Britain's Greatest Bridges

The Forth Rail Bridge

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Forth Rail Bridge



This is the sort of programme you find yourself enjoying far more than you expect. It is straight-ahead engineering history: how they built the Forth Bridge; how may rivets it has; what a cantilever is; and so on. But it’s all very interesting. And what is a cantilever? An illustrated lecture with a human version makes it all clear.

Similarly, we learn about caissons, the giant tin cans that engineers submerge so they can build on riverbeds. Presenter Rob Bell is enthusiastic without being wearing and offers nice human detail on the Forth bridge’s back story: after the Tay Bridge disaster, it was, he says, “designed to combat fear”.


Engineer Rob Bell sets out on a journey to discover how six of Britain's most stunning bridges were designed and built. Completed in 1890, the Forth Rail Bridge now carries around 200 trains every day. The last of the great Victorian engineering triumphs, it has grown to symbolise Scotland as much as Edinburgh Castle, bagpipes or kilts. But, as Rob learns, this incredible engineering achievement was born from the tragedy of the 1879 Tay Bridge disaster, and 73 deaths were connected with its construction and immediate aftermath.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Rob Bell
Director Phil Stein
Executive Producer Andra Heritage
Producer Phil Stein
Series Producer Ed Booth
Documentary Education