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January 25, 2022updated 15 Feb 2022 12:37pm

Britain’s battered bridges: Future Rail issue 93 out now

In this issue: bridge strikes on the rise in the UK, the campaign for rail safety awareness, mental health support for railway staff, and more.

By Peter Nilson

Bridge strikes are, frankly, a pain. They cause huge disruption on the rail network and on roads and are hugely costly financially. But mostly, they’re infuriating because they are completely avoidable.

Whether you are on desktop, tablet, or smartphone, you can read the magazine for free online.

There are those who lack spatial awareness to the extent that they just can’t help but crash into a bridge. It’s amazing that with this calibre of skill they are able to legally operate a vehicle at all. But these bridge strikes keep happening, so someone needs to do something about it. Enter Network Rail, which has been forced by a rising number of motorists with an anti-bridge vendetta, to re-launch its campaign to raise awareness that these bridges aren’t polite enough to move out of a vehicles’ way. We look into the campaign in our cover story this month.

Elsewhere, we look at the new technology being used to help avoid crashes from rogue equipment left on the line after overnight engineering works, as well as profiling a new campaign hoping to raise awareness amongst young people when it comes to staying safe around railways. 

As well as all of this, we also learn about new efforts to make the UK’s railways more accessible, how to support the mental health of rail workers, and the opportunity for solar power on the network.

For this, and more, read on. You can follow us @FutureRail_Mag too. Oh, and finally: a very happy new year to all of our readers from the Future Rail team.

Peter Nilson, editor

In this issue

Britain’s battered railway bridges

Last year, more than 1,600 rail bridges in the UK were reportedly struck after lorry drivers failed to correctly gauge their clearance. This increasing figure prompted Network Rail to relaunch its ‘Lorries Can’t Limbo’ campaign. Frankie Youd profiles the initiative.

Accelerating accessibility: improving access to UK railways

There have been unified calls for the UK Government to introduce legislation to guarantee accessibility on all rail journeys in Britain by 2030. Jasleen Mann looks into the matter.

New steps to support mental health in rail

Taking place last November, Rail Wellbeing Live held an array of online webinars, exploring a variety of mental health-related topics in the form of panel discussions, emotional talks, and educational presentations. Frankie Youd highlights some takeaways from the event.

No trespassing! The campaign for safety awareness

South Western Rail is investing in a new safety partnership with the charity UK Youth. The partnership aims to educate young people aged 11-25 on the risks of railway trespassing, vandalism, level crossing misuse, and other dangerous areas, to improve the overall safety of the service. Frankie Youd finds out about the partnership.

Network Rail trials tracking technology for overnight work equipment

Although processes are already in place to avoid the collision of trains and engineering equipment, tracking technology is also being considered as a means of adding an extra layer of protection. Jasleen Mann examines this tracking technology and its potential benefits.

Next issue preview

Predominantly known for its medieval cathedral, Coventry will be making history once again as it is set to become home to the UK’s first ‘very light’ rail line. 

The project, part of a £1.3bn travel plan, is one of 50 other projects that have been agreed upon by the West Midlands Combined Authority. The scheme has been selected due to it promoting the decarbonisation of transport. In our next issue, we’ll find out more about the scheme as well as the key benefits the future projects will bring to the area. 

We’ll also speak to Greenpeace about the ‘Get On Track: train alternatives to short-haul flights in Europe’ report and the practicality of a ban on short-haul flights where there is a train alternative.

Lastly, we’ll be learning about the importance of biodiversity around stations, as we speak to the Station Friends Group and the Friends of the Earth.

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