Wednesday 8 Mar 2017
Hi-tech warning signs at South London railway bridge reduce bridge strikes by a third and cut delays to trains
- South East
The number of lorries hitting the notorious Thurlow Park Bridge over the A205 South Circular Road in Tulse Hill, London, has fallen by more than a third since new smart warning signs were introduced last summer, reducing delays to rail passengers and motorists.
Previously the bridge was being hit almost twice a month on average, making it the second-most struck railway bridge in Britain. Network Rail engineers have to close the line for a safety inspection each time, leading to delays for Thameslink and Southern passengers.
The new system, which detects vehicles that are too high and sets off electronic warning signs, has slashed the number of incidents in the past six months to just seven — and only one in the last four months.
Mark Huband, Network Rail route asset manager, said: “Every time a lorry hits this bridge it causes disruption to thousands of passengers on one of London’s busiest rail routes – so it’s great to see the investment which has been made here is already making a difference. With a railway network as busy and complex as ours, knock-on delays can spread very quickly.
“By working with Transport for London, we’ve been able to reduce delays to Southern and Thameslink passengers and motorists too.”
Dana Skelley, Director of Asset Management at TfL, said: “Ensuring our roads are safe and reliable is a top priority. These hi-tech warning signs have been ensuring road users know the height restrictions of the bridge - helping reduce disruption caused by the actions of some HGV drivers who seem to not notice traditional signs. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to work so closely with Network Rail to achieve this novel solution to what had become a recurring issue.”
The new system detects vehicles that are too high and sets off electronic warning signs. The signs use energy efficient lighting (LEDs) and the system is linked to TfL’s London Streets and Traffic Control Centre. Extra standard warning signs and steel beams to protect the bridge were also installed last year. Network Rail has also stationed engineers close by during the morning and evening rush hours so they can quickly check the bridge if it is struck, reducing delays when incidents occur.
Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41
Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries
Network Rail press office - Carl Ferguson
Media and Communications Executive
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.