This article discusses the problem of 'bridge bashing', and argues that present policies need to become closer to civil engineering realities, if maximum safety is to be combined with minimum traffic disruption. Lorries striking underline bridges repeatedly disturb rail services severely. Although such collisions risk displacement of a bridge as a train approaches, existing procedures after a reported bridge strike are often unnecessarily strict; they require all rail traffic over that bridge to be stopped until an 'authorised person' gives an 'all clear'. They ignore the great variation of damage resistance in different bridges, and lack a method for making a safe decision, based on the specific circumstances of an incident, which would allow trains to continue to run where this is safe. The article outlines the technology of a bridge strike, and suggests how to rank low bridges in order of risk and vulnerability. It combines three categories of strike rate with three categories of damage risk. It also makes proposals for: (1) a simple 'tell-tale' wire to inform train drivers of incidents; (2) disruption mitigation; (3) delay reduction; (4) improved signalling; and (5) lorry driver education.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 640-1
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00715944
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Jan 31 1996 12:00AM