Bridge Strikes

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jopsuk, 28 Aug 2015.

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  1. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    buried in a consultation for changes to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions is the nugget that in the 2014/15 reporting year there were over 1600 instances of road vehicles hitting rail over-bridges.

    That's an average of more than four a day- this seems quite a lot! Especially given that most taller vehicles are driven by supposed professionals.

    It strikes me that if a serious safety failing was occurring multiple times a day on the railway itself there would be huge industry efforts made to stamp it out. Yet, as with most road safety issues (something like three pedestrians hit by London buses every day, for example) there seems to be a bit of a "well, what do you expect?" attitude.
     
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  3. Carntyne

    Carntyne Member

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    The amount of professional drivers who don't report them either is shocking. Total disregard for safety.
     
  4. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  5. CharlieSpotted

    CharlieSpotted Member

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    As someone who used to work in a building overlooking a commonly struck bridge, we got very used to the screech of lorry brakes and then the inevitable crunch of metal-on-metal, as the trailer jammed itself tight under the bridge. I'd say it happened once a month on average. So the figure of 4 a day nationwide seems low to me!


    (Edit) And surely enough, the bridge I was talking about is on that list of Bridges that were struck more than 10 times last year:

    BWJ3/90 - Upper St John Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire

    [​IMG]
    (From Streetview)

    Are those signs and marker boards really not enough?
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  6. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    The number of incidents is coming down slowly but surely. In 2002-3 there were 2,061 incidents recorded, so a 20 per cent cut in a dozen years, which suggests things are moving in the right direction, though as Carntyne says, there is also a problem with drivers just leaving the scene.

    You could spend a lot of money on more signs, beams over the road ahead of a bridge, etc, just in case, assuming you had it, but there is plenty of evidence that it doesn't make that much difference even if you do.

    Trying to legislate against people who do not know the height of their vehicle, or can't be bothered to get a specialist truckers' sat nav or road atlas, showing low bridges, is not straightforward, never mind the sheer number of bridges there are out there, some of which have never suffered a scratch, while others, with all manner of warnings after previous incidents, continue to suffer.

    Whitehouse Bridge in Swindon is probably the most bashed in the country over the years, even though it has a fairly obvious paint job that you might think would serve as a bit of a clue, but people have still tried to take lorries and a double-decker bus (mercifully it was empty at the time) underneath.

    http://www.swindonweb.com/index.asp?m=2&s=131
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  7. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I know of two bridges round West Yorkshire that have infra-red detection systems which cause a large digital display to light up whenever an overheight vehicle approaches the last opportunity for diversion (Gledholt Bank in Huddersfield and Denby Dale Road in Wakefield, the latter being high enough for most double deckers anyway!) but I guess these systems are fairly expensive and only suitable for certain sections of road: probably NOT that one in Swindon due to closeness of junctions.

    There's really no excuse for bridge strikes though. It might seem drastic but if the penalty for HGV/PCV licence holders was simply 'If you hit a low bridge, you lose your HGV/PCV entitlement FOR LIFE' I imagine the number of incidents would decrease significantly overnight. Unfortunately the road freight industry lobby would probably try to prevent such a rule being imposed.
     
  8. JohnB57

    JohnB57 Member

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    They would, because it's a silly suggestion. Are you seriously suggesting that the drivers involved don't care about or try to avoid the damage they do to their own vehicle and the risk to their job from that? These are accidents, pure and simple and the answer is building diversions to such obstacles, or at least better warnings, not depriving normal members of society of living. But this is a railway forum of course, so no common sense on here.
     
  9. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Rubbish!!
    All bridges have a sign on their approach and any driver who can't read the signs needs taking off the road immediately.
    Some might be accidents, but I can assure that a common response when asked is "Oh I thought I might make it!". I know that locally drivers have been prosecuted with Due Care and Attention charges and have lost their licences.
    The more NR start not only claiming for the costs of the repairs but also for the Delay Payments caused the better. A claim for several hundred thousand pounds might make them sit up and pay attention.
     
  10. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Obviously not as BTH1/1205 A205 Thurlow Park Road, Tulse Hill in joint 1st is all fluorescent yellow and black stripes and has a yellow banner with black writing "Low Bridge" in 18" high letters as well as diversion and road signs for up to 1km in some directions warning of a low bridge...

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4...4!1sJedSHb3pNDUJVGRSQY11uA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    The bridge strike stats for this site going up might have something to do with CCTV to record the culprits being fitted recently...
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  11. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    The CCTV is more to enable the bridge to be examined remotely such that it can be opened at caution very quickly. Normally within 10 minutes of a reported strike.
     
  12. CharlieSpotted

    CharlieSpotted Member

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    I think the obvious question, to any right-minded person, is JUST HOW DUMB do you have to be to drive your truck into that?
     
  13. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    On the roads, far too much is chalked up to "just an accident". In industrial settings, the idea of "just an accident" is generally discouraged. It's really quite astonishing how the attitude to H&S changes at a site boundary.
     
  14. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Quite, which is why the Police no longer call them Road Traffic Accidents, but INCIDENTS.
     
  15. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    All the time vehicles are being driven by human beings mistakes are going to be made.

    Several hundred thousand pounds? If they had that sort of money laying around they wouldn't be driving trucks or buses in the first place
     
  16. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    But JohnB57 implied that they aren't mistakes and the bridges should have bigger and better signs.

    Yes, several hundred thousands pounds. NR have to pay Delay Attribution to the TOCs if it is deemed their problem the trains are delayed, and a bridge strike is deemed NR's problem. Therefore why shouldn't they claim back those charges from the "person" who hit the bridge? I'm sure the lorry owners have insurance against these matters, so they will pay it and then their premiums will go up, just like if you and I if we have an accident that involves an insurance payment.

    Or perhaps you are of the opinion that they should walk away scot-free after hitting a bridge and it is all the railways fault?
     
  17. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    A mandatory £25.000 fine may solve charged to the company that owns the vehicle.
     
  18. mac

    mac Member

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    A lot seem to think drivers should be banned or heavily fined would you also fine and ban train drivers for going though a red signal or a signal man for wrong routeing
     
  19. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    If drivers pass a signal at danger it is considered a serious matter and will be investigated to determine fault, potentially leading to disciplinary action.

    Stand next to any junction in London for an hour or so and you'll see HGVs* go through red lights with no action taken.

    *and other road users too, obviously, but 32 tonnes of laden tipper truck, with terrible blind spots, poses far more danger than one tonne of Taxi or 90kg of cyclist...
     
    Last edited: 29 Aug 2015
  20. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Of course not but I think it is reasonable to assume nobody hits a low bridge deliberately, whether insurance companies would cover such costs is another matter.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    If the police witness them going through red lights or they are caught on camera action will be taken. On the railway lights don't change to red as the driver approaches.
     
  21. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    You obviously don't work on the railway!!
     
  22. GearJammer

    GearJammer Member

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    You obviously don't drive a truck!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Well said Sir!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    lol, indeed, I certainly wouldn't be. And this sort of retarded suggestion is just what I expect from a rail forum.

    Try fining me several hundred thousand pounds (for anything) and see how much of it you get..... can't get blood from a stone, and you can't take what I ain't got.



    There was an article recently in 'Commercial Motor' magazine of a foreign registered truck that had hit a railway bridge, the driver was read his rights etc etc......... Then somebody read the sign on the bridge that read 4.1 Metres... Funny, all HGVs that come from mainland Europe can only be built with a max height of 4 metres, a quick bit of investigating showed the truck to be indeed 4 metres high, and the bridge sign was incorrect!

    Also, the arch bridge on the A36 at Wilton west of Salisbury (carries the West of England line) marked up as 14ft on the signs, my truck is above that height, when I head north the electronic signs flashes up 'Over height vehicle, turn back' when I head south, the electronic sign flashes up 'High vehicle, use middle of the road' so not even the electronic sign can make its bloody mind up if the truck will fit or not.... oh, and by the way, I routinely use the route, and never once hit the bridge, in fact I stopped under it once and got out and looked...... it had a good 8-10 inch clearance!

    So the signs, are useless!
     
    Last edited: 29 Aug 2015
  23. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    They aren't useless if they understate the height of the bridge. You might end up having to take a longer route than necessary, but at least you won't have a bridge strike.
     
  24. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Don't they?
    Would you like to put some money on that?

    On the road you are supposed to drive at a speed where you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear, on a diet of traffic lights you have those nice amber lights which let you know the red is coming on next.
     
    Last edited: 29 Aug 2015
  25. L&Y Robert

    L&Y Robert Member

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    Somewhere, sometime, I saw a brilliant piece of - er, machinery? well, apparatus, then. On the approach to a low bridge, if driving an over height vehicle, a water curtain (more of a mist than a 'curtain') immediately decscended from the bridge, and ONTO IT was projected the "STOP - you are going to hit a low bridge" message. The driver would be faced with an apparantly impenetrable "wall" of descending water and on it the STOP message, projected at about cab height. Anybody else seen that?
     
  26. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I presume this is what you are thinking of:
    [youtube]Dk9DjO-_rT8[/youtube]
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2017
  27. L&Y Robert

    L&Y Robert Member

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    Yes, that's it, najaB. Thanks!
    Put some of those in. You'd think twice about driving your truck through the actual sign, wouldn't you?
     
  28. dviner

    dviner Member

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    Umm... so you deliberately drove a vehicle that you knew exceeded the height restriction shown on the sign under the structure that displayed the height restriction?
     
  29. GearJammer

    GearJammer Member

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    Word it how you like, I drove past a sign that I knew to be wrong, I drove my truck under a bridge that it fitted under.
     
  30. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    You might want to consider how this statement jibes with your stated professionalism.
     
  31. GearJammer

    GearJammer Member

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    No, I really don't think I do!
     
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