UK: Network Rail has unveiled proposals for the provision of visitor access to the top of the Forth Bridge, which the infrastructure manger describes as 'the world's most recognised railway bridge'.
Two concepts have been identified by a feasibility study undertaken as part of an application for UNESCO World Heritage site status which is to be made in January 2014.
One proposal is to build a visitor centre with a glazed ceiling built under the northern Fife Tower, with education, exhibition, catering and shopping facilities. Two lifts on the east side of the bridge would provide access to a viewing platform 110 m above sea level at the top of the structure.
The second concept is for a new building underneath the southern approach span. From here groups of up to 15 people would be taken along the span on an existing walkway underneath the track, followed by a climb to the top of the southern Queensferry Tower along a walkway within the top cantilever.
The two concepts would cost an estimated £12m to 15m, and are predicted to attract more than 100 000 visitors/year.
'It's an ambitious target, but we'd love to see these plans at least partially realised by 2015 to coincide with the bridge's 125th anniversary', said David Simpson, Route Managing Director, Scotland, at Network Rail.