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New figures show three railway bridges in the Midlands have topped the list for the most bashed in Britain in 2020.
Data released by Network Rail today (Monday 9 November) shows the three most-struck rail bridges have been hit by vehicles 72 times over the last year.
This caused major disruption to road users and rail passengers, and a cost to the taxpayer of almost £300k in repairs and compensation payments.
The Watling Street bridge on the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, has the unenviable title of Britain’s most-bashed after being hit 25 times in the last year.
The second most-struck, the Bromford Road bridge in Dudley, West Midlands, saw the most rail passenger delays with a staggering 4,300 minutes of disruption in total – almost 72 hours – from 24 bridge strikes.
While the St John’s Street bridge in Lichfield has been knocked off the top spot to number three this year, it was still struck 23 times in 12 months.
Bridge strikes cause unnecessary delays to passengers, freight and motorists and an avoidable cost to the taxpayer as compensation is paid to affected train operators when services are delayed.
Network Rail has an ongoing ‘lorries can’t limbo’ campaign to raise awareness and drivers are being urged to ‘wise up and size up’ and know the height restrictions of their vehicles at all times.
Martin Colmey, director of operations for Network Rail’s Central route which is responsible for the bridges, said: “There is no excuse for drivers to be hitting railway bridges. Everyone has a responsibility to know their vehicle’s restrictions and all of our bridges are very clearly marked to show what the clearance is. To hit a bridge with all this information available is unprofessional and negligent.
“I’m urging drivers to ‘wise up and size up’. Bridge strikes result in unnecessary delay and disruption to the road and rail networks and cost to the taxpayer. We take this issue very seriously and wherever possible we will seek to reclaim costs from the driver or company responsible.”
From this morning (Monday 9 November), Network Rail will feature reminders to drivers on petrol pumps at motorway service stations across Britain, including the Midlands, reminding them to check their routes before setting off.
A letter was issued by senior traffic commissioner Richard Turfitt last month to all goods vehicle and Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operator licence holders, warning that regulatory action which could result in the loss of their operator’s licence is a real possibility should they fail to take appropriate control measures to prevent bridge strikes.
Photo credit: Network Rail
This article first appeared on www.railbusinessdaily.com
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