Network Rail hopes to open visitor centre in 2015

The Forth Bridge will be made accessible to the public for the first time via a new visitors centre and viewing platform under plans unveiled by Network Rail today.

The facilities will cost up to £15m to build and will entail construction of a visitors centre and viewing platform at the north end of the bridge and a smaller facility at the south end.

The visitors centre will sit below the Fife Tower and have education and exhibition facilities, alongside catering and shopping. These will connect to a viewing platform 110m above sea level at the top of the bridge.

The facilities on the south side will consist of a smaller pod style building and will provide the base for guided walks of the bridge.

Transport minister Keith Brown said it was a “ambitious plan” and would provide a “breath-taking attraction for visitors”.

David Simpson, route managing director at Network Rail Scotland, said visitors would be able to get close-up to the bridge for the first time.

“While these plans are still at development stage, we believe that the options we have revealed today can be delivered without impacting the well loved view of the bridge. Any infrastructure on the bridge will be less visible than the existing scaffold platform and all buildings designs will be of premium quality.

“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.”