A railway bridge in Staffordshire was hit by vehicles more than 20 times last year – new figures show.
The bridge, on St John’s Street in Lichfield, was struck 23 times between April 1 2019 and March 31 2020 – making it the third most hit railway bridge in Great Britain.
A bridge in Hinckley, Leicestershire, was at the top of the list of ‘most bashed in Britain’ with 25 strikes, while another bridge in Dudley was second with 24.
Network Rail have released the figures this morning to highlight the issues caused by bridge strikes.
The new overall number of bridge strikes is down 11 per cent decline on the previous year – Network Rail say strikes remain a concern.
They have been working with industry bodies- including Highways England and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)- and hauliers for a number of years to ensure companies and their employees are provided with the knowledge and tools they need to avoid striking bridges.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail said: “We’ve done a lot of work with partners across the industry in recent years to tackle bridge strikes, and whilst it’s encouraging to see our work is paying off with numbers now on the decline, there’s a lot more to be done to cut the unnecessary delays, costs and safety risks they pose.”
Most struck railway bridges in Britain 2019/20:
1. Watling Street Hinckley, Leicestershire 25 strikes
2. Bromford Road Dudley, West Midlands 24 strikes
3. St John’s Street Lichfield, Staffordshire 23 strikes
4. Stuntney Road Ely, Cambridgeshire 19 strikes
5. Abbey Farm Thetford, Norfolk 16 strikes
6. Thurlow Park Road Tulse Hill, London 14 strikes
7. Carlisle Road Cleland, North Lanarkshire 13 strikes
8. Harlaxton Road Grantham, Lincolnshire 13 strikes
9. Stonea Road Stonea, Cambridgeshire 13 strikes
10. Coddenham Road Needham Market, Suffolk 11 strikes
11. Lower Downs Road Wimbledon, London 11 strikes
12. Warminster Road Wilton, Wiltshire 10 strikes
13. Prescott Street Wigan, Greater Manchester 10 strikes
14. Greenhills Road Paisley, Renfrewshire 9 strikes
15. Newhouse Road South Ruislip, London 9 strikes
16. Kenworthy Road Homerton, London 9 strikes
17. St John’s Road Isleworth, London 9 strikes
18. Jews Lane Twerton, Somerset 9 strikes
19. Barrowby Road Grantham, Lincolnshire 8 strikes
20. Cambridge Road Hitchin, Hertfordshire 8 strikes
Lorry drivers are being reminded to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ and plan their journeys in advance – with signs appearing on petrol pumps at motorway service stations as part of the campaign.
Hideo Takano, senior structures advisor at Highways England said: “Although bridge strikes are comparatively low for our roads, as part of the collective drive to reduce bridge strikes happening we work with other transport authorities as part of the Bridge Strike Prevention Group and welcome Network Rail’s new campaign.
“Bridges strikes can cause hours of disruption and although we re-open our roads as soon as possible we recognise the frustration delays can cause.
“Around two-thirds of bridge strikes on our roads are caused by vehicles carrying a load. So, to reduce the risk of this happening we urge all drivers to follow these simple steps; know your height, plan your route and secure your load.”
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive said: “There’s real headway being made and we’re seeing a drop in bridge strikes, but we must keep up this momentum to avoid these dangerous and costly incidents.
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“You should ensure your drivers are doing their walkaround checks and noting the height of their vehicle every day.
“While DVSA can fall back on regulatory action to deal with bridge strikes, I’d prefer to see no incidents at all, with operators and drivers checking heights before every journey.”