Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Signalling & Communications

A bridge too low for many drivers

Shocking CCTV showing vehicles slamming into rail bridges and protection beams has been released by Queensland Rail as a reminder for all drivers to be aware of the height and load of their vehicles.

The newly released footage shows several distressing incidents including one vehicle that has its top sliced off, another has its load of glass doors shattered, while several other trucks are turned to confetti.

Queensland Rail Head of South East Queensland Scott Riedel said while bridge strike numbers had decreased slightly when comparing financial years, the overall number of incidents was still far too high.

“In the last financial year (2021-2022) we saw 65 bridge strikes across the Queensland Rail network.  We also saw 279 collisions with protection beams.  That is far too many,” he said.

“Every single bridge and beam strike is avoidable.  Our message is clear: know the height and load of your vehicle and steer clear of rail bridges where your vehicle is over height.

“These videos are frankly frustrating. Not only are bridge strikes extremely dangerous, but in the last financial year they’ve resulted in 287 delays to our trains.”

Riedel said every low clearance bridge was fitted with signage with many featuring extra preventative measures ranging from protection beams to height chimes.

“Queensland Rail is committed to improving safety and preventing bridge strikes wherever possible,” he said.

“We’ve invested $15.5 million to install bridge protection beams on approach to 14 high priority bridges across South East Queensland to prevent over-height vehicles from colliding with the bridge and minimising train delays.

“As part of this program, a beam was installed at the Muriel Avenue rail bridge in Rocklea, one of SEQ’s most notorious bridge strike locations.

“Queensland Rail has also installed 43 bridge impact detection systems across the SEQ network, with sensors and CCTV cameras which automatically detect incidents and alert Queensland Rail for a speedy response, including remote inspections.

“Motorists who damage rail infrastructure can be fined up to $1,150 and four demerit points and if the matter goes to court the maximum penalty for causing damage to rail infrastructure is 80 penalty units (approximately $11,500).”

Queensland Rail will roll out a refreshed bridge strike campaign across the South-East from next week, targeting local trucking companies around hotspots and updating message signs at key locations.