Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

Bridge strike tech captures moment of impact

New CCTV cameras and sensors installed at three hot-spot locations are being utilised to quickly assess damage caused by bridge strikes.

When a rail bridge is struck, it can result in damage to rail infrastructure and significant disruption for thousands of passengers. Trains have to be slowed, stopped or the train line may have to be suspended to allow for the bridge to be inspected and deemed safe.

For the first time, CCTV and impact sensors can reveal the full details of an incident, providing immediate notification and remote assessment of any damage caused. Metro’s bridge inspector can now immediately evaluate the incident, and decide if further investigation is required, meaning less delays for passengers.

The new technology has been installed at Racecourse Road in Newmarket, Huntingdale Road in Jordanville and Warrigal Road in Holmesglen.

Since being installed in May, the cameras have captured several incidents including a B-Double which failed to slow down on approach to the Warrigal Road rail bridge in Holmesglen, sending shrapnel into the air, halting both traffic and train services.

Previously the notification of bridge strikes was solely reliant on an incident report being filed- by the person who caused the incident, a member of the public or a Metro team member.

Now, an alert notification is sent directly to Metro’s Security Operations Centre, including the time of the impact and images from the scene.

Metro’s 178 rail bridges are struck on average, almost once every week.

Since being installed last May, the new CCTV and sensors have captured 16 bridge strikes.

Jasper Milligan, Metro’s General Manager Infrastructure said Metro will look to install more sensors to other rail bridges across the metropolitan network.

“Bridge strikes are hugely disruptive for our passengers, as we often need to stop trains while we assess if there’s any damage to the bridge,” he said.

Bridge inspector Liam Featherstone said incidents like these are easily prevented.

“A simple check of the height of your vehicle could help to avoid thousand in damages and disruption on the road and rail.”