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9 Feb 2021: Bridge strikes are a very serious issue - action needed!

Started by ozbob, February 09, 2021, 04:13:35 AM

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Bridge strikes are a very serious issue - action needed!

9th February 2021


Yesterday ( February 8 ) there were two more bridge strikes, causing delays on the Queensland Rail Citytrain network.

Bridge strikes are a very serious issue. There has been a recent spike in bridge strikes ( https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=1862.msg243595#msg243595 )

There are far too many bridge strikes in Queensland, they are dangerous, fatalities have occurred in the past due to bridge strikes and there are real risks of serious injury to bystanders in the immediate area of the strikes. Bystanders at risk are occupants of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and others on scooters and the like. Bridge strikes lead to transport network disruption. Trains are stopped until the bridge is deemed safe for rail traffic. Roads are blocked causing traffic chaos.

There is also a chance that a bridge strike could lead to a derailment. To mitigate against the risk of damage to bridges and the rail track, bridge protection beams are being increasing placed on high risk bridges. Protection beams are good in that they protect the bridges but vehicles are still hitting the beams with the commensurate risks to vehicle operators and bystanders.

Queensland Rail does take bridge strikes and bridge strike protection very seriously ( https://www.queenslandrail.com.au/bridge-strike-protection ). But there needs to be more support for our rail operator from Government, Police, and the road transport groups to get rid of this scourge.

We suggest action on a number of levels.

1. First bridge (beam) strike offence, 3-6 months automatic licence suspension with fine, and cost recovery. 2nd bridge strike offence off the road for life. This might focus some minds.

2. Education campaigns, bridge protection and warnings in all its guises. Transport companies be responsible for ensuring drivers have designated safe routes as well as the driver acknowledging the height of the vehicle and loads as applicable, and it is properly documented. Particularly important for weekend removal-van hire.

3. In cab warning devices if all else fails - alarm, preferably a loud klaxon sounds in cab if truck/bus approaches a low level bridge, be it rail over road, or road over road, pedestrian or other structure over road. This could be part of navigation systems, could also be a stand alone system.

Bridge strikes can be completely avoided if we step up our actions. Let's do it!

Robert Dow
RAIL Back On Track https://backontrack.org
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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