Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Visitor centre, viewing platform, and tower-top walks on the Forth Bridge

There are some things I’ve wondered about for years, puzzled in some ways because they seem obvious, but sometimes not so puzzled, since I can think of many reason why they have come to pass.

One such subject has been a viewing platform on the Forth Bridge (or the Forth Road Bridge) where tourists and visitors to view the Firth of Forth from a location 100 metres (328 ft) in the air. The road bridge has towers 156 metres tall (511 ft) – but I only add this for comparison.

Because we have few such features here, I’m always mildly intrigued to see how common they are abroad.

I’d always put the difference down to an unwillingness to take risk, and fear of potential liability and litigation if there’s and accident or other incident. And in some ways, thought it reasonable, with many of out structures being old, and not originally built to accommodate such features.

Not that we do any better when we do design such a viewing structure, as in utter fiasco and embarrassment that stands in the Faulty tower: Glasgow’s £10m white elephant – they’d have been better to leave the Clydesdale Bank Tower on the spot. It survived in Rhyl as the Sky Tower until 2010, when falling visitor numbers and rising costs saw it close, even though it was structurally sound and could have been operated for a further 30 years. I think they’re still wondering what to do with it – although it’s future as a ride was firmly ruled almost as soon as it was closed.

Forth Bridge Project

Plans for the Forth Bridge describe a visitor centre linked by a glass lift to a viewing platform on the Fife side. The centre would include education and exhibition facilities, together with a café and shop

Guided walks would be offered to the top of the tower on the Edinburgh side. Those taking part would have to wear the necessary safety gear for such an excursion.

Network Rail (the body behind the proposals) said a visitor centre building would be created underneath the northern Fife Tower, as the north of the bridge is the only place the structure has land access.

They hope the attraction could be open to the public from 2015, and placed the cost at between £12 million and £15 million. Any profits from the venture being returned to maintain the bridge,

2015 also happens to be the 125th anniversary of the bridge.

Via Plan for viewing platform at top of Forth Rail Bridge

The view from the top

This video gives and idea of what can be seen from up there:


More details were released a few days later…

The proposed visitor centre would be located at the base of the Fife tower, and would have a glass roof.

The lift would take visitors to an open air viewing platform above.

An annual visitor count of 230,000 is being claimed, with 133,000 expected to take the lift to the platform.

The south tower would provide overalls and safety gear for those wishing to take a 3-hour guided tour along catwalks leading under the tracks and then to the top. This is expected to see 126,000 visitors per annum.

These visitor number suggest a park-and-ride scheme would be needed to avoid congestion.

Walks along the length of the bridge may be added later,

Earlier reports (as noted above) suggesting a glass sided elevator appear to have been in error, as the intention seem to be for the entire experience to be open air in order convey the height of the structure, so the lift would be open, to match the platform.

Via Video: View from the top of the Forth Bridge – Heritage – The Scotsman


August 27, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , ,

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