Action urged to stop lorries colliding with bridges and delaying rail journeys, says MP

MP Steve Barclay.

MP Steve Barclay. - Credit: Archant

The rail minister has taken a rare step of blasting Network Rail who have not replied to concerns from MP Steve Barclay about lorries colliding with bridges on the Cambridge to London route causing delays for local commuters.

Mr Barclay has been campaigning to get action from Network Rail after a series of rail journey delays from lorry drivers who misjudge bridge heights on the line between Cambridge and London.

Mr Barclay first raised concerns in Parliament with a question in October 2014.

Despite repeatedly pursuing the issue, Network Rail have refused to explain to Mr Barclay their lack of action, triggering the unprecedented rebuke from the Minister.

Mr Barclay said: “Like many local residents I was travelling on the train to London one Monday morning when we were delayed because a lorry had misjudged the height of the bridge and hit its roof on the bridge at Hitchin.

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“Whilst no damage had been done the train had to wait until a site inspection had been carried out. The following week exactly the same thing happened again and as we waited for the inspection of the bridge to be carried out I got chatting to the ticket collector, who told me how frequently such incidents occurred. “He explained that planning permission had been refused for a barrier similar to those at the entrance of car parks to go in front of the bridge at Hitchin and several other bridges which frequently have such incidents.

“As a result lorries and vans often misjudge the height of the bridge, causing delays to the train. It struck me that this is exactly the sort of practical issue that I have been elected to Parliament to resolve, which is why I raised it with Department for Transport ministers, then with the Department’s special advisor, then in written Parliamentary Questions and then with a series of phonecalls and emails to Network Rail.”

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An answer has been promised by February 13.

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