Railway engineering is a multi-faceted engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction and operation of all types of rail transport systems. Although Sir Thomas Bouch was awarded a knighthood for all his engineering achievements, he did tend to cut some corners in his projects.
He designed the St Andrews to Leuchars Railway rather cheaply, which caused issues: the sleepers of the rail-line were set up four feet apart, which is wider spacing than usual. The railway passed over two timber bridges which eventually started to deteriorate, as they had not been treated and preserved at the time of construction. The poor craftmanship caused a train to derail — this was the start of the end of the railway. In 1969, the railway was finally closed due to the decrease in popularity due to the Tay Road bridge being opened.
Sir Thomas Bouch was most known for building the Tay Rail Bridge. Just like the St Andrews to Leuchars Railway, corners were cut. This lead to the infamous Tay Bridge Disaster in 1879.
Nowadays, St Andrews residents have to make the journey to Leuchars by bus. Although taking a different mode of transport may be annoying, the overall journey time remains the same — approximately 15 minutes. There is a St Andrews Rail Link Campaign (2000) that is campaigning for the railway to be re-installed. Would you like to see another railway in St Andrews?
“Railway Station, St Andrews” Image Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums , ID: AGC-151-5 (© Andrew G. Cowie, all rights reserved.)