On this day: 18th August 1966, the Tay Road Bridge opened linking Dundee city centre with Fife. Thousands attended the official opening by the Queen Mother. A 50 ft (15 m) tall commemorative obelisk stands at the Newport side, with a smaller memorial obelisk at the Dundee side, to commemorate the six men who died in construction of the bridge. Both of these obelisks are designed as the piers of the bridge, each representing the height of the piers at that end of the bridge. 26,000 vehicles travel the bridge every day and it is also one of the longest road bridges in Europe.
The last passenger and vehicle ferries service (“Fifies”) ran its last voyage on the very day the bridge opened. The Fifies operated across the River Tay between Craig Pier, Dundee and Newport-on-Tay, Fife. Forfarshire (1863 – 1893), PS Dundee (1875 – 1917), Fifeshire (1859 – 1929), Newport (1910 – 1939), Sir William High (1924 – 1951), BL Nairn (1929 – 1966), Abercraig (1939 -1966) and Scotscraig (1951-1969) paddle steamers operated on the river. PS Dolphin (1893-1920) ran from Tayport to Broughty Ferry. The opening of the road bridge would also lead to the closure of the railway line from Tayport to Dundee in 1969.
In more recent times, Bertie the bull escaped from Market Mews in July 2000 (in the vicinity of what later became DMofT) and ran across the road bridge. “They nicknamed it Houdini because it escaped over a six-foot wall,” said Jim McDonald (bridge supervisor for 34 years).
There is a display in hall one of the museum with lots of information and photographs of the Tay Road Bridge.
Dundee Museum of Transport is currently organising a major parade to celebrate 50 years of the Tay Road Bridge. As part of the parade, the aim is to have one car from each year since the bridge was built – 50 vehicles from vintage to brand new! So, if you have a vehicle that fits the description, then please contact us via our online formand you may be in with the chance of joining the parade!
Early booking is advised, as there are only 30 places left.
The parade will be taking place on Sunday 21st August, leaving from Fife at 12.45pm and making its way across the bridge, right into the heart of the town. Plans are progressing, and we are hoping that we will be able to use the new Slessor Gardens, right in the centre of the brand new Waterfront Development.
Either way, we have a fun-filled day planned with quality food stalls, carnival, face painting- a proper family day out.
Just in time for Christmas we are pleased to announce that we have added many more items to our online shop including many DMofT items, a wide range of transport-related books, a special five-visit ticket deal and special bundles to save you even more. Plus if you haven’t already joined you can add a membership at the same time!