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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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.