Somerleyton Swing Bridge is a railway swing bridge over the River Waveney on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. The historical bridge carries the twin-tracked Norwich to Lowestoft line over the river. The bridge is opened for boat travellers along the Norfolk Broads whose vessels are too big to pass underneath it.
In the warmth of the summer, the rail can expand meaning that the bridge cannot be opened or closed, resulting in train delays. Network Rail employees were required to check the condition of the tracks manually before making a decision on whether or not the bridge could be opened, a task which has proved time-consuming, inconvenient, in-exact and expensive.
To prevent man-hours being wasted by having to check the bridge’s status on a daily basis, and to prevent the network being brought to a halt by the swing bridge being unable to close, Anglian Network Rail installed a WCCTV V4 Compact to look at the potential expansion gap between the two rails.
To add to the complexity there is no mobile phone network signal on the site, so WCCTV have utilised a satellite broadband network to provide remote access to live video. Operators can now view the bridge remotely, either from the office or from a mobile location.
By accessing live and recorded images remotely, Network Rail have been able to reduce both man-hours and costs while keeping the vital rail network running and delivering a seamless and reliable service to all users of the swing bridge.