Tuesday 10 Nov 2020
Network Rail relaunches bridge strike campaign in Lincolnshire as new stats show notorious Grantham railway bridges struck 21 times in last year
Network Rail has relaunched a campaign to tackle bridge strikes in Lincolnshire after new figures reveal the bridges on Barrowby Road and Harlaxton Road were bashed 21 times last year.
Harlaxton Road bridge was hit 13 times, making it the eighth most struck bridge in the country, with Barrowby Road bridge not far behind having been struck eight times. Elsewhere in Lincolnshire, the railway bridge on Ermine Street was struck three times and bridges in Corby Glen and Gainsborough were both struck twice, meaning a total of 28* bridge bashes in the county.
With another lockdown period announced, increased online orders being delivered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black Friday and Christmas rush around the corner, and more large vehicles expected on Britain’s roads, Network Rail has released these figures to remind drivers and operators of their obligations to prevent these dangerous bridge strikes, which cost the taxpayers millions every year, as well as cause unnecessary delays for travellers.
Across the country, the number of reported bridge strikes has fallen by an average of 11%, however Lincolnshire lags behind that figure with no decrease in the number of bridge strikes across the county. In fact, the number of times Harlaxton Road bridge was struck increased by 18%. However, more encouraging news shows that drivers are beginning to heed the warning at Barrowby Road, as the latest figures show the number of strikes almost halving (47%) from the previous year.
Before the Christmas rush begins, Network Rail is urging drivers and companies to know the size of their vehicles and to plan their routes in advance. Network Rail will feature reminders to drivers on petrol pumps at motorway service stations across Britain, reminding them to check their routes before setting off or face losing their licence.
The campaign has been relaunched following a letter which Richard Turfitt, Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, issued last month to all goods vehicle and Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operator licence holders. The letter warned them that regulatory action which could result in the loss of their operator’s licence is a real possibility should they fail to take appropriate control measures to prevent bridge strikes.
Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said: “We’ve done a lot of work with partners across the industry in recent years to tackle bridge strikes, however, there’s much more to be done.
“There were still far too many bridge strikes in the county last year, which caused unnecessary delays for passengers, as well as costing the taxpayer money. As Christmas deliveries ramp up, we’re urging all drivers to know the size of their vehicle and follow the guidance.”
Notes to Editors
* 28 recorded bridge strikes in Lincolnshire between April 2019 and March 2020. Figs from Network Rail.
- Assess the risks and ensure that routes are planned in advance, so far as is reasonably practicable
- Ensure that drivers, transport managers and planners are properly trained to enable them to assess the risks
- Ensure that drivers are be provided with adequate information including about the vehicles which they are driving.
- In providing information that allows anyone planning or altering a route, operators should consider how to:
- ensure that drivers have access to height conversion charts
- ensure that sites have height measurement gauges
- ensure that each vehicle and trailer in the fleet has an established running height on its technical record
- ensure that running heights are available to anyone planning a route including drivers who encounter unexpected or unmapped obstructions, such as temporary works
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.