Network Rail troubled over bridge strikes

Chris Tindall
April 30, 2020

Hauliers have been warned again about checking the height of their vehicles after a skip lorry seriously damaged a railway bridge in Warwickshire, resulting in £200,000 in repairs.

Network Rail said the railway along the bridge over Warwick New Road in Leamington Spa, as well as the road itself, both had to be closed in March after “significant” damage to the bridge’s central arch was caused by the skip wagon.

Marc Vipham, Network Rail route asset manager said bridge strikes like this were entirely avoidable:

“Lorries can’t limbo,” he said.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is for drivers to know the height of their vehicle.

“Closing a key line for freight traffic has serious impacts delivering critical supplies to many key workers and institutions.”

Research carried out by Network Rail showed 43% of lorry drivers admitted to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road and 52% admitted to not taking low bridges into account.

To combat this, Network Rail launched its ‘Lorries can’t limbo’ campaign last year, aimed at professional HGV drivers and others who drive high-sided vehicles.

It includes online training and guidance in several languages to help drivers and logistics companies plan their routes.

In May 2019, senior traffic commissioner Richard Turfitt said bridge strikes had become a serious problem and that operators as well as drivers were being reported by Network Rail to the office of the TC for regulatory action to be taken.

There are on average five bridge strikes every day.

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and quickly realised there was enough going on to keep him busy for a very long time. He’s covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning, Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lack of safe and secure lorry parks and he helped secure the release of a lorry driver in a Polish jail due to misuse of the European Arrest Warrant.

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