Wednesday 10 Nov 2004

SWINDON BRIDGE “BASHED” ONCE TOO OFTEN

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
Motorists driving in Wootton Bassett Road will face fresh warnings about the height of Running Horse Bridge, thanks to new signage by Network Rail and Swindon Borough Council. The railway bridge has been hit six times this year and 20 times since April 2001, costing the rail industry almost £165,000 and causing more than 2,000 minutes delay for rail passengers.  Each time the bridge is struck, rail engineers have to stop trains travelling over the bridge, sometimes also closing the bridge to road users, while the bridge is closely examined for damage. This not only causes delays to road users passing under the bridge, but also to rail passengers.  Peter Leppard, Network Rail’s Acting Western Route Director, said: “We urge drivers, particularly drivers of lorries and other large vehicles, to take extra care when driving near railway bridges, as even the smallest “bridge strikes” can cause disruption to hundreds of people while the bridge is checked and repaired.” Cllr Jemima Milton, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: "I am delighted that we are working so effectively with Network Rail to try and stop the repeated damage being caused to this particular bridge. Lets hope this will bring an end to the train and road delays caused by bridge bashers." Other initiatives to reduce bridge strikes include two recently produced guides for professional drivers and transport managers to raise awareness of the risk and consequences of bridge strikes and provide helpful guidance to prevent them.  These have been produced in partnership with freight and construction plant transport industry. Key tips for drivers include:
  • Planning journeys in advance to avoid low bridges
  • Measuring the height and width of the vehicle and displaying them in the cab before travelling, considering both the load and equipment
  • Vehicle height should be checked again after unloading/reloading
  • Checking that lifting arms and other pieces of equipment are secured before and during the journey
  • Planning of an alternative route, avoiding low bridges in case of road closures, diversions or heavy traffic

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office -Western route
07730 354394
MediaRelationsWestern@networkrail.co.uk

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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.

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