Double decker bus hits railway bridge in Ancaster

Ancaster news. EMN-180913-113441001
Ancaster news. EMN-180913-113441001

Trains were halted after a double decker bus struck a railway bridge in Ancaster yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).

According to a Lincolnshire Police spokesman, the incident was called in by a member of the public at about 3.46pm.

The caller reported a double decker bus had struck the bridge on Ermine Street. The roof of the bus was damaged in the collision.

Rail engineers were called to assess the structural safety of the bridge and the police said there was no structural damage to the bridge, no reports of any injuries, and the road was clear by 4.02pm. It was unclear if there were any passengers on board at the time.

Train services between Sleaford and Grantham were temporarily halted but resumed at 4.25pm.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “As a safety precaution all services were halted until an engineer had examined the bridge. No structural damage was found and services resumed running over the bridge just after 4pm.”

High sided heavy lorries have regularly been involved in collisions with the bridge, including one back in April and nearby residents have repeatedly called for more to be done to prevent the vehicles from using the route to avoid further crashes.

Ancaster Parish Council’s chairman, Coun David Sayer had not been aware of this incident having only just arrived back from holiday, but commented: “A bus is of even more concern due to the possibility of injuries.

“In terms of bridge strikes we are very concerned about this, not just the amount of strikes, but the amount of near misses and lorries literally stopping at the bridge and then having to reverse into side roads to turn around.

“The signage is actually quite good and clear so we do put this down to poor drivers and also poor directions given to them by either their office or their sat navs, ideally it would be nice to either ban HGVS or fit proper height monitors to avoid this situation.”

Coun Sayer added: “The people who live close to the bridge will see near misses daily and possibly an incident every couple of weeks – this is not acceptable, but given the county council’s issues with finance and pot holes I doubt this is high on the agenda.

“The bridge is fitted with CCTV and we have asked the rail police if they prosecute drivers (which we would support) but we have had no response.”

The Network Rail spokesperson added: “We estimate that bridge strikes cost around £23million annually and we can’t stress enough how important it is that drivers know the height and width of their vehicle and pay close attention to warning signs at bridges.

“Network Rail has recently launched a campaign aimed at professional drivers and others who drive high-sided vehicles. The campaign encourages drivers to “wise up and size up” their vehicle and plan their route before they head out on their journey.”

Research carried out by Network Rail, revealed 43 per cent of lorry drivers admitted to not checking the height of their vehicle before heading out, with 52 per cent admitting to not taking low bridges into account when planning their journeys.