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EMR warning to HGV after last year saw 54 bridge strikes

East Midlands Railway (EMR) is urging drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV), buses, and vans to fully understand the height of their vehicles after the railway operator was affected by 54 bridge strike incidents last year.

Bridge strikes, where vehicles collide with bridges, continue to be a significant and recurring problem across EMR’s network.

The operator has shared the top 10 most-hit bridges on its network in an effort to alert drivers to understand which structures regularly catch people out.

The list includes a bridge on Debdale Lane (A6075) in Mansfield – which has been hit 40 times in the last ten years – and other hotspots such as the bridge in Rothwell Road in Kettering and Matlock Road in South Wingfield.

Industry research has found that 43 per cent of HGV drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road, and 52 per cent admit to not taking low bridges into account.

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On average, each strike costs the UK taxpayer around £13,000 and in 2023 the top ten bridge strikes in EMR’s region led to 3,325 minutes of delays alone.

EMR is urging drivers to understand their vehicles’ height limits and guard against the causes of bridge strikes.

These causes include:

  • Going off the line of route, including under diversion
  • Operating ‘not in service’ and taking a shortcut
  • Insufficient route knowledge returning a vehicle to the depot for maintenance
  • Those normally drive a single-deck vehicle taking a double-deck vehicle on a single-deck route

Michael Webb, Joint Head of Performance at East Midlands Railway, said: “Unfortunately, bridge strikes are a constant issue that affects our network each year. Drivers and rail customers may experience frustration and delayed journeys, but a bridge strike has the potential to cause a train derailment with catastrophic consequences as well as loss of life or serious injury to the vehicle driver, passengers, and other people nearby.

“Those responsible for causing a bridge strike may be liable for costs associated with the incident, including the inspection and repair of the bridge and the cost of train delays, which can be considerable.”

“We have shared the top ten most-hit bridges across our network to raise awareness but we are also urging drivers to understand fully the height of their vehicle and not take any unnecessary risks – especially if they are on roads they are not familiar with.”

More information regarding guidance for drivers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prevention-of-bridge-strikes-good-practice-guide

Top 10 bridge strike locations in 2023 

1. Mansfield – Debdale Lane (A6075) –
2. Kettering- Rothwell Road –
3. South Wingfield – Matlock Road (A615)
4. Syston – Fletton Bridge / High Street
5. Trowell – Stapleford Road (A6007)
6. Hinckley – Rugby Road (B4109)
7. Market Harborough – Scotland Road
8. Longton – Bridgewood Street
9. Sileby – King Street
10. Bull Bridge – Ambergate

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