Friday 5 Oct 2018
Lorry bridge smash video prompts call to ‘wise up, size up’
- London North Western
Shocking footage emerged today of a lorry smashing into a railway bridge after a serious height misjudgement by its driver.
The incident on the A49 Beeston High Road at Tarporley in Cheshire happened just before midday on Thursday (October 4).
The HGV (heavy goods vehicle) struck the underside of the bridge before grinding to a standstill and lurching over.
Trains had to be temporarily halted on the Crewe-Chester line while a Network Rail structural engineer checked the bridge was safe.
Five entirely avoidable incidents like this take place on average every day across Britain. The problem costs the British taxpayer £23 million a year.
Each of the 1,800 (annual average) bridge strikes a year halts freight and passenger train journeys by an average of two hours.
Yesterday’s incident prompted Network Rail to reiterate its ‘wise up, size up’ message to drivers of all high vehicles.
Phil James, head of operations for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “Drivers need to know the height of their vehicle, not guess. In short: Wise up, size up.
“Dangerous incidents like this one at Tarporley cause huge inconvenience to train passengers and to motorists, not to mention the cost to the taxpayer. The really galling thing is they’re all entirely avoidable. Roadside signage is provided to warn motorists on the height of our bridges.”
Network Rail will be pursuing a claim for the cost of the incident at Tarporley through the haulage firm’s insurers.
Research shows 43 per cent of lorry drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road. Fifty-two per cent admit to not taking low bridges into account.
Network Rail reminds drivers to check their vehicle and plan their route to avoid low bridges before setting off.
On its website are tools, training and guidance in several languages to help drivers and logistics companies avoid bridge strikes.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.