Home General Interest Skip lorry caused £200,000 damage to railway bridge on key freight route

Skip lorry caused £200,000 damage to railway bridge on key freight route

A skip lorry caused £200,000 of damage to a bridge at Warwick Road in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, on 20 March 2020. The vehicle caused significant damage to the bridge’s central arch, forcing the temporary closure of the railway above and a much longer closure of the road below.

To get freight and passenger trains moving again temporary supports had to be installed to shore up the structure and speed restrictions for trains had to be put in place while the repairs were carried out.

Network Rail has once again warned lorry drivers to always know the height of their vehicles after research showed that Research shows 43 per cent of lorry drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road. Fifty-two per cent admit to not taking low bridges into account. As a result, five entirely avoidable railway bridge strikes take place every day across Britain, costing the taxpayer £23 million a year.

Marc Vipham, route asset manager at Network Rail, said: “Freight is critical to the nation’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Closing a key line for freight traffic has serious impacts delivering critical supplies to many key workers and institutions. For this very reason, our engineers worked rapidly to find a safe way to secure the bridge and keep the railway open.

“However, all of this hard work should have been unnecessary. Bridge strikes like this are entirely avoidable, cost taxpayers millions of pounds and cause delays to tens of thousands of rail passengers and freight every year. Lorries can’t limbo. I can’t stress enough how important it is for drivers to know the height of their vehicle.”

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

1 COMMENT

  1. This seems to be a continual problem. What network rail should do is install a steel gantry 50~100m (like a very strong football goal posts and cross bar) each side of the bridge that traffic goes under, limbo style. Anything too tall would take out the gantry and damage their vehicle, but hopefully stop before getting to the bridge. The gantry would be easier to replace than repairing a brick bridge.

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