Network Rail attacks 'stupidity of lorry drivers' after four bridge strikes

Network Rail has slammed the "stupidity of lorry drivers" who crash into railway bridges.

It suffered four bridge strikes in the past two days, causing hours of delays to train passengers and motorists.

A lorry driver smashed into a bridge and overturned in Erdington, Birmingham shortly after noon on Wednesday, despite signs showing the bridge's height.

Trains on the line between Birmingham New Street and Lichfield, Staffordshire were disrupted for several hours.

A lorry smashed into a bridge in Birmingham on Wednesday (Network Rail/PA)
A lorry smashed into a bridge in Birmingham on Wednesday (Network Rail/PA)

Services were further affected when another lorry crashed into a bridge in Lichfield just after 5.30pm later that day.

The bridge was hit 13 times in 2016/17.

Bridges in Langwathby, Cumbria and West Ruislip, west London, were struck on Thursday.

Train services were delayed for several hours due to the accident (Network Rail/PA)
Train services were delayed for several hours due to the accident (Network Rail/PA)

Network Rail called for an end to the "entirely avoidable stupidity of lorry drivers who crash into bridges because they don't know the height of their vehicles".

The Government-owned body's chief operating officer for the London North Western route, Mark Killick, said: "There's no excuse for this.

"Lorry drivers should know their vehicle's height and width, not guess and hope for the best.

"Despite being very clearly marked, these bridges were driven into by irresponsible drivers, causing unnecessary disruption to railway and road users.

"We will be doing all we can to reclaim the costs we incurred from the haulage companies responsible."

There were 1,774 bridge strikes in 2016/17, up 32 on the previous 12 months.

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