Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Tay Bridge disaster (1/2)

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On the evening of December 28th,

1879, a Sunday evening, a terrible storm had blown up,

affecting the whole of Dundee and the surrounding countryside.

Within the city,

chimney pots were blown off, slates ripped off roofs,

and people found it difficult even to walk upright through the streets of the city.

This, of course, was the festive season.

It was between Christmas and New Year,

and many of the passengers on the train had been paying social visits

to their friends and relatives in Fife.

Most of them were travelling alone.

There was one small family, the Watsons, a father and two sons.

There was Mr Nish and his daughter, Bella, he was the schoolmaster.

And there was the rather tragic pair of sweethearts.

The boyfriend had joined his girlfriend

centred across the bridge to be in her company.

And, in the context of that, the train crosses the bridge.

I grew up next door to this lady.

She was very, very old, at least, to me, she was, as a little girl.

And she used to put me on her knee and tell me this story about

what happened the night that the railway bridge went down.

She had been a downstairs maid in a large house over at Newport.

But she managed to get a job in Broughty Ferry as an upstairs maid.

So, she had to catch the last train back over the river.

But her mistress, who was very difficult,

wouldn't let her away until the last minute.

So, eventually, she did get to the station, only to see the train go out of the station.

So, she stood there crying, watching the train going over the bridge.

And then the next thing, she said,

it just seemed to be like a big blackness went over the side of the bridge,

but she could see the lights of the train,

and then she watched it plunging into the water.

The Description of The Tay Bridge disaster (1/2)