Kettering rail bridge a real hit with lorries as it makes it into EMR’s top three

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Kettering’s busy Rothwell Road rail bridge has nearly made it to the top of the hit parade – coming second in a list of the most struck bridges on the local rail network.

East Midlands Railway[2] (EMR) is urging drivers of trucks, buses, and vans to remember the height of their vehicles after the railway operator was affected by 54 bridge strike incidents last year.

Despite multiple signs displaying the Rothwell Road’s dimensions – 14ft or 4.2m – lorries have continued to crash into the structure.

Rothwell Road rail bridge in Kettering/National WorldRothwell Road rail bridge in Kettering/National World Rothwell Road rail bridge in Kettering/National World

EMR has warned that bridge strike incidents risk safety of drivers, staff and train customers saying they can also lead to lengthy rail delays.

Michael Webb, joint head of performance at East Midlands Railway, said: "Unfortunately, bridge strikes are a constant issue that affects our network each year. Drivers[3] and rail customers may experience frustration and delayed journeys, but a bridge strike has the potential to cause a train derailment with catastrophic consequences as well as loss of life or serious injury to the vehicle driver, passengers, and other people nearby.

"Those responsible for causing a bridge strike may be liable for costs associated with the incident, including the inspection and repair of the bridge and the cost of train delays, which can be considerable.

"We have shared the top ten most-hit bridges across our network to raise awareness but we are also urging drivers to understand fully the height of their vehicle and not take any unnecessary risks - especially if they are on roads they are not familiar with."

Taking top spot on the hit list is Debdale Lane (A6075) in Mansfield - which has been hit 40 times in the last ten years. Second in the ranking was Kettering’s Rothwell Road bridge, hit four times in 2023.

Seventh on the list is Market Harborough’s Scotland Road rail bridge.

According to EMR, industry research has found that 43 per cent of HGV 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.

On average, each strike costs the UK taxpayer around £13,000 and in 2023 the top ten bridge strikes in EMR's region led to 3,325 minutes of delays alone.

EMR is urging drivers to understand their vehicles' height limits and guard against the causes of bridge strikes.

These causes include:

- Going off the line of route, including under diversion

- Operating 'not in service' and taking a shortcut

- Insufficient route knowledge returning a vehicle to the depot for maintenance

- Drivers who normally drive a single-deck vehicle taking a double-deck vehicle on a single-deck route

Top 10 bridge strike locations in 2023 affecting East Midlands Railway

1. Mansfield - Debdale Lane (A6075) 2. Kettering- Rothwell Road 3. South Wingfield - Matlock Road (A615)4. Syston - Fletton Bridge / High Street5. Trowell - Stapleford Road (A6007)6. Hinckley - Rugby Road (B4109)7. Market Harborough - Scotland Road8. Longton - Bridgewood Street9. Sileby - King Street10. Bull Bridge - Ambergate


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