Network Rail today warned lorry drivers to always know the height of their vehicles after a skip lorry seriously damaged a railway bridge on a key freight route in Warwickshire.

Emergency repairs costing more than £200,000 had to be made to the bridge at Warwick Road in Kenilworth after it was hit by a skip wagon on 20 March.

The vehicle smash 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.

Speed restrictions for trains had to be put in place while the repairs were carried out.

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.”

Repairs to the bridge are now complete and Warwick Road is expected to reopen this week.