A railway company has urged HGV drivers to know their vehicles’ height after 54 bridge strikes occurred along its network last year.

East Midlands Railway (EMR) said one bridge in Mansfield was struck on average once every 90 days and that the issue continued to be a significant and recurring problem.

Law firm Backhouse Jones has previously warned that nine out of 10 collisions with rail infrastructure result in a public inquiry and a driver conduct hearing.

EMR has shared a ‘top 10’ of the most struck bridges in its region, with the Debdale Lane bridge on the A6075 near Mansfield taking the dubious top spot.

It has been hit 40 times in the last 10 years.

Rothwell Road bridge in Kettering came second and the Matlock Road bridge on the A615 in South Wingfield came third.

Industry research has found that 43% of HGV drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road, and 52% said they did not take low bridges into account.

Each strike costs the UK taxpayer around £13,000 and in 2023 the top ten bridge strikes in EMR’s region led to 3,325 minutes of delays alone.

Michael Webb, EMR joint head of performance, said: “Unfortunately, bridge strikes are a constant issue that affects our network each year.

“Drivers and rail customers may experience frustration and delayed journeys, but a bridge strike has the potential to cause a train derailment with catastrophic consequences as well as loss of life or serious injury to the vehicle driver, passengers, and other people nearby.

“Those responsible for causing a bridge strike may be liable for costs associated with the incident, including the inspection and repair of the bridge and the cost of train delays, which can be considerable.”

Webb added: “We have shared the top ten most-hit bridges across our network to raise awareness but we are also urging drivers to understand fully the height of their vehicle and not take any unnecessary risks - especially if they are on roads they are not familiar with.”