An Address to the New Tay Bridge

Beautiful new railway bridge of the Silvery Tay,
With your strong brick piers and buttresses in so grand array,
And your thirteen central girders, which seem to my eye
Strong enough all windy storms to defy.
And as I gaze upon thee my heart feels gay,
Because thou are the greatest railway bridge of the present day,
And can be seen for miles away
From North, South, East or West of the Tay
On a beautiful and clear sunshiny day,
And ought to make the hearts of the “Mars” boys feel gay,
Because thine equal nowhere can be seen,
Only near by Dundee and the bonnie Magdalen Green.

Beautiful new railway bridge of the Silvery Tay,
With thy beautiful side-screens along your railway,
Which will be a great protection on a windy day,
So as the railway carriages won’t be blown away,
And ought to cheer the hearts of the passengers night and day
As they are conveyed along thy beautiful railway,
And towering above the Silvery Tay,
Spanning the beautiful river shore to shore
Upwards of two miles and more,
Which is most beautiful to be seen
Near by Dundee and the bonnie Magdalen Green,

Thy structure to my eye seems strong and grand,
And the workmanship most skilfully planned;
And I hope the designers, Messrs Barlow and Arrol, will prosper for many a day
For erecting thee across the beautiful Tay.
And I think nobody need have the least dismay
To cross o’er thee by night or by day,
Because thy strength is visible to be seen
Near by Dundee and the bonnie Magdalen Green.

Beautiful new railway bridge of the Silvery Tay,
I wish you success for many a year and a day,
And I hope thousands of people will come from far away,
Both high and low without delay,
From the North, South, East and West,
Because as a railway bridge thou art the best;
Thou standest unequalled to be seen
Near by Dundee and bonnie Magdalen Green.

And for beauty thou art most lovely to be seen
As the train crosses o’er thee with her cloud of steam;
And you look well, painted the colour of marone,
And to find thy equal there is none,
Which, without fear of contradiction, I venture to say,
Because you are the longest railway bridge of the present day
That now crosses o’er a tidal river stream,
And the most handsome to be seen
Near by Dundee and the bonnie Magdalen Green.

The New Yorkers boast about their Brooklyn Bridge,
But in comparison to thee it seems like a midge,
Because thou spannest the Silvery Tay
A mile and more longer I venture to say;
Besides the railway carriages are pulled across by a rope,
Therefore Brooklyn Bridge cannot with thee cope;
And as you have been opened on the 20th day of June,
I hope Her Majesty Queen Victoria will visit thee very soon,
Because thou art worthy of a visit from Duke, Lord or Queen,
And strong and securely built, which is most worthy to be seen
Near by Dundee and the bonnie Magdalen Green.

The Opening of the Tay Bridge

The Tay Bridge is opened for passenger traffic this morning, and the new train service, designed by the North British Railway Company for giving the public full advantage of the erection of this great structure, now comes into operation. That is the result of the Board of Trade inspection, which was completed on Saturday morning. The inspection to which the Bridge has been subjected has been of the most thorough kind. This was no more than was absolutely due to the public. The memory of that terrible calamity, the fall of the first Bridge spanning the estuary of the Tay Dundee, is still so fresh that, even had there been no other consideration but that, it would have been amply sufficiently to secure that the utmost care should be taken that the new Bridge should not be opened to traffic until the fullest examination that experience and science could suggest had been applied to all its parts, to its general design, to the quality of the materials of which the structure is composed, and to the whole manner in which the work has been carried through to its completion. This has been done — done in the most searching manner — and the officials who have been engaged on that important duty have had the satisfaction of reporting that the many and varied tests to which the solidity of the Bridge has been subjected have all resulted most satisfactorily. Any one looking at the Bridge, and remembering what the old structure was like, can have no difficulty in seeing how great is the difference, and now this popular test has been amply confirmed by the results of the scientific tests applied by the inspectors. Accordingly, we have now this great roadway over our noble river opened to traffic with the confident feeling that it is as secure, and will be permanent as any roadway on land. That it will immediately prove to be an immense boon alike to north and south cannot be doubted, although the full effect of these great operations by the North British Railway Company will not be felt until their still more gigantic undertaking, the bridge over the Forth, has been completed. To our own more immediate district the Tay Bridge will be highly beneficial.

The erection of this Bridge is a splendid example of that perseverance, that determination not be overcome by difficulties and discouragements, which have made of our nation and our country what they are. A few days ago London contemporary, writing in this connection, complimented the people of Scotland, and the compliment is not undeserved. Most of us can still remember the profoundly painful impression which was produced throughout the country by the fall of the old Tay Bridge, and it can be remembered also that amidst that painful sensation, even before the first stunning effect of the calamity had passed away, there arose a strong determination that human skill and enterprise must not in this great undertaking be permanently baffled. That resolution has been nobly carried out, as we see in the strong yet graceful structure — the longest bridge in Europe — which now spans the Tay at Dundee.

Dundee Courier, 20th June 1887

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Comments (3) »

  1. In the year 2013, on the 26th day of August at 12:29 pm

    I wonder what McG would have made of the Sydney Harbour Bridge? I may have to explore that at my leisure.

  2. Serge
    In the year 2014, on the 19th day of September at 2:16 am

    Below the kilt Where unmentionables are hidden
    Is where this poem should remain unbidden

  3. Floyd Kermode
    In the year 2014, on the 22nd day of September at 6:01 am

    Since the Sydney Harbour Bridge is in one piece and hasn’t killed anyone, I don’t think McG would have found any Gem-producing material in it. He might have enjoyed the collapse of the partially build Westgate Bridge in Melbourne.

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