RUST IN PEACE; Rail Bridges Crumble after Millions Diverted to Tube
Byline: By BRIAN LIRONI and MARCELLO MEGA
DAYLIGHT shows through the rust and gaping holes of a busy rail bridge.
Sixty express trains from Glasgow to Aberdeen and Inverness thunder over it daily.
It is so corroded that there are tennis-ball-sized holes in the main load-bearing girders.
The bridge, over the River Earn at Forgandenny, Perthshire, is so dangerous that trains are banned from crossing both ways at once.
Six years ago, plans were drawn up to repair it for about pounds 2million but, at the last moment, the funds were diverted to help build the Jubilee Line on the London Underground.
A Sunday Mail investigation into the rail bridge timebomb revealed 50 rail bridges in Scotland are considered dangerous by safety experts. They include: #The Forth Bridge, which needs repairs costing pounds 11million. A major refurbishment programme starts next summer, when the bridge will be closed for eight days in August to allow engineers to blast the steel and repaint it with a special paint designed to last 20 years. The bridge will close every summer until 2008, when the repairs are completed. #The 438-yard Findhorn Viaduct, 14 miles south of Inverness, which carries 40 passenger trains daily. A Railtrack engineer was able to put his hand into cracks in the supporting beams.
#A bridge near Cowdeneath Station, which carries 50 busy commuter trains a day. It has been repaired by Network Rail after concerns were raised about corrosion. Respected rail engineer Tom Minogue said: 'I was able to put a stick through the main beam.
There is no way it was strong enough to support a train.'
Mr Minogue, former managing director of Kingdom Engineering, bid for the contract to repair the bridge over the River Earn at Forgandenny six years ago.
But the work was never carried out when they money went south of the Border. …