Stuntney Road bridge retains title of UK’s ‘most bashed’ - and each collision costs Network Rail a whopping £13,500

The low bridge in Ely. Photo: Harry Rutter

The low bridge in Ely. Photo: Harry Rutter - Credit: Archant

Stuntney Road bridge in Ely has retained its title of Britain’s most bashed bridge.

The railway bridge has been crowned yet again as the UK’s most hit bridge having been hit a whopping 113 times since 2009 – an average of once a month.

Despite numerous warning signs, van and HGV drivers continue to underestimate the height of the bridge and have caused 36 hours of delays for rail passengers at a price of £109,000 over the last five years.

New Network Rail figures have also revealed that the service has to fork out around £13,500 every time a rail bridge is struck – a total £23 million a year - and that 43 per cent of lorry drivers admit to not knowing the height of their vehicle.

Network Rail chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, said: “Size does matter when you’re a professional driver in a heavy vehicle.

“Not knowing the size of your vehicle or load could lead to a serious accident, and the loss of your licence.

“Every incident creates potential delays for tens of thousands of passengers and potential costs for taxpayers, and this is happening multiple times a day.”

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Sir Peter, who used to drive double-decker buses in London, admits that the problem could cause deaths if it is not addressed fully.

“It’s only a matter of time before rail or road users are killed as a result of this carelessness,” he added.

“We need professional HGV drivers and their operator employers to get behind and support this campaign to eradicate bridge bashing, which reaches epidemic levels at this time of year.”

Runner-up in the “most bashed” rankings is Kentworthy Road in Homerton, east London, which has seen 99 strikes over the last eight years, followed by Thurlow Park Road bridge in Tulse Hill, south east London, with 92.

And Network Rail has warned that the problem is only going to get worse over the coming weeks, with October and November seeing a peak level of strikes, rising to almost 10 per day.

The organisation believes bridge strikes peak from the end of October due to the clocks changing and the increase in the number of deliveries ahead of Christmas.

Network Rail has launched a new campaign – involving straplines ‘What the truck’ and ‘Lorries can’t limbo’ - aimed at HGV drivers and haulage companies to coincide with the new statistics.