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Author Topic: Railway bridges struck by road vehicles - merged topic, ongoing discussion  (Read 148787 times)
swrural
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2013, 07:50:21 pm »

FTN's careful response is appreciated.  Surely the kernel of this problem, as with so many other road traffic problems, is that, compared with rail, it's the wild west.  The safety measures are token, and observance is not actively pursued, and have not for decades, because 'we mustn't upset the motorist'.

So, take our other thread of the Moor Lane bridge at Weston over the railway, you will have observed in the link that one car followed through the red light at the traffic lights.  Do we think the driver will be prosecuted, even though he is on film?  Do we think that other drivers, in their droves, do not do the same?  Do we think, if there was a camera mounted on the traffic light, painted in bright yellow, they would still chance their arm?

In other words, if the penalty for an HGV driver colliding with a bridge when he should not have done, was to lose his HGV licence, I suspect it would be a rare event to see what is in the image above.



 
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ellendune
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2013, 07:54:32 pm »

Of course for repeated occurrences with the same operator, the vehicle operator's license should also be removed. 
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JayMac
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2013, 08:46:32 pm »

We rarely get follow-up reports to know what the punishment for these bridge bashes is. But it is unlikely to be a slap on the wrists.

Careless Driving (aka driving without due care and attention) would be the usual offence. This can result in points on your licence if the culpability and harm is deemed to be low. Higher culpability will likely be indicated if you are driving a HGV, and higher harm will likely be indicated if you damage property. There can be other aggravating factors such as the delays to trains and other road users for a 'bridge bash' which the magistrate can consider when deciding the punishment. These aggravating factors may lead to greater points endorsement and a larger fine and may well make the offence serious enough for a discretionary driving ban.

Points can have a very negative effect on a HGV driver, increasing insurance premiums and possibly even loss of employment if contract requires a clean licence.

A ban will obviously result in the loss of employment as a HGV driver.
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TonyK
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2013, 09:55:05 pm »

Looking at the Magistrates' Sentencing Guidelines (page 117 deals with careless driving), a bridge strike, whatever the damage, is unlikely to be in the highest category of culpability. A good lawyer, and probably most bad ones too, would argue that the unfortunate state of affairs came about as a result of a momentary lapse of concentration, rather than endemic failure to pay attention, setting the starting point much lower. The offence is triable only summarily, so the defendant cannot be sent to the Crown Court for sentence. The degree of harm or damage is not a factor in deciding what charge to bring - the simple fact of either is an aggravating consideration in careless driving, rather than a reason to go for dangerous driving. The truth is though that whatever happens, the cost to the driver in terms of fine will be considerably less than to the railway. What else happens will cost though. An insurance company, stumping up for a million-quid bill for repairs and cancelled trains, is unlikely to offer a protected no-claims discount next year. As BNM says, points on a licence can be the end of job. Some accidents have led to the truck and container being cut up for removal, with loss of the cargo.

Whilst checking details, I was amazed at how the first few pages of a google search for "careless driving" are taken up by adverts for the sort of law firm that could have helped Chris Huhne out of present predicament had he asked at the time. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised.

The vehicle operator, as well as the driver, will be in big trouble if there are not protocols in place to make safe driving a proactive matter. HGV and PSV drivers, who will be the culprit in most cases, are expected to show a higher standard of skill than "amateur" drivers.

Planning flights in light aircraft, one task was always to plot a minimum safety altitude. For a distance of 5 nautical miles either side of the planned track, the pilot checks the chart for the highest point. If that is a terrain peak, he assumes that there could be an antenna up to 300' on top. Then he adds 1000'. If at any point in that flight, he becomes temporarily uncertain of location (or lost), he can climb to that altitude while he sorts it out. A good lorry driver will plan his route in a similar way. Bridge heights are shown on such aids as the AA Truckers Atlas, as well as in various software packages. Satnavs show low bridges if programmed, but should never be relied upon.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2013, 12:19:15 am »

And another - from Luton Today:

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A bridge too far as lorry is stuck in a jam



This lorry driver^s eyes were bigger than his vehicle as he failed to squeeze under a railway bridge in Luton on Tuesday.

Beds Police were called to the scene in Hitchin Road at 4.36pm, and found the lorry stuck underneath the 13ft high bridge, blocking one side of the road.

A Beds Police spokesperson said: ^Officers attended to divert traffic and were at the scene until 6.10pm when the incident was passed to Network Rail. The lorry was extremely damaged but no one was hurt and we will not be taking any further action.^

Network Rail own the bridge and a spokesperson said: ^There were some minor scrapes on the bridge but no major damage. Line services were back to normal by 6.30pm. There might have been a small impact on services prior to that. We examined the bridge as a precautionary measure but it was all fine.^

The lorry was from Ewals Cargo Care and the company have not yet responded to requests for a comment.
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William Huskisson MP (Member of Parliament) was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

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JayMac
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2013, 12:29:05 am »

Bedfordshire Police: "We will not be taking any further action."

What? Due care and attention at the very least. Wrong message entirely to not prosecute.
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« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2014, 10:04:24 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page):

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Halfords 'We Fit' lorry gets stuck under bridge

The irony of the situation caused mirth on social media

A Halfords lorry bearing the "We Fit" logo has got stuck under a railway bridge in Beckenham.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) was called to the scene at about 13:15 BST after the lorry trapped several parked cars on South Eden Park Road.

The LFB tweeted: "Going the 'extra mile' might have been the better option rather than trying to squeeze under a bridge in Beckenham."

Train services across the bridge were stopped as a result of the incident.

A spokesperson for Halfords said: "We would like to apologise for any delays and inconvenience caused to road and train travellers and will be working with the authorities to carry out a full investigation."

London Bridge trains on their way to Hayes were terminating at Elmers End before the lorry was cleared at about 18:30.

The lorry trapped several parked cars when it got stuck under the bridge
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JayMac
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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2014, 10:14:29 pm »

Three bridge bashes in one day. Two covered in other topics, one because it's a not infrequent occurrence at a station in the area covered by the forum, and another because of it's comedy value:

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=3670.15
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=14694.0

Details of the third:

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page):

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Lorry hits railway bridge in North Walsham

A lorry became stuck after hitting a railway bridge in Norfolk.

The top of the vehicle struck the bridge on the A149 Cromer Road, North Walsham, at about 09:20 BST.



Engineers from Network Rail were called to assess the damage to the bridge and trains were temporarily prevented from using it.

Abellio Greater Anglia said normal service was resumed at 10:47, after the lorry had been removed. Trains were delayed by up to 10 minutes.

The road was also closed in November when a lorry hit the bridge.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2014, 10:29:38 pm »

The top picture from this article is going viral on Facebook.
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2014, 10:12:46 am »

And another. Apparently "we fit", but the picture suggests they don't...!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-29514013
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2014, 04:39:18 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page):

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Low bridge in Grantham struck 15 times is reinforced


The Springfield Road bridge is 3.6m (11ft 6in) high, and was last struck by a skip lorry in August

A railway bridge that has been struck 15 times in two years is being reinforced against future damage.

Impact beams are being fitted to the Springfield Road bridge in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in a bid to stop vehicles from hitting the main structure.

Justin Page, area director of Network Rail, said the move would help reduce disruption for rail and road users. He said when collisions do occur they can be dealt with more quickly.

Mr Page added: "In the future these beams will take the brunt of any strike."

All of the major routes through Grantham pass under bridges of restricted height and there are numerous instances of lorries striking them.

The Springfield Road bridge has been named as one of the worst in the country. However, disruption to passengers caused by bridge strikes is a nationwide problem, Network Rail said.

Last month, a Halfords 'We Fit' lorry got stuck under a bridge in London and train services across the bridge were stopped as a result of the incident.

Earlier this year, a railway bridge in West Yorkshire was closed after being hit by a skip lorry and a bridge in Edinburgh was damaged after a heavy goods lorry carrying a JCB got stuck under it.

In 2013, members of the Professional Drivers Foundation said "there was no excuse for it" after a Derbyshire bridge was hit five times in six months.

Officials in Grantham hope a new relief road planned for the town will help reduce the number of lorries having to negotiate the low bridges.

Springfield Road will be closed until the end of November while the work on the railway bridge is carried out.
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William Huskisson MP (Member of Parliament) was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
eightf48544
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« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2014, 09:45:29 am »

Good to see we have at last overcome our squeamishnes about taking the roof off a lorry before it hits the bridge.

As I've posted before I first saw such beams in Magdaburg in 1996 where there is series of low bridges under a viaduct south of the Hbf. They were  a large goal post of heavy duty RSJs (Rolled Steel Joist, which can also be called ) placed a couple of metres in front of the bridge. They also have another deterent at some other bridges, 600V tram power lines!
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stuving
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« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2014, 09:58:29 am »

Good to see we have at last overcome our squeamishnes about taking the roof off a lorry before it hits the bridge.

As I've posted before I first saw such beams in Magdaburg in 1996 where there is series of low bridges under a viaduct south of the Hbf. They were  a large goal post of heavy duty RSJs (Rolled Steel Joist, which can also be called ) placed a couple of metres in front of the bridge. They also have another deterent at some other bridges, 600V tram power lines!

I think Germany is one of those countries with a maximum vehicle height of 4 m, except with a special licence. (We don't have a legally-fixed limit.) So tram lines would be above that in all cases, I expect, whatever the bridge height.
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JayMac
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« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2014, 05:10:07 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page):

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Waitrose lorry wedged under Colchester railway bridge


Trains in Essex have been delayed after a Waitrose lorry got stuck under a railway bridge.

The HGV became wedged on the A134 near Colchester North railway station at about 08:00 GMT.

Train operator Abellio Greater Anglia said the incident caused delays of up to 15 minutes in both directions.

A Waitrose spokesman apologised for "delays and inconvenience caused to road and rail users".

The lorry was freed after police took pressure out of the tyres, he said.

"We will work with authorities to fully investigate this," the spokesman added.
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TonyK
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« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2014, 06:00:55 pm »

The Waitrose lorry looks to have been a couple of coats of paint too tall, so the technique of letting the tyres down will work. As long as they weren't let down too far, reflation will leave them undamaged. If they are completely let down before the lorry is moved, there is a likelihood of a stiff bill at KwikFit. And probably at Specsavers too.

I don't know whether bridge strikes are routinely investigated by BTP (British Transport Police). If they aren't, then they should be IMHO (in my humble opinion), to ensure consistency in investigation. Decision making on whether or not to prosecute falls to the Crown Prosecution Service, but the quality of the case papers put before them has a bearing on the outcome.
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