Never-ending task no more
The painting of the Forth Rail Bridge was once a job famous for never being finished and coined a cliche that any seemingly never-ending job was “like painting the Forth bridge”.
But that changed when a specialist coating system developed by Leighs Paints was applied by a 400-strong team of workmen over 10 years at a cost of more than £130m. They finished the huge refurbishment project in December 2011.
The glass-flake epoxy coating used is expected to last at least 25 years, ending the tradition of continuously painting the bridge.
Old layers of paint were removed using abrasive blasting and steelwork requiring maintenance was repaired before the new paint was applied in three protective layers.
Leighs Paints said the paint system, primarily used in the offshore industry, allows the coating to bond with the metal to keep moisture out.
The cantilever Forth Rail Bridge, the second longest such bridge in the world, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It has a painting area of 230,000 sq metres and needed 240,000 litres of paint to cover it.
The steel structure, which contains more than 6.5 million rivets, was opened on March 4, 1890, by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, and is one and a half miles long.