Railway bridges across West Yorkshire are getting a “bashing” from drivers of high-sided HGVs.
Network Rail is urging HGV drivers to stop striking railway bridges – after it was revealed that a railway bridge in Wakefield is one of the most hit in Great Britain.
The bridge on Denby Dale Road in Wakefield has been struck 24 times in the last five years – putting it 32nd on the list of Great Britain’s most bashed bridges. And it’s not the only one – the rail bridge on Thornes Lane in Wakefield has been hit 17 times.
Network Rail said the incidents at these two locations had caused the equivalent of almost two-and-a-half days of delays to road users and rail passengers and had cost the taxpayer more than £81,000 in damages and delays.
Among other incidents, the roof of a trailer was torn off when a Turkish truck driver tried to get under the railway bridge at Gledholt Bank in Huddersfield three years ago.
The Examiner reported last month how lorry drivers were using a company’s car park to turn their vehicles around after realising their vehicles were too high to get under the railway bridge at Park Road in Elland.
Network Rail, which is in charge of rail infrastructure and signals, said new research showed that 43% of lorry drivers admit to not knowing the size of their vehicle and over half of them do not take low bridges into account when planning their journeys.
Now a campaign led by Network Rail, the haulage industry and public transport bodies has been launched urging employers to make sure their drivers “check it, rather than chance it” and steer clear of low bridges if there’s any doubt about their vehicles being able to get through.
Rob McIntosh, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “Bridge strikes are completely preventable which is why we have teamed up with key transport industries to raise awareness of the problem and look at ways in which we can work together to reduce these incidents.
“Reducing these incidents means that we can improve journeys for passengers and ensure that we provide a network which meets the needs of the economies and communities our railway serves.”
David Pickering, chief operating officer at haulage firm Eddie Stobart, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Network Rail’s campaign as we have worked really hard to highlight the importance of our drivers knowing the height of their vehicles.
“As well as carefully planning routes to avoid low bridges, we carry out manual vehicle checks at the beginning of every journey which requires the driver to adjust the trailer height on a measurement in the cab. Additionally, we are installing software early next year which will warn drivers with an audible alarm when they are approaching a bridge.”