Anglia’s bridges take brunt of bashes in top ten list…again!: Stonea bridge completed side shot

Wednesday 16 Nov 2022

Anglia’s bridges take brunt of bashes in top ten list…again!

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
  • Network Rail reveals more than 1800 bridges were hit by vehicles in 2021/22 with Anglia’s Stonea bridge top of the bashes with 33 impacts
  • Other Anglia structures at Abbey Farm in Thetford and Coddenham Road bridge in Needham Market also make it to the top 10 list with a surprise return entry by the Stuntney Road bridge in Ely 
  • Bridge strikes cost Network Rail almost £12 million in delay and cancellation fees over the year
  • Network Rail is urging lorry drivers to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ by knowing the height of their vehicles and choosing suitable routes before they head out on journeys

With the Black Friday and Christmas delivery rush fast approaching, and more large vehicles on Britain’s roads, Network Rail has revealed the most-struck railway bridges in the country as it urges lorry drivers and haulage operators to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’.

This year, the Stonea Road bridge on the B1098 has the unflattering title of the most bashed bridge in Britain, taking the top spot from Coddenham Road bridge the year before. Located in Cambridgeshire, the Stonea bridge was struck 33 times in the year ending March 2022, amounting to £10,526 in unnecessary train delay and cancellation costs.

The other “big hitters” on the list in Anglia include the bridge at Abbey Farm in Thetford with 15 strikes to its name last year, and Stuntney Road bridge in Ely makes the top ten list again with 12 strikes despite a new bypass having been opened in 2018.  

The Coddenham Road bridge on the B1078, which held the title of ‘most bashed bridge’ in Britain in 2020/21 with 19 strikes, continues to make the top ten this time around, being struck ten times last year.

The latest figures come as Network Rail launches a new animation as part of its ongoing ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign, reminding lorry drivers and haulage operators to take better care by knowing the height of their vehicles and choosing suitable routes before they head out on journeys. The retro-inspired cartoon centres on three high-sided vehicles navigating a low bridge in increasingly wacky ways, from pole-vaulting over it, to tunnelling underneath it. The animation is designed to warn HGV drivers that life is not like the cartoons and to take a moment to think before taking a risk when approaching low bridges.

Network Rail works with a number of railway industry partners to tackle bridge strikes, including Highways England, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and hauliers. While incidents have reduced in recent years, numbers have steadily started to creep up again - coinciding with an estimated increase in traffic volume on Britain’s roads. Overall, provisional estimates show motor vehicles travelled 318.6 billion vehicle miles in Great Britain from April 2021 to March 2022 - a 29.7% increase compared to the year ending March 2021. Lorry traffic, in particular, increased by 10.1% to 17.8 billion vehicle miles.*    

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, 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. In recent years we’ve done a lot of work with partners across the industry to tackle this problem which is why it is disappointing to see higher numbers last year. There’s a lot more work to be done.

“With Black Friday and Christmas fast approaching, we urge professional operators and drivers to properly plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and look out for road signs warning of oncoming bridges. Those who don’t are at risk of losing their driver’s and operator’s licences, and Network Rail looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver’s employer.”  

Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors

*Provisional road traffic estimates, Great Britain: April 2021 to March 2022, Department for Transport, click here.

To find out more about how bridge strikes affect the rail network, click here.

To find out more about the ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign, click here.  

Most struck railway bridges in Britain 2021/22:

  1. Stonea Road, Stonea, Cambridgeshire 33 strikes
  2. Lower Down’s Road, Wimbledon, London 18 strikes
  3. Harlaxton Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire 17 strikes
  4. Abbey Farm, Thetford, Norfolk 15 strikes
  5. Stuntney Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire 12 strikes
  6. Harefield Road, Brakespeare Road South, West Ruislip, London 12 strikes
  7. Station Road B4105, Berkswell, Solihull 12 strikes
  8. Station Road, Langley, Berkshire 12 strikes
  9. St John’s Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire 11 strikes
  10. Coddenham Road, Needham Market, Suffolk 10 strikes

Bridge strikes reported across the railway network in the last five financial years:

Year 2017/18 – 2,039 strikes

Year 2018/19 – 1,926 strikes

Year 2019/20 – 1,720 strikes

Year 2020/21 – 1,624 strikes

Year 2021/22 – 1,833 strikes

Contact information

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Richard Cooper
Communications manager
Network Rail

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