On 17th September 1895, North British Railway officials and police prevented Tommy Burns from diving off the Tay Bridge. The following day’s Dundee Courier explained:
His plan was to gain the platform at the Esplanade Station, run along the Bridge to the centre, then toss off the loose garments, and take a header into the river.
It was apparent to those looking on that the whole thing would be frustrated. The platform of the Esplanade Station, usually so quiet, appeared more than ordinarily animated. A strong staff of officials, from railway porters and policemen to station-masters and superintendents were on duty.
Undaunted by the official array, Tommy made the rush. “If I once get on the bridge they won’t catch me,” he boasted, and he nearly made his boast good. He ascended the steps leading to the station and darted along the platform for the bridge. He had got about fifty yards beyond the platform when his progress was stopped by the station officials. Tommy grew desperate, and attempted to shake them off, but it was of no avail. He was quickly surrounded by a group of men in authority by whom he was informed that he could not be allowed to pass along the bridge for any purpose whatever …
Tommy listened in silence and was escorted from the station but, undeterred, he climbed into a small boat and was rowed into mid-stream with the intention of scaling one of the bridge piers. However, he was closely watched from above by officials and after about half an hour he gave up, vowing ‘he would do it some other day’.