Lorry drivers and haulage operators have been asked to take better care, afterbridge strikes cost the rail operator more than £5.5 million in delay and cancellation fees in 2020/2021.
This campaign is aptly timed, after a lorry overturned after crashing into a bridge in Edinburgh this morning.
The warning comes ahead of the annual Black Friday and Christmas shopping rush, which is traditionally a peak period for bridge strikes.
Network Rail are also worried about the spate of newly qualified lorry drivers that will be driving on Britain’s roads this year, in order to meet supply chain demands and fill the estimated 100,000 driver shortfall.
The Coddenham Road bridge in Suffolk was dubbed ‘the most bashed bridge in Britain’, after being struck 19 times last year. These bridge strikes cost Network a whopping £41,331.
Other frequently hit bridges include St John’s Street bridge in Staffordshire, and Harlaxton Road bridge in Lincolnshire - which were struck 18 and 16 times respectively.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail said: "Bridge strikes cause unnecessary delays, costs, and safety issues for road and rail users. To compound matters, they drain public funds which should be used on upgrading and improving our network. In recent years we've done a lot of work with partners across the industry to tackle the problem and whilst it's encouraging to see numbers on the decline, there's a lot more work to be done.
“With Black Friday and Christmas fast approaching, we urge professional operators and drivers to properly plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and look out for road signs warning of oncoming bridges. Those who don’t are at risk of losing their driver’s and operator’s licences, and Network Rail looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver’s employer.”
"Over the next four weeks, reminders to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ will feature on posters at motorway service stations across Britain, urging drivers to check the size of their vehicles and their routes before setting off”.