge will be less visible than the existing scaffold platform and all buildings designs will be of premium quality.
“It’s an ambitious target, but we’d love to see these plans at least partially realised by 2015 to coincide with the bridge’s 125th anniversary. Any profits from the two facilities would be reinvested into the upkeep of the bridge.”
Network Rail will now begin developing designs in consultation with relevant authorities and local communities, with information on the proposals available at: www.forthbridgeexperience.com.