A skip lorry caused £200,000 of damage to a bridge at Warwick Road in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, on 20 March 2020. The vehicle caused significant damage to the bridge’s central arch, forcing the temporary closure of the railway above and a much longer closure of the road below.
To get freight and passenger trains moving again temporary supports had to be installed to shore up the structure and speed restrictions for trains had to be put in place while the repairs were carried out.
Network Rail has once again warned lorry drivers to always know the height of their vehicles after research showed that 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. As a result, five entirely avoidable railway bridge strikes take place every day across Britain, costing the taxpayer £23 million a year.
Marc Vipham, route asset manager at Network Rail, said: “Freight is critical to the nation’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Closing a key line for freight traffic has serious impacts delivering critical supplies to many key workers and institutions. For this very reason, our engineers worked rapidly to find a safe way to secure the bridge and keep the railway open.
“However, all of this hard work should have been unnecessary. Bridge strikes like this are entirely avoidable, cost taxpayers millions of pounds and cause delays to tens of thousands of rail passengers and freight every year. Lorries can’t limbo. I can’t stress enough how important it is for drivers to know the height of their vehicle.”