Punters to experience new £10m viewing platform at the top of the 330ft Forth Rail Bridge by 2020
RAIL bosses want to build a £10m viewing platform at the top of the Forth Rail Bridge.Top brass at Network Rail want the go ahead to take groups of up to 15 punters to the top of the world famous 330ft high red bridge by 2020 – the 130th anniversary of it opening.
The bridge operator hope the Forth Bridge Experience will become a world-class tourist attraction to rival the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk and the Grand Canyon aerial walkway.
The state-owned company had earlier announced ambitious plans for a large heritage centre at North Queensferry on the north bank of the estuary but that has now been shelved.
Fife councillors raised fears last year that the whole project could be scrapped and said the bridge’s potential ‘could be left untapped’.
However, after five years of planning the the company has now said it is pressing ahead with the bridge walk, the central part of its plan for the Unesco World Heritage Site, and work is expected to start next year
Visitors paying between £60 and £100 – the ticket price has yet to be finalised – will put on safety harnesses before being led out from the South Queensferry side of the estuary onto the upper beams of the bridge to a viewing platform at the top.
They will be rewarded with unique views across the 1964 road bridge and the new £1.35 billion Queensferry crossing, which is due to open this summer, out to the central Scotland mountains beyond.
Network Rail is anticipating the bridge walk would attract more than 100,000 visitors a year and has teamed up with Wire Sky, an urban aerial adventure company that developed the walk to the top of the O2 Arena in London.
They using the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk, which has had more than three million visitors from around the world and has become popular for marriage proposals and weddings, as a model for their plans.
Craig Bowman, from Network Rail, said: “There seems to be great appetite for this kind of aerial adventure. People are prepared to pay a premium to get such amazing views and we hope they will add it to their bucket list of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
“Just about everyone has seen the bridge and or pictures of it and many have family connections to those who worked to build it. We know people around the world admire it.”
The company are also planning a smaller visitor hub underneath one of the bridge’s approach arches which will be linked to Dalmeny station above and the Hawes area of South Queensferry to the west, with climbers able to buy tickets at Edinburgh Waverley station.
Groups of 15 will be led out onto the bridge every 15 minutes and spend 90 minutes on the structure.
The bridge which links Edinburgh to Fife carries more than 200 trains a day and was built by around 4.600 workers. It took seven years to complete and cost the lives of 70 men.
More than 55,000 tonnes of steel were used to build the bridge which contains 6.5million rivets.
It took £130million to complete the decade-long renovation of the bridge in 2011.
Painters had to cover an area of 230,000sqm but the bridge is not expected to need a repaint for at least 20 years.