The Forth Bridge is to be considered as a Unesco World Heritage site.
A nomination for the famous bridge will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for a decision at the 2015 meeting.
The nomination will be overseen by the Forth Bridges Forum, which includes representatives from Historic Scotland, bridge owners Network Rail, Transport Scotland, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority, Fife Council and City of Edinburgh Council.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said: “The Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognised the world over. We are extremely excited that we have the opportunity to make the case for the Bridge being inscribed as Scotland’s sixth World Heritage Site.
“To have the Bridge inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site would be a tremendous accolade for the bridge itself, for the local communities and for Scotland. This nomination has the potential to be a celebration of our country’s incredible engineering ingenuity and pedigree and I wish the team working on it all the best.”
If successful, the rail bridge would be the sixth World Heritage Site in Scotland. The others are the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, The Antonine Wall (part of the transnational Frontiers of the Roman Empire WHS), the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, St Kilda and New Lanark.
The Forth Bridge was the world’s first large-scale steel cantilever bridge. It is one and a half miles long and comprises two girder spans of 1710ft made up of three 351ft high double-cantilevers.
Work on the bridge was commenced in 1882 and formally completed on March 4, 1890 by HRH Edward Prince of Wales.
David Simpson, route managing director for Network Rail Scotland, commented: “The Forth Bridge is one of the most recognisable bridges anywhere in the world and certainly the most cherished Scottish structure of the Victorian era.
“The bridge has become a source of pride and a symbol of Scotland’s resilience and ingenuity but we must never lose sight of the fact that it is first and foremost a working structure which still carries over 200 trains a day.
“This nomination should be regarded as a further tribute to the thousands of men who have contributed to building, maintaining and restoring the structure over the last 130 years.”