Memorials for those killed in Tay Bridge disaster

Memorial The granite cairns were unveiled at ceremonies on either side of the river

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Memorials to commemorate the Tay Bridge disaster have been unveiled.

It is 134 years since the bridge collapsed during a storm sending a train plunging into the river below.

Fifty-nine people are known to have died, although there was confusion over the numbers killed as many bodies were not discovered for months.

Granite cairns with the names of those who lost their lives have been put in place on both sides of the river.

Newspapers at the time claimed that about 75 people died when the the central navigation spans of bridge gave way on 28 December 1879.

But members of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust have since said the true number was 59.

Unveiling ceremonies

The original crossing had been the longest railway bridge in the world but during the storm the wind was said to have blown the iron girders in the central section away "like matchwood".

The trust has been campaigning for memorials to those who died.

Start Quote

Both sides need to have a memorial for the simple reason that many of the victims had connections on both sides of the River Tay”

End Quote Prof David Swinfen Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust

Chairman, Prof David Swinfen, said it was difficult to answer the question of why it has taken so long to commemorate the disaster.

"I think possibly there was a feeling that they didn't want to commemorate a tragedy," he said.

"But surely those feelings are long gone and now its high time that we did something about it."

The memorials on either side of the river, in Dundee and in Fife, are each are made of three pieces of granite and positioned so they face where the central span of the bridge once stood. They are inscribed with the 59 names of those who died.

Ian Nimmo White, secretary of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust, said he is aware that some believe more people were killed but they had to stick with the evidence they had.

"These are the 59 victims who are known to have died," he said.

"That means for whom we have death certificates. You can't really say that there is more than 59 unless you can prove them with the appropriate documentation."

Unveiling ceremonies took place on both sides of the river on Saturday, followed by a reception for descendants of the victims.

Prof Swinfen added: "Both sides need to have a memorial for the simple reason that many of the victims had connections on both sides of the River Tay.

"Typically they were people who were working in Dundee but had families in Fife so they were coming back after visiting their families at the weekends are were sadly lost as a result."

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