The risk of bridge strikes

Bridge strikes are a significant risk to railway safety

A bridge strike occurs when a motor vehicle crashes into a bridge at a location where the railway passes over a road or the road crosses the railway.

Bridge strike incidents can cause death or serious injury to road and rail users and are financially costly to the vehicle owner and the railway.

After an incident the bridge needs to be checked to make sure it’s safe and debris needs to be cleared. This can cause significant delays to both road and rail users as well as disruption to the affected community.

Reporting a bridge strike

If a bridge strike occurs it should be immediately reported to us using the telephone number on the identification plate fixed to the bridge. If no plate is provided the strike should be reported to the Police by telephoning 999.

The number of bridge strikes at our bridges since 2000 (between 1 April and 31 March) are shown in the table below.

Reported bridge strikes

YearUnderline bridgesOverline bridges
2000/011613111
2001/021678100
2002/031914122
2003/041898142
2004/052020152
2005/061890146
2006/072020126
2007/082161143
2008/091736115
2009/101439113
2010/11159398
2011/12154180
2012/131544101
2013/141708101
2014/151670140
2015/161606136
2016/171665109

Some bridges over roads were struck repeatedly in 2016/17, with 18 strikes being reported at bridgeBGK/1568: Stuntley Road (A142) in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

The top 10 assets with greatest number of reported bridge strikes in the year ending 31 March 2017 were as follows:

Repeated bridge strikes

#RouteBridge IDLocationOS Grid referencePost codeBridge strikes in 2016/17
1AngliaBGK/1568A142 Stuntney Road, Ely, CambridgeshireTL 543 794CB7 4DY18
2AngliaEMP/1816B1098 Stonea Road, Stonea, CambridgeshireTL 459 933PE15 0DX16
3ScotlandEGS2/285/022A73, Carlisle Road, Bellside, North LanarkshireNS811 583ML1 5NU15
4LNWBJW3/90A51 Upper St John Street, Lichfield, StaffordshireSK 118 090WS13 6HU13
5WesternDCL/63 31A420 Botley Road, OxfordSP 505 063OX1 1PP12
6South EastNTL/494Mantle Road, Brockley, LondonTQ 363 758SE4 2LZ11
6South EastBTH1/1205A205 Thurlow Park Road, Tulse Hill, LondonTQ 318 730SE21 8JB11
8AngliaDWW2/227A102, Kennworthy Road, Homerton, LondonTQ 362 849E9 5RB11
8LNWWNS/3A5 Watling Street, Hinckley, LeicestershireSP 406 926LE10 0FY10
10South EastHDR/823Overy Street, Dartford, KentTQ 544 743DA1 1UG10
10ScotlandAYR3/161/059A737 Beith Road, Dalry, North AyrshireNS 299 497KA24 4HZ10

Two or more bridge strikes were reported at 353 bridges carrying the railway over roads and roads over the railway in the year ending 31 March 2017.

Our Route bridge strike champions take the lead in managing bridge strike risk locally and can be contacted as follows:

Bridge strike contacts

NameRouteEmail
Sylvester LamboiAngliacivilsenquiryAnglia@networkrail.co.uk
David Dickinson/Jonathan McCannLondon North Eastern and East Midlands (LNE & EM)LNE_EMstructuressupport@networkrail.co.uk
Mark WheelLondon North Western (LNW)mark.wheel@networkrail.co.uk
Darach UrquhartScotlandDarach.urquhart@networkrail.co.uk
Stephen DelderfieldSouth EastcivilsenquiriesSussex@networkrail.co.uk
Mark PetersWalesWalesroutestructures@networkrail.co.uk
Anish AbeysekeraWessexbridgestrikeWessex@networkrail.co.uk
Kevin LaidlawWesternwesternbridgestrikes@networkrail.co.uk