To try and prevent the bridge strikes that are all too common, the top ten most bashed and at-risk railway bridges across Anglia and East London will be fitted with a new CCTV system to reduce delays and cancellations to rail services as part of a £190, 000 investment programme.
The new CCTV cameras will capture images of the bridge deck, allowing faster examination in the event of a bridge strike. Structural engineers can examine the footage and damage as it was caused, which is particularly useful if the culprit has driven away.
After an incident, the bridge needs to be checked to make sure it’s safe and any debris needs to be cleared. This can cause significant delays to both road and rail users as well as disruption to the affected community. Footage from the new CCTV cameras will allow for quicker assessment, helping engineers get train services running again, meaning fewer delays and cancellations.
Most of the vehicles that hit railway bridges are Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses, at a cost of around £13,000 per strike – costing the UK taxpayer around £23 million in a year.
The system will be fitted at the following bridges by the end of August:
- Hockley – Greensward Lane/Spa Road
- Wickford – Hawk Road
- Needham Market – Hawkes Mill St
- Needham Market – Coddenham Road B1078
- Ely – Stuntney Road (A142)
- Ely – Saxham Station Bridge (Little Saxham)
- Norwich (Trowse) – Trowse Swingbridge (River Wensum)
- Camden – Randolph Street
- Romford – South Street
- Clapton – Leaside Road
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Bridge strikes are a significant safety risk and cause widespread disruption and delays for passengers. While this new system will reduce delays, I can’t stress enough how important it is for drivers to know the height of their vehicle and plan ahead to prevent these serious incidents happening in the first place.
“Drivers who chance it at bridges are at risk of losing their licenses and leaving their employers with a hefty bill for repairs and train delay costs, along with a strong threat to their own operators licence.”