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Railways: Bridges

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department is taking to ensure the structural integrity of railway bridges in England. (302803)

The structural integrity of railway bridges in England is an operational matter for Network Rail as owner and operator of the national network, and the company has its own teams of structures engineers.

The funding and efficiency of the maintenance and renewal activity by Network Rail on its own bridges is determined and monitored by the independent Office of Rail Regulation as part of its determination of the company’s outputs and funding for each five-year control period.

Network Rail-owned bridges over railways most commonly carry local authority roads. In England, under the Railway Bridges (Load Bearing Standards) Regulations (England and Wales) Order 1972 (SI 1705/1972), they are statutorily required to be able to carry 24 imperial tons. They are covered by a national programme of assessment and works and a national cost sharing agreement with local authorities relating to the costs of assessment and strengthening.