The Watling Street bridge, on the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, has the unenviable title of Britain’s most-bashed bridge after being struck 25 times in the last year, causing unnecessary delays and safety risks for rail passengers, motorists and locals.
Figures show railway bridges are struck five times every day on average across Britain, causing almost half a million minutes of delays for rail passengers. As a result, the ‘Lorries Can’t Limbo’ campaign has been rolled out to motorway service stations, reminding drivers to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ before starting their journeys
With the Black Friday and Christmas rush around the corner, and more large vehicles expected on Britain’s roads, Network Rail has revealed the most-struck bridges in the country to remind drivers and operators of their obligations to prevent costly and dangerous bridge strikes.
The second most-struck bridge, the Bromford Road bridge in Dudley, West Midlands, saw the most rail passenger delays attributed to bridge strikes with a staggering 4,300 minutes – almost 72 hours – of disruption from 24 bridge strikes.
The problem is one which blights people across Britain, with bridges in Norfolk, Scotland, Middlesex, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, Staffordshire, Hertfordshire, London, Somerset, West Midlands and Lancashire all making the 20 most-struck list.
Network Rail has worked with industry bodies – including Highways England and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – and hauliers for a number of years, leading a Bridge Strike Prevention Group to ensure companies and their employees are provided with the knowledge and tools they need to avoid striking bridges.
Though there has been a 11% decrease in incidents in the last financial year (April 1 2019 – March 31 2020), bridge strikes remain a dangerous and costly concern.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail said: “We’ve done a lot of work with partners across the industry in recent years to tackle bridge strikes, and whilst it’s encouraging to see our work is paying off with numbers now on the decline, there’s a lot more to be done to cut the unnecessary delays, costs and safety risks they pose.”
Throughout this period, reminders to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ will feature on petrol pumps at motorway service stations across Britain along with posters, reminding drivers to check their routes before setting off.