Parapet on Lanark rail bridge is raised after accident

New panels now make the Whitelees Road bridge sides higher.
New panels now make the Whitelees Road bridge sides higher.

The parapet of the bridge over the railway at Whitelees Road in Lanark has been heightened following an incident which left a teenager injured.

Network Rail closed the road, leading to St Mary’s Primary School and Smyllum, overnight on three weekends to carry out the work.

“The parapet walls have been increased in height to make it more difficult for people to climb over onto the outside of the bridge,” said a spokesman after the work was completed.

The bridge has for generations been a target for young people spray-painting their initials or slogans on the outside of the parapet, and there were calls for better safety measures there after the accident in December.

That involved a 14-year-old boy apparently making it over the parapet onto the outside of the bridge only to get an electric shock from the power lines that run under it.

The boy was taken to Wishaw General Hospital for treatment for burns.

In the aftermath of that accident, there were calls for better safety measures to be provided on the bridge itself.

“Over the years, the fences on both sides of this bridge have been raised, but there has not been any height added to the actual bridge,” said one local, who asked not to be named.

“It would be reasonably simple to make this bridge safe by construction of a cage-style barrier across it.

“Accidents happen, and this wee boy is lucky he’s still alive.”

Clydesdale North councillor Vivienne Shaw also called for better security, saying that she had noticed children playing on or near the line in the past and felt that the railside fencing was insufficient.

Network Rail announced the road closures for two weekends last month and one this month for work to be carried out, and metal plating has now raised the height of the parapet on both sides.