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.

Check it, don’t chance it: our bridge strikes campaign

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
2017/181801132

Some bridges over roads were struck repeatedly in 2017/18, with 32 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 2018 were as follows:

Repeated bridge strikes 2017/18

RouteBridge IDLocationOS Grid referencePostcodeBridge strikes in last 12 months
1AngliaBGK/1568A142 Stuntney Road, Ely, CambridgeshireTL 543 794CB7 4DY32
2AngliaEMP/1816B109 Stonea Road, Stonea, CambridgeshireTL 459 933PE15 0DX23
3LNWWNS/3A5 Watling Street, Hinckley, LeicestershireSP 406 926LE10 0FY22
4LNWBJW3/90A51 Upper St John Street, Lichfield, StaffordshireSK 118 090WS13 6HU19
5LNEECM1/243A607 Harlaxton Road, Grantham, LincolnshireSK 912 357NG31 7AD17
6ScotlandAYR3/161/059A737 Beith Road, Dalry, North AyrshireNS 299 497KA24 4HZ13
6WessexBML1/2/29Lower Downs Road, Wimbledon, LondonTQ 239 696SW20 8QG13
6AngliaETN/1601Abbey Farm, Thetford, NorfolkTL 866 837IP24 1AU13
9Wessex BAE2/E4/248A36 Warminster Road, Salisbury, WiltshireSU099 317SP2 0AJ12
10South EastXTD/92B207 Trundleys Road, Deptford, LondonTQ 360 780SE8 5JL11
10AngliaDWW2/227A102 Kenworthy Road, Homerton, LondonTQ 362 849E9 5RB11
10LNEDBP1/15B5008 Repton Road, Willington, DerbyshireSK 294 285DE65 6BX11

Two or more bridge strikes were reported at 358 bridges carrying the railway over roads and roads over the railway in the year ending 31 March 2018.

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

Bridge strike contacts

NameRouteEmail
Philip Wildbore AngliaPhilip.Wildbore@networkrail.co.uk
Simon Woodfield London North Eastern and East Midlands (LNE & EM)Simon.WOODFIELD@networkrail.co.uk
Rob StephensLondon North Western (LNW)Rob.Stephens@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
Mark WheelNational LeadMark.Wheel@networkrail.co.uk