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  • The risk of bridge strikes

    Bridge strikes continue to be a significant risk to railway safety

  • The number of bridge strikes reported at our bridges carrying the railway over roads (underline) in the year ending 31 March 2012 was 1541. This is a slight decrease (3.3%) compared to the previous year.

    The number of reported strikes at bridges carrying a road over the railway (overline) continued to decrease from 98 to 80 (18.4%).

    Each bridge strike, whether the railway passes over a road or the road crosses the railway, is a risk to the safety of train passengers and railway workers, may damage the bridge, and may cause significant delays to train services.

    Bridge strikes can result in the death or serious injury of the driver or passengers of the vehicle involved, as well as other innocent road users. Bridge strikes are financially costly to the vehicle owner as well as the railway.

    A bridge strike can cause significant delays to the road user and disruption to the community.

    Reporting a bridge strike

    Should a bridge strike occur, it should be immediately reported to Network Rail using the telephone number on the identification plate. If no plate is provided the strike should be reported to the Police using 999.

    Reported bridge strikes at our bridges

    The number of bridge strikes in the years 1 April to 31 March since 2000 are shown in the table below. The number of bridges at which 10 or more strikes were reported fell from 11 to six.

    Year Underline bridges Overline bridges
    2000/01  1613 111
    2001/02  1678 100
    2002/03  1914 122
    2003/04  1898 142
    2004/05  2020 152
    2005/06  1890 146
    2006/07  2020 126
    2007/08  2161 143
    2008/09  1736 115
    2009/10  1439 113
    2010/11  1593 98
    2011/12  1541 80

    Reported bridge strikes at Network Rail bridges

    Some bridges over roads were struck repeatedly in 2011/12 with 17 strikes being reported at bridge number ETN/1601: Abbey Farm, Thetford. The number of bridges at which 10 or more strikes were reported fell from 11 to six.

    Bridges over roads at which 10 or more strikes were reported in the year ending 31 March 2012 are listed in the table below.

    Network Rail Route Bridge identification Location OS reference Number of reported bridge strikes
    Anglia   ETN/1601 Abbey Road, Thetford, Norfolk TL 866 837 17
    Anglia   DWW2/227 Kenworthy Road, Homerton, Greater London TQ 362 849 12
    LNE   ECM1/246 A52 Barrowby Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire SK 909 362 11
    Anglia  BGK/1568 A142 Stuntney Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire TL 544 794 10
    LNW   TTA1/106 A624 Hayfield Road, Chinley, Derbyshire SK 056 816 10
    Western   MLN1/20 71 Station Road, Burnham, Slough SU 940 813 10

    A list of 343 bridges carrying the railway over roads and roads over the railway at which two or more bridge strikes were reported in the year ending 31st March 2012 showing the number of reported strikes at each bridge is available for downloading from list of bridges struck between 1st April 2011 – 31st March 2012. Should further statistics be required for particular bridges known to have been struck, contact Network Rail’s bridge strike champions for the Route:

    Ben Wilkinson  Anglia 
    Thomas Brodrick  Kent 
    Mark Wheel  London
    North Western (LNW) 
    David Dickinson  London North Eastern (LNE)
    and East Midlands 
    Andrew Sinclair  Scotland 
    Stephen Delderfield  Sussex 
    Dale Hall  Wales 
    Gavin Baecke  Wessex 
    Mike Smith  Western 
  • More information

    Preventing bridge strikes 

    We apply the principles of the 4 Es (education, engineering, enablement and enforcement) to the prevention of bridge strikes.

    Responding to bridge strikes 

    We have jointly developed with the Emergency Services and Highway/Road Authorities guidance on actions to be taken by when responding to a bridge strike.

    Risks and consequences 

    The presentation 'Bridge strikes - risk and consequences' illustrates the risk and consequences of particular incidents and details how we manage risk through prevention, mitigation and response.

    Bridge strikes 2011/12 

    Download a list of all bridge strikes reported in the year ending 31 March 2012.