No damage to Ipswich’s Bramford Road rail bridge despite dramatic accident

PUBLISHED: 16:29 07 July 2020

Monday afternoon's accident on Bramford Road. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Monday afternoon's accident on Bramford Road. Picture: PAUL GEATER


There was no damage to the rail bridge over Bramford Road in Ipswich in Monday evening’s accident when it was struck by a van on top of a vehicle carrier trying to go under the structure.

And there is still no word on whether the police will be taking action against the driver of the lorry after the accident which blocked the normally-busy road for about two hours.

A Network Rail engineer was sent to the bridge as soon as it was clear that it had been struck at 5.30pm.

He inspected the bridge as soon as the accident was reported and felt it would still be safe for trains to cross the bridge before the vehicles were recovered.

MORE: Dramatic bridge collision in Ipswich

A spokeswoman for Network Rail, which manages all rail bridges in the country, said all its bridges were assessed for how vulnerable they were in the event of a collision.

She said: “Some we have to close immediately to check if there is an incident. With some others we can allow trains to go over them at walking pace if the bridge does not appear to be badly damaged.”

On this occasion two Greater Anglia trains were allowed to go over the bridge at walking pace before the vehicles were removed. As they moved slowly across the drivers were in radio contact with the Network Rail engineer under the bridge and there was also someone checking that the track had not been knocked out of alignment by the impact.

After they had been taken away and the road cleaned, a full inspection of the bridge showed that the van had only scraped the underside of it without causing any substantial damage.

Trains were then allowed to travel across the bridge at line speed and Bramford Road was reopened to traffic.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said there had still been no decision on whether to report the driver of the vehicle transporter for any offence. No one was hurt in the incident – but the nature of the damage prompted a significant number of local residents to come out to see what had happened.

There are warning signs on the bridge showing the height limit, but it is not a bridge where there have been a significant number of incidents over the years – unlike very low bridges at Needham Market, Manningtree and Ely which have become notorious over the years and are among the most frequently hit structures on the rail network anywhere in Britain.

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