Network Rail has urged lorry drivers and haulage companies to be more careful after a Tesco lorry smashed into a railway bridge in Plymouth.
The incident which happened on Monday lunchtime (August 30) caused disruption for thousands of passengers and for nearly 24 hours, cut-off the only railway line into the South West.
Huge damage was caused to the bridge in Plymouth, forcing the railway line that connects Cornwall and Plymouth with the rest of the country to close and causing bank holiday misery for thousands of travellers, reports Plymouth Live.
The Tesco truck was wedged tight in place for more than 24 hours before being freed on Tuesday at 3pm after structural engineers made the bridge safe.
Disruption to train services is likely to continue for the rest of the week while repairs take place, with passengers advised to check with their train operators before setting off.
Every day there are approximately five railway bridges hit by lorries, delaying thousands of passengers across the country and the annual bill for the careless driving comes in at around £20million.
It has now led to the latest plea by Network Rail for lorry drivers and haulage companies to take better care, know the height of their vehicles, choose suitable routes, and take notice of the height warning markers on railway bridges.
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Mike Gallop, Network Rail’s Western route director, said: “This is happening far too often where thousands of passengers have their plans ruined by careless driving.
“We are urging all lorry drivers and haulage companies to take better care, look out for the height warnings on all of our bridges and take a second to think before taking a risk and causing disruption to so many people’s lives.
“Those delays are compounded by the huge bill which is often picked up by the taxpayer.”
Richard Rowland, GWR’s deputy managing director added: “In the past 24 hours alone, our customers’ journeys have been delayed or cancelled by two separate incidents where lorry drivers simply haven’t taken enough care on the road.
“We will of course do all we can to keep people moving or offer alternative travel options, but these are entirely avoidable circumstances and they shouldn’t be happening so regularly.”
Disruption is expected to continue until Friday (September 3) with a limited train service being able to run over the damaged bridge and a rail replacement service operating between Exeter and Plymouth.
On CrossCountry, a rail replacement bus service remains in place between Plymouth and Tiverton Parkway, calling at these stations only.
Passengers travelling from Plymouth to Taunton, Bristol, Birmingham and the north are advised to travel on these coaches to Tiverton Parkway, where you’ll board the same train as you were originally due to board at Plymouth. These coaches depart at the same time as the train was due to leave Plymouth.
Passengers heading south west to Plymouth and beyond should change at Tiverton Parkway for the fast coach to this station and continue their journey from there by rail. The coaches towards Plymouth will depart approximately five minutes after our train arrives at Tiverton Parkway.
Tickets that were dated for travel on Monday 30 August and yesterday (Tuesday 31 August), can be used for travel today (Wednesday 1 September) or tomorrow (Thursday 2 September).
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