Civils and stations

15.11.07

Signs up for Bromsgrove’s bridge bashers

Rail passengers travelling between Birmingham, Worcestershire and the West Country are set to benefit following an initiative by Network Rail and Worcestershire County Council to reduce delays caused by high vehicles hitting railway bridges.

New interactive signs have been installed at Vigo and Navigation bridges near Bromsgrove to reduce the number of times they are hit. In the past three years, ‘bridge strikes’ at these two locations have caused almost 9000 train delay minutes and cost the railway industry over £100,000.

Consequences of a bridge strike can vary from minor paint scrapes, to major structural damage to the bridge and track being moved sideways by the impact. In some cases vehicles get stuck under the bridge themselves, also causing major delays for motorists.

John Gill, Network Rail’s Area General Manager said: "Each time these bridges are hit, we have to close the railway until an engineer can examine the structure for any damage. This not only causes significant disruption for passengers but costs the railway industry thousands of pounds every year, money that would otherwise be used to improve services."

By using vehicle-activated technology, the interactive signs warn drivers approaching the bridges from both sides if their vehicles are too tall and likely to strike the bridge. Councillor Derek Prodger, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, added: "These signs, particularly the location of them, are important in addressing the hazard posed by high vehicles hitting railway bridges. These signs are a step in the right direction and I would welcome them not just being sited on bridges, but also along routes."

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