Thursday 26 Oct 2017
New campaign urges drivers in the East Midlands to be vigilant following bridge bashes
Network Rail is urging HGV drivers to stop striking railway bridges in the East Midlands after it has been revealed that three of the region’s bridges are amongst the most hit in Great Britain.
In the past six years, the three notorious rail bridges in Chinley, Hinckley and Willington have been struck over 210 times causing widespread delays to road and rail users.
Not only do bridge strikes cost valuable time for road users, strikes to the bridges have cost the tax-payer hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages and numerous hours disruption.
Worryingly, new research shows that 43% of lorry drivers admit to not knowing the size of their vehicle and over half of them do not take low bridges into account when planning their journeys.
Network Rail has launched a campaign to tackle the problem and has worked closely with the haulage and public transport industries to raise awareness of the issue and to stress the importance that drivers know the height of their vehicles and plan their routes ahead of time.
The campaign will be launched to all key players in the haulage industry calling on them to challenge their drivers to ‘check it, rather than chance it’ and will run until April next year.
Rob McIntosh, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “I’m sure many people in the East Midlands will have experienced delays due to vehicles striking railway bridges and we appreciate just how frustrating this can be.
“Bridge strikes are completely preventable which is why we have teamed up with key transport industries to raise awareness of the problem and look at ways in which we can work together to reduce these incidents.
“Reducing these incidents means that we can improve journeys for passengers and ensure that we provide a network which meets the needs of the economies and communities our railway serves.”
David Pickering, Chief Operating Officer at Eddie Stobart, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Network Rail’s campaign as we have worked really hard to highlight the importance of our drivers knowing the height of their vehicles. As well as carefully planning routes to avoid low bridges, we carry out manual vehicle checks at the beginning of every journey which requires the driver to adjust the trailer height on a measurement in the cab. Additionally, we are installing software early next year which will warn drivers with an audible alarm when they are approaching a bridge. We have also tried some quirky ways of engaging drivers in the issue including our giant giraffe ‘Bridget’ in our Training Academy which serves as a constant reminder to our drivers of why they need to be bridge aware!”
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About Network Rail
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.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.