Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Thomas Bouch

Thomas Bouch

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Thomas Bouch'
Start a new discussion about 'Thomas Bouch'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Sir Thomas Bouch was a British railway engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 in Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

.

He was born in Thursby
Thursby
Thursby is a village near Carlisle in north-western England. West of Thursby is the church of St Andrews, built in 1846. It was not the first church on the site; one existed since the 6th century....

, near Carlisle, Cumberland
Cumberland
Cumberland is a historic county of North West England, on the border with Scotland, from the 12th century until 1974. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria....

, England and lived in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. He helped develop the caisson
Caisson (engineering)
In geotechnical engineering, a caisson is a retaining, watertight structure used, for example, to work on the foundations of a bridge pier, for the construction of a concrete dam, or for the repair of ships. These are constructed such that the water can be pumped out, keeping the working...

 and the roll-on/roll-off train ferry
Train ferry
A train ferry is a ship designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as...

. He worked initially for the North British Railway
North British Railway
The North British Railway was a Scottish railway company that was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway at the Grouping in 1923.-History:...

 and helped design parts of Waverley Station
Edinburgh Waverley railway station
Edinburgh Waverley railway station is the main railway station in the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Covering an area of over 25 acres in the centre of the city, it is the second-largest main line railway station in the United Kingdom in terms of area, the largest being...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. He set up as an independent consultant, during which time he built a rail line to St Andrews
St Andrews
St Andrews is a university town and former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife in Scotland. The town is named after Saint Andrew the Apostle.St Andrews has a population of 16,680, making this the fifth largest settlement in Fife....

 in Fife
Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

. The railway suffered numerous mishaps owing to poor quality engineering, such as the use of old rail lines. He also built a number of railway bridges, at Belah and Deepdale on an important cross-Pennines route (now defunct), but which survived until the Beeching Axe
Beeching Axe
The Beeching Axe or the Beeching Cuts are informal names for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system in the United Kingdom. The name is that of the main author of The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr Richard...

 in the 1960s. His negligence led to the Tay Bridge Disaster
Tay Bridge disaster
The Tay Bridge disaster occurred on 28 December 1879, when the first Tay Rail Bridge, which crossed the Firth of Tay between Dundee and Wormit in Scotland, collapsed during a violent storm while a train was passing over it. The bridge was designed by the noted railway engineer Sir Thomas Bouch,...

, which destroyed his reputation shortly before his death.

Tay Bridge



He designed the first Tay Rail Bridge
Tay Rail Bridge
The Tay Bridge is a railway bridge approximately two and a quarter miles long that spans the Firth of Tay in Scotland, between the city of Dundee and the suburb of Wormit in Fife ....

 whilst working for the North British Railway, and the official opening took place in May 1878. Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 travelled over it in late June 1879, and she awarded him a knighthood in recognition of his achievement. The bridge collapsed on 28 December 1879 when it was hit by strong side winds. A train was travelling over it at the time, and 75 people died.

The subsequent public inquiry revealed that the contractors to the railway company sacrificed safety and durability to save costs. Sloppy working practices such as poor smelting
Smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 and the re-use of girder
Girder
A girder is a support beam used in construction. Girders often have an I-beam cross section for strength, but may also have a box shape, Z shape or other forms. Girder is the term used to denote the main horizontal support of a structure which supports smaller beams...

s dropped into the estuary during construction were factors in the bridge's collapse.

The inquiry concluded that the bridge was "badly designed, badly built, and badly maintained". All of the high girders section fell during the accident, and analysis of the archives has shown that the design of cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

 columns with integral lugs holding the tie bars was a critical mistake. The lugs were composed of cast iron, which is brittle under tension. Many other bridges had been built to a similar design using cast iron columns and wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 tie bars, but none used this design detail. Gustave Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was a French structural engineer from the École Centrale Paris, an architect, an entrepreneur and a specialist of metallic structures...

 built many such bridges in France in the 1860s, some surviving and still carrying railway traffic.

As the engineer, Thomas Bouch was blamed for the collapse of the Tay bridge, his assistant Charles Meik
Charles Meik
Charles Meik was an English engineer and part of a minor engineering dynasty. His father Thomas Meik was also an engineer, as was Charles' brother Patrick Meik; collectively, they established a company which is now one of the UK's major engineering consultancies.Both boys were born in Crow Tree...

, having merely left an impression that he "was aptly named", implying that he had no great influence over the design and construction.

After the inquiry, Bouch rapidly removed and reinforced similar lugs on the new bridge he had built at Montrose (Angus), but after another inspection, the bridge was demolished and replaced.

The remains of the original Tay bridge were demolished and replaced by an entirely new design by William Henry Barlow
William Henry Barlow
On 28 December 1879, the central section of the North British Railway's bridge across the River Tay near Dundee collapsed in the Tay Bridge disaster as an express train crossed it in a heavy storm. All 75 passengers and crew on the train were killed...

 and his son Crawford Barlow. Some of the wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 girders were re-used in the new double track bridge by cutting them in half and re-welding to form wider structures for the track. The brick and masonry piers from the old bridge were left as breakwater
Breakwater (structure)
Breakwaters are structures constructed on coasts as part of coastal defence or to protect an anchorage from the effects of weather and longshore drift.-Purposes of breakwaters:...

s for the new piers, which were monocoque
Monocoque
Monocoque is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's external skin, as opposed to using an internal frame or truss that is then covered with a non-load-bearing skin or coachwork...

s of wrought iron and steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

.

Forth Bridge



Bouch's design for the Forth Bridge had been accepted and the foundation stone laid, but the project was cancelled due to the Tay Bridge Disaster. One of the piers still remains at the site. An entirely different design was proposed by Sir Benjamin Baker and Sir John Fowler. A cantilever bridge
Cantilever bridge
A cantilever bridge is a bridge built using cantilevers, structures that project horizontally into space, supported on only one end. For small footbridges, the cantilevers may be simple beams; however, large cantilever bridges designed to handle road or rail traffic use trusses built from...

, not a suspension bridge
Suspension bridge
A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. Outside Tibet and Bhutan, where the first examples of this type of bridge were built in the 15th century, this type of bridge dates from the early 19th century...

 as proposed by Bouch, it was completed in 1890.

Thomas Bouch retired to Moffat
Moffat
Moffat is a former burgh and spa town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, lying on the River Annan, with a population of around 2,500. The most notable building in the town is the Moffat House Hotel, designed by John Adam...

, his health deteriorated, and he died a few months after the public inquiry into the disaster finished. He is buried in Dean Cemetery
Dean Cemetery
The Dean Cemetery is a prominent cemetery in the Dean Village, in Edinburgh, Scotland.-Dean House:It stands on the site of Dean House , part of Dean Estate which had been purchased in 1609 by Sir William Nisbet, who became in 1616 Lord Provost of Edinburgh. The Nisbets of Dean held the office of...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

.

Other


Bouch did the initial survey for the Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway
Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway
The Edinburgh Suburban and South Side Junction Railway is a freight and former commuter railway which runs in a loop across the southern suburbs of Edinburgh, Scotland. It opened in 1884 for both freight and passenger services...

. For the Edinburgh and Northern Railway
Edinburgh and Northern Railway
The Edinburgh and Northern Railway was a Scottish railway company. It was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1845. It operated services between Burntisland, on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, Perth and Tayport, with a junction at Ladybank...

, he designed the ferry slip
Ferry slip
A ferry slip is a specialized docking facility that receives a ferryboat or train ferry. A similar structure called a barge slip receives a barge or car float that is used to carry wheeled vehicles across a body of water....

 for the world's first train ferry
Train ferry
A train ferry is a ship designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as...

, which ran from Granton
Granton, Edinburgh
Granton is a district in the north of Edinburgh, Scotland. Granton forms part of Edinburgh's waterfront along the Firth of Forth and is, historically, an industrial area having a large harbour. Granton is part of Edinburgh's large scale waterfront regeneration programme.-Name:Granton first appears...

 to Burntisland
Burntisland
Burntisland is a town and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland on the Firth of Forth. According to an estimate taken in 2008, the town has a population of 5,940....

 in Fife
Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

. Services began on 3 February 1850. He also designed the Hownsgill railway viaduct in Consett
Consett
Consett is a town in the northwest of County Durham, England, about southwest of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is home to 27,394 .Consett sits high on the edge of the Pennines. In 1841, it was a village community of only 145, but it was about to become a boom town: below the ground was coking coal and...

, County Durham
County Durham
County Durham is a ceremonial county and unitary district in north east England. The county town is Durham. The largest settlement in the ceremonial county is the town of Darlington...

 which carried the Stanhope & Tyne Railway 175 feet above Hownsgill. The viaduct is 700 feet long and follows a 12 arch design constructed in brick. Today it forms part of the Sea to Sea Cycle Route
Sea to Sea Cycle Route
The Coast to Coast or Sea to Sea Cycle Route is Great Britain's most popular long-distance cycle route and is based on minor roads, disused railway lines, off-road tracks and specially constructed cycle paths...

 which crosses from Whitehaven
Whitehaven
Whitehaven is a small town and port on the coast of Cumbria, England, which lies equidistant between the county's two largest settlements, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, and is served by the Cumbrian Coast Line and the A595 road...

 or Workington
Workington
Workington is a town, civil parish and port on the west coast of Cumbria, England, at the mouth of the River Derwent. Lying within the Borough of Allerdale, Workington is southwest of Carlisle, west of Cockermouth, and southwest of Maryport...

 on the west coast to Sunderland or Tynemouth
Tynemouth
Tynemouth is a town and a historic borough in Tyne and Wear, England, at the mouth of the River Tyne, between North Shields and Cullercoats . It is administered as part of the borough of North Tyneside, but until 1974 was an independent county borough in its own right...

 on the east coast.

See also

  • Tay Bridge disaster
    Tay Bridge disaster
    The Tay Bridge disaster occurred on 28 December 1879, when the first Tay Rail Bridge, which crossed the Firth of Tay between Dundee and Wormit in Scotland, collapsed during a violent storm while a train was passing over it. The bridge was designed by the noted railway engineer Sir Thomas Bouch,...