Rolling stock

01.02.18

Network Rail calls out ‘entirely avoidable stupidity’ of ‘bridge-bash’ lorry drivers

Network Rail has urged lorry drivers to be more cautious around low railway bridges, after four incidents within the last two days.

The crashes have become an increasing problem for the infrastructure owner because every time a bridge is struck by a lorry engineers have to be sent to the site for checks before services can resume.

Today’s plea was prompted by two issues that occurred yesterday in the West Midlands, which started with a crash in Erdington, Birmingham, where a lorry hit the bridge and overturned, disrupting Cross City Line services for a number of hours.

Later in the day the same line suffered further problems when a driver in Lichfield hit a separate bridge just after 5.30pm. The problem was further compounded today when incidents in Cumbria and London caused more delays.

In a statement, Network Rail said these ‘bridge-bash’ drivers represented an “entirely avoidable stupidity” caused by people not knowing the height of their own vehicles or not checking the height of bridges.

Network Rail’s chief operating officer for London North Western, Mark Killick, explained: “There’s no excuse for this. Lorry drivers should know their vehicle's height and width - not guess and hope for the best.

“Despite being very clearly marked, these bridges were driven into by irresponsible drivers causing unnecessary disruption to railway and road-users. We will be doing all we can to reclaim the costs we incurred from the haulage companies responsible.”

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Comments

Huguenot   01/02/2018 at 17:32

Can't sat-nav help here? Don't lorry drivers' sat-navs show road width and height restrictions? If not, it's time that they did. But also, not every low bridge has infrared detectors which set off flashing warning lights. It would help if more of these were fitted.

Neil Palmer   01/02/2018 at 17:49

As well as forcing the trucking companies &/or drivers to pay the cost of disruption, aren't the police charging theses morons with something like careless/dangerous driving at least? The courts need to start sentencing these idiots to something like at least 6 months in jail in addition to fines & costs recovery (including all Section 8 payments and the cost of the engineers to inspect the bridge).

Mikeb   01/02/2018 at 21:07

I seem to remember in some areas, seeing swinging bars (I never knew whether they were wood or metal) suspended by two wires from frames, that were positioned about 50 yards either side of low bridges. If a vehicle was too high it would strike the bar, the driver would here a bang or clatter and stop the vehicle.

Can Opener   02/02/2018 at 03:10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USu8vT_tfdw

Mike   02/02/2018 at 12:45

Sticker on the windscreen stating vehicle height. Compare with what the sign on the bridge says. If less than what it says on the windscreen then stop and reverse. If you still crash into a Bridge - loose your license for at least a year. Crash again - loose it forever. Or even better-simply lower track access charges for freight and get more lorries off the roads!

Frankh   02/02/2018 at 13:27

Mike, not as simple as that. HGV trailers (curtainside and box) arn't a standard height.

Brian   02/02/2018 at 15:00

Sat nav - a lot of lorry drivers use ‘domastic’ car type sat navs. Regarding trailer heights, it should be the responsibility of the driver to know the height of the trailer, especially if they vary greatly as Frank infers, and they should be criminally or civilly responsible for their action

Brian   02/02/2018 at 15:01

Sat nav - a lot of lorry drivers use ‘domastic’ car type sat navs. Regarding trailer heights, it should be the responsibility of the driver to know the height of the trailer, especially if they vary greatly as Frank infers, and they should be criminally or civilly responsible for their action

Andrew Gwilt   03/02/2018 at 00:33

At least the new A142 Southern Bypass in Ely, Cambridgeshire as its under construction will take HGV's away from the level crossing that has caused lots of tailbacks coming in & out of Ely on the A142 road. Once the new bypass has been completed which is likely to be completed next year. And improvements to the low bridge with a new bridge and the closure of the level crossing.

(Dr) Pedr Jarvis   03/02/2018 at 17:45

In some places a beam is placed across the road, a few inches lower than the bridge and just in front of it. This ensures the damage is restricted to the lorry. Too expensive for all but the the most troublesome spots. I have seen this technique employed in America to excellent effect. But the swinging rod with bells is cheaper - does anyone know how effective it may be?

Jb   04/02/2018 at 18:00

Putting a beam across the road a short distance from the bridge is pretty much standard in some countries. It should be used much more than it is in the UK and certainly should not be expensive. Although it is impractical for some arch bridges they are far less likely to be significantly damaged or create a dangerous situation when an overheight vehicle hits them.

Gabriel Oaks   05/02/2018 at 07:23

@ Putting a beam across the road a short distance from the bridge is pretty much standard in some countries. I understand that the Highways Agency are not in favour.....

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