Bacton: Call for action to stop rail bridge strikes

The lorry which struck the bridge in Bacton on Friday. Photo by Colin Jones The lorry which struck the bridge in Bacton on Friday. Photo by Colin Jones

Matt Hunter matt.hunter@archant.co.uk
Monday, March 31, 2014
6:01 AM

Urgent action is needed to stop lorries crashing into a rail bridge causing commuters to wait for hours as trains are delayed, according to a county councillor.

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Train services were delayed for almost 90 minutes on Friday morning when a Mercedes lorry struck a bridge in Pound Lane, Bacton, near Stowmarket.

Network Rail engineers had to come out and assess the damage caused to the bridge before trains could run again between Stowmarket and Diss stations.

Andrew Stringer, Green county councillor for the village, has called for greater warnings to be given to drivers going through Bacton.

“The amount of bridge strikes is increasing and what is there at the moment is not working,” he said.

“I first raised this when I was elected as a Suffolk county councillor – calling for safety improvements on the bridge. It’s also not very safe for pedestrians walking underneath it. The bridge sign desperately needs addressing.”

He said there had been three bridge strikes within the past year.

Suffolk County Council said it was the bridge owner, Network Rail, which was ultimately responsible for improving the signs beyond the current standards.

A council spokeswoman said: “We have commissioned our highways contractor, KierMG, to design and implement a number of low bridge signing schemes within Suffolk, in light of recent changes to signing regulations, including the railway bridge at Bacton.

“This will effectively change signage from triangular signs to mandatory round signs.

“Any further enhancements to signs will be down to the bridge owner which in this case is Network Rail.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said that bridge strikes were a “big issue”. She added they were happy to work with the council to protect the bridge.

The county council said that the funding for further bridge signs or improvements to the existing set was the responsibility of Network Rail.

In December a similar incident occurred when a Night Freight lorry hit the bridge.

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