Bridge too far
The most commonly struck bridge has been named
Network Rail has revealed the most struck in the country.
Relaunching its ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign, lorry drivers and haulage operators are reminded to take better care. Knowing the height of their vehicles and choosing suitable routes before they head out on journeys is essential.
Mind your heads
The Coddenham Road bridge on the B1078 is most bashed bridge in Britain.
Located in Needham Market, Suffolk, the bridge was struck 19 times last year. This amounted to £41,331 in unnecessary train delay and cancellation costs. On top of this came cost to vehicle and trailer repairs and bridge repairs. There were also the delays caused to other traffic using the route.
The other bridges on the list include St John’s Street bridge in Lichfield City, Staffordshire (18 strikes), and Harlaxton Road bridge, Lincolnshire struck 16 times.
The annual Black Friday and Christmas shopping rush is traditionally a peak period for bridge strikes. With more newly qualified lorry drivers expected on Britain’s roads this year to meet supply chain demands, Network Rail is worried that strikes will increase.
Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, said: “Bridge strikes cause unnecessary delays, costs, and safety issues for road and rail users.
“To compound matters, they drain public funds which should be used on upgrading and improving our network”.
Over the next four weeks, reminders to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ will feature on posters at motorway service stations across Britain. These urge drivers to check the size of their vehicles and their routes before setting off.
Hendy urges drivers to “properly plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and look out for road signs warning of oncoming bridges”. He adds that offenders are risking their licences, and that “Network Rail looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver’s employer”.
Network Rail’s 4E’s initiative – education, engineering, enablement and enforcement – aims to ensure the requisite knowledge and tools are available. This includes a team of bridge strike ‘champions’. They cover each route across Britain, raising awareness of the issue by visiting haulage companies.
To find out more about the ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign, click here.
Most struck railway bridges in Britain 2020/21:
- Coddenham Road Needham Market, Suffolk 19 strikes
- St John’s Street Lichfield, Staffordshire 18 strikes
- Harlaxton Road Grantham, Lincolnshire 16 strikes
- Stuntney Road Ely, Cambridgeshire 15 strikes
- Bromford Road Dudley, West Midlands 13 strikes
- Watling Street Hinckley, Leicestershire 11 strikes
- Warminster Road Wilton, Wiltshire 11 strikes
- Ipswich Road Manningtree, Essex 10 strikes
- Thames Street Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, 10 strikes
- Lower Downs Road Wimbledon, London, 10 strikes
Bridge strikes reported across the railway network in the last five financial years:
- 2016/17 – 1,878 strikes
- 2017/18 – 2,039 strikes
- 2018/19 – 1,926 strikes
- 2019/20 – 1,720 strikes
- 2020/21 – 1,624 strikes