Twas the night before Christmas, when all through my house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
It is believed that the train is in the water, but the gale is still so strong that a steamboat has not yet been able to reach the bridge. The train was duly signalled from Fife as having entered the bridge at 7.
It was seen running along the rails, and then suddenly was observed a flash of fire. The opinion was that the train left the rails, and went over the bridge.
Those who saw the incident repaired immediately to the Tay-bridge station at Dundee and informed the station master of what they had seen. He immediately put himself in communication with the man in charge of the signal-box at the north end of the bridge.
The telegraph wires are stretched across the bridge, but when the instrument was tried it was soon seen that the wires were broken. Smith, the station-master and Mr. Roberts, locomotive superintendent, determined, notwithstanding the fierce gale, to walk across the bridge as far as possible from the north side, with the view of ascertaining the extent of the disaster.
They were able to get out a considerable distance, and the first thing that caught their eye was the water spurting from a pipe which was laid across the bridge for the supply of Newport, a village on the south side, from the Dundee reservoirs.
Going a little further, they could distinctly see by the aid of the strong moonlight that there was a large gap in the bridge caused by the fall, so far as they could discern, of two or three of the largest spars.
They thought, however, that they observed a red light on the south part of the bridge, and were of the opinion that the train had been brought to a standstill on the driver noticing the accident.
This conjecture has, unfortunately, been proved incorrect. At Broughtyferry, four miles from the bridge, several mail bags have come ashore, and there is no doubt that the train is in the river.
No precise information as to the number of passengers can be obtained, but it is variously estimated at from to The scene at the Tay-bridge station to-night is simply appalling. Many thousand persons are congregated around the buildings, and strong men and women are wringing their hands in despair.
On the 2d of Octoberwhile the bridge was in course of construction, one of the girders was blown down during a gale similar to that of to-day, but the only one of the workmen lost his life.
The return of the steamboat is anxiously awaited. A terrific storm, which had spread mayhem and destruction throughout central Scotland, was howling down the Tay just as the Edinburgh train was crossing the bridge.
There were no survivors, and only forty-six bodies were ever recovered. The bridge, which had been hailed as an engineering masterpiece on its opening the previous year, was found to have been severely flawed. The official enquiry discovered that the iron superstructure was of inferior quality and had been badly maintained.
Most damning of all, little or no account was made of wind pressure in the design of the bridge. The enquiry laid the blame at the door of the designer, Sir Thomas Bouch.
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Bouch vehemently denied the charge, but his career was in ruins. He died just ten months after the fall of the great bridge. Though none of the passengers were saved, there was a survivor of a sort. The engine that had hauled the train to its doom was recovered from the river bed and put back into service.
The masonry piers that once supported the iron columns of the bridge remain standing in the river to this day, a grim reminder of that terrible December night in The Tay Bridge Disaster is by far his best known poem. How it became so is unclear. Yet somehow this unhappy story of the Tay Bridge has become the definitive McGonagall poem.
Tay Bridge and associated lines — Profile of the bridge, then and now, for the rail enthusiast.The first recorded Christmas in Japan was a Mass held by Jesuit Missionaries in Yamaguchi Prefecture in Some believe that unrecorded celebrations were held before this date, starting in when Saint Francis Xavier arrived in Japan.
Christianity was banned throughout Japan in Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years. We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state.
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