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Bridge Strikes: October sees a peak in lorries hitting bridges, say Network Rail

The number of bridge strikes peaks in October, rising to almost 10 per day, says Network Rail.

Another lorry struck the A606 Tollerton bridge today 3 November – it’s almost an annual occurrence.

The most recent bridge strike was at the same time of year, in 2022 on 22 October the Tollerton bridge was hit by a lorry. 

Most bridge strikes happen between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., but numbers remain high until around 6 p.m.

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The scene on Friday 3 November 2023
© westbridgfordwire.com

A spokesperson said:

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‘Bridge strikes are a costly problem for the railway and can cause delays to train services and on the road network while we repair any damage.

Bridge strike load off lorry 900x600 c
© Network Rail

‘Between April 1, 2021, and March 31 2022 there were 1,833 bridge strikes reported across the network.

‘Most of the vehicles that hit railway bridges are Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses, at a cost of around £13,000 per strike –costing the UK taxpayer around £23m in a year.

Bridge strike load on its side 900x600 c
© Network Rail

‘View good practice guides on how drivers, transport staff and bridge owners can prevent vehicles from hitting bridges and what to do if a bridge strike happens.

‘Our research has shown 43 per cent of lorry 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.

Bridge strike skip lorry 900x600 c
© Network Rail

“That’s why we remind drivers to check their vehicles and plan their route to avoid low bridges before setting off, and we have tools, training and guidance in several languages for drivers and logistics companies to help tackle bridge strikes.

‘Throughout the year, we work alongside some of Britain’s biggest haulage firms as well as Highways England, the Driving Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) and other industry bodies to reduce the risk of bridge strikes.’

Bridge strike twisted lorry 900x600 c
© Network Rail

Recent landmark legal cases mean Network Rail can now claim back from hauliers the huge costs incurred by bridge strikes – and we’re aiming to claim back 100 per cent.

•  Pictures & Video: Lorry load of cooking oil overturns on Melton Road Tollerton

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