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Edition No. 71

Date:- 25 October 2002

DELAYS CAUSED BY "BRIDGE BASHES" ARE SOON TO BE CUT

Delays to rail passengers caused by road users crashing into railway bridges are soon to be reduced with the introduction of bridge monitoring technology launched by Railtrack North West.

Six trial mobile digital cameras costing £6,000 each have been developed in an attempt to shorten the response time to bridge bash incidents. These cameras act as roving eyes for Railtrack's operational control centre. 

Once a struck bridge has been reported, the nearest member of staff will attend the scene armed with a digital camera. Using a remote video link, images of the accident will be transmitted to Railtrack control where experts can assess the damage.

The main benefit of the equipment is that it saves valuable time. It allows workers who are closer to an incident than a qualified bridge engineer to attend. With the use of the linked camera, the experts can then view and assess the damage of the bridge without travelling to the incident. If the engineer needs to look at a particular part of the bridge, he can tell the camera operator where to point the camera via the voice link. Problems are corrected more quickly and delays to rail passengers are kept to a minimum.

This new technology introduced by Railtrack has proved very effective in trials, but is not the first measure it has taken in an attempt to decrease response time. A system known as "BridgeGuard", developed by Oldham based Ferranti Technologies Limited is also being implemented. This scheme consists of a number of sensors attached to bridges within the north west, each system costing around £35,000. When a vehicle strikes a bridge the sensors detect the fault and notify the bridge maintenance engineers of the impact and its intensity. "BridgeGuard" has been shadowing normal "bridge bash" procedures for three years, but due to its success and reliability it is due to run independently by the end of this month.

Every year hundreds of railway bridges are hit by vehicles. This causes delays to trains, obstructs the road and in some instances seriously damages the bridge. Within the last twelve months 248 bridges have been struck within the north west, causing a total of 33,434 minutes delay to trains. 

The use of the bridge monitoring equipment will ensure the response to such incidents is dramatically reduced, therefore guaranteeing fewer delays for rail passengers.

Location Road name No. of strikes
Shotton, Deeside A548 Chester Road 47
Stockport George’s Road 35
Chinley A624 Hayfield Road 29
Lostock Gralam A530 Griffins Road 28
Port Sunlight Ellens Lane 27
Preston Lytham Road 24
Bredbury Ashton Road 23
Disley Redhouse Lane 23
Cefn-y-Bedd Wrexham Road 19
Aintree Copy Lane 19

 

Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2002.