Check it, don’t chance it: Bridge strikes campaign

Don’t try it for size – know your height before you go.

Bridge strikes are a costly problem for the railway and can cause delays to train services and on the road network while we repair any damage.

Most of the vehicles that hit railway bridges are Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses, at a cost of around £13,000 per strike –costing the UK taxpayer around £23m in a year.

Oversized lorries hit rail bridges five times a day causing misery for hundreds of thousands, reveals new campaign

Click the arrows on the image below to scroll through our gallery and discover more striking facts.

We’ve launched a national campaign to the haulage industry and professional drivers challenging them to ‘check it, don't chance it’, running from October 2017 to April 2018. 

Our research shows 43 per cent of lorry 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. That’s why we’re reminding drivers to check their vehicle and plan their route to avoid low bridges before setting off, and we have tools, training and guidance in several languages for drivers and logistics companies to help tackle bridge strikes.

Network Rail already has a network of bridge strike ‘champions’ who have started to raise awareness of the issue by visiting logistics companies as well as trade bodies such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to get the issue on the map.

Did you know?

Recent landmark legal cases mean Network Rail can now claim back from hauliers the huge costs incurred by bridge strikes – and we’re aiming to claim back 100 per cent. Until these legal successes, we’ve been paying for repairs and compensating train operating companies for delays to their services where we haven’t been able to claim – costing the taxpayer. A number of bridge strikes are ‘hit and run’, so while we can claim back some costs, we still have to find the rest.

We know that most drivers are complete professionals and take safety on the road very seriously. However, we know there are also some areas where we could be better across the industry to stop strikes happening and give drivers and logistics companies the tools they need to help tackle the problem more effectively. Bridge strikes impact the whole transport network and by working together we can provide the right training and education for logistics companies to help them support their drivers, ensure that those who do break the rules are penalised, and that we can lower the impact of strikes to the travelling public when they do happen. We hope the whole industry will get behind this campaign and do all they can to stop bridge strikes.


Did you know?

The number of bridge strikes peaks in October, rising to almost 10 per day. Most bridge strikes happen between 10am and 11am, but numbers remain high until around 6pm.

BridgeLocationNetwork Rail routeNumber of times hit since April 2009
Stuntney Road (A.142)ElyAnglia113
Kenworthy Road BridgeHomertonAnglia99
Thurlow Park Road (HHT)Tulse HillSouth East92
Barrowby RoadGranthamLNE & EM90
Abbey FarmThetfordAnglia87