Rise in bridge strikes leads Irish Rail to hunt for innovative solutions

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Credit: Enterprise Ireland.
Credit: Enterprise Ireland.

In 2016, there were 92 incidents of vehicles hitting railway bridges in Ireland and already this year that number is 65.

These figures are down from more than 200 incidents a decade ago but bridge strikes are one of the railway’s biggest safety risks and Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail, IE) wants this number reduced further.

To tackle the problem the national operator has teamed up with Enterprise Ireland to seek innovative, preventative solutions.

Through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Ireland, the pair have launched an invitation for tenders for bridge warning and pre-emptive systems/technologies to reduce the risk.


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Iarnród Éireann CEO David Franks said: “Bridge strikes are one of the railway’s biggest safety risks, despite awareness campaigns and communication with road haulier stakeholders, we can see a worrying upward trend and we hope that this initiative will produce innovative technical solutions that will go a long way to reducing bridge strikes.”

Enterprise Ireland’s executive director of global business development Kevin Sherry added: “The SBIR initiative is all about providing public bodies with an effective means of finding new and innovative ideas that meet a specific need they have and which can be developed and implemented quickly.

“It also provides SMEs with unique customer solutions access to public sector procurement opportunities.”

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