Network Rail reveals most-struck rail bridges and urges lorry drivers to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’

Network Rail has revealed the most-struck railway bridges in the country as it relaunches its ‘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 warning comes ahead of the annual Black Friday and Christmas shopping rush – traditionally a peak period for bridge strikes – and as more newly qualified lorry drivers are expected on Britain’s roads this year to meet supply chain demands and fill the estimated 100,000 driver shortfall.

The Coddenham Road bridge on the B1078 has the unflattering title of the most bashed bridge in Britain. Located in Needham Market, Suffolk, the bridge was struck 19 times last year, amounting to £41,331 in unnecessary train delay and cancellation costs. The other “big hitters” on the list in the Anglia region include Stuntney Road in Ely (4), Ipswich Road bridge in Mannningtree (8) and Abbey Farm in Thetford (20).

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 and whilst it’s encouraging to see numbers on the decline, 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.”

Over the next four weeks, reminders to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ will feature on posters at motorway service stations across Britain, urging drivers to check the size of their vehicles and their routes before setting off.

Network Rail’s 4E’s initiative – education, engineering, enablement and enforcement – aims to ensure haulage companies and their drivers are provided with the knowledge and tools they need to avoid striking bridges. As part of this ongoing initiative, Network Rail has a team of bridge strike ‘champions’ covering each route across Britain, who raise awareness of the issue by visiting haulage companies and lead in managing bridge strike risk locally.

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com

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