Trains cut off from Cornwall after Tesco lorry hits railway bridge

Trains have been unable to enter Cornwall after a Tesco lorry struck a railway bridge and became wedged underneath it. Rail services to and from the county have been disrupted since the vehicle hit the bridge in Mannamead, Plymouth, at just before 3.30pm on Monday, causing damage to the stonework. No trains were able to enter Cornwall on Tuesday, with Network Rail warning that delays and cancellations could persist into Wednesday.

Tesco has apologised for the incident and ordered an investigation. The line has been closed between Totnes and Plymouth because of safety concerns, meaning trains from London to Plymouth or Penzance will temporarily terminate at Exeter St David’s. Replacement bus services have been running between Plymouth, Exeter and Tiverton Parkway.

Dean Shaw, of Network Rail, said: “Unfortunately, the nature of the railway down in Plymouth and into the South West… this is the main line that connects the South West with the rest of the country. The disruption has been fairly far and wide, and we are doing all we can to get the line open as quickly and safely as possible.”

Great Western Railway advised people to rethink plans to travel into Cornwall after the incidentCredit: Network Rail/SWNS The Tesco lorry struck the bridge in Mannamead, Plymouth just before 3.30pm on MondayCredit: Network Rail/SWNS

Residents in Mannamead described how the lorry had damaged stonework on the bridge. Network Rail said on Tuesday that it needed to remove the vehicle before it could fully inspect the damage.

Keith Fletcher, who lives close to the bridge, told the BBC: “The lorry has actually lifted the stonework about three inches up. Really, this is the most damage I’ve seen and I’ve lived here for about 20 years.” A Tesco spokesman said: “A heavy goods vehicle operated by one of our logistics partners struck a railway bridge at Ashford Hill, Plymouth, which has caused the bridge’s closure.

We are very sorry for the problems this has caused for travellers and we are investigating how this has happened.”

On Tuesday, Great Western Railway advised people to rethink plans to travel into Cornwall, tweeting: “We are advising to only travel if you need to, as trains and bus replacements are expected to be busy.”