Lorry and bus drivers warned after bridge strikes across Bromley

Lorry and bus drivers have been reminded they could face tough penalties after rail bridges across Bromley were struck over the past year, the worst incident costing GBP200,000. The Elmstead Woods crash in October 2019 was one of the most severe across Network Rail’s entire UK system, racking up significant repair costs and compensation fees to train companies. Bridges in Elmers End and Lower Sydenham were also struck over the period, as the infrastructure provider registered 131 incidents across Kent.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Route Director for Kent, said: “There is no excuse to not know the height of your vehicle before starting your journey. “As well as putting lives in danger on both road and rail and causing lengthy delays for passengers and road users, drivers who chance it at bridges are at risk of leaving their employers with a hefty bill for repairs and train delay costs, along with a strong threat to their own operator licence.”

Nationally, almost six out of ten (59%) of the incidents are caused by HGV drivers, and Network Rail is reminding drivers they can face tough penalties including removing a person’s public service vehicle (PSV) licence. Automatic camera alert systems have been installed on 6 bridges in Kent to monitor them for movement, since many strikes which could endanger the structure go unreported. Hideo Takano, Senior Structures Advisor at Highways England said: “Although bridge strikes are comparatively low for our roads, as part of the collective drive to reduce bridge strikes happening we work with other transport authorities as part of the Bridge Strike Prevention Group and welcome Network Rail’s new campaign.

“Bridges strikes can cause hours of disruption around two-thirds of bridge strikes on our roads are caused by vehicles carrying a load.

“So, to reduce the risk of this happening we urge all drivers to follow these simple steps; know your height, plan your route and secure your load.”

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