Inches from train crash disaster

A NEAR-tragedy on the main railway line between Ipswich and London caused rush-hour delays today.A 4x4 vehicle hit Brantham bridge on the A137, knocked down a flimsy fence, and almost landed on the main line at the bottom of the steepest cutting in East Anglia – just minutes before the next train was due.

A NEAR-tragedy on the main railway line between Ipswich and London caused rush-hour delays today.

A 4x4 vehicle hit Brantham bridge on the A137, knocked down a flimsy fence, and almost landed on the main line at the bottom of the steepest cutting in East Anglia – just minutes before the next train was due.

The driver of the Mitsubishi Shogun is understood to have pinballed against the sides of the bridge at about 6.40am.

The road was blocked for a short time and the driver was seen walking away from his vehicle with blood on his face.


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Paramedics were called but did not take anybody to hospital.

Although not talking specifically about today's accident, people living nearby voiced concerns about the increasing number of speeding motorists on the road.

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Colin Jelbert, 55, who lives in Ipswich Road, said: "Everybody around here thinks drivers using the bridge go far too fast. It is meant to be a 30mph limit.

"Lorry drivers are the worst offenders. I often here them screeching to a halt when they realise there is another vehicle on the bridge and there's not enough room for them to pass. There are always skid marks on the road."

The line was closed today while inspectors from Network Rail checked the bridge. Trains were then restricted to five miles an hour while the line was checked for debris.

Network Rail officials said it was up to the highways' authority to maintain fences near bridges.

"After the Great Heck disaster (when ten people died after a Land Rover left the road and derailed two fast trains) highways authorities were reminded of their responsibility to maintain barriers near bridges," said a spokeswoman.

"That advice was reinforced after the incident at Ardleigh last year."

On that occasion a lorry driven by Bob Mortimer, from Brantham, left the road and fell on to the line.

Mr Mortimer escaped, but a freight train hit the vehicle. No one was hurt.

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