The most-struck railway bridges in the country have been revealed by Network Rail as it relaunches its “Wise Up, Size Up” campaign this week.

The relaunched campaign is urging lorry drivers to check the height of their vehicles and bridges on route before leaving the depot, in the hope of heading off the annual rise in bridge bashing during the surge in Black Friday and Christmas deliveries.

More than 1,600 bridge strikes occurred over the past 12 months and this year Network Rail fears bridge strikes could rise even further during the peak season as increasing numbers of newly qualified commercial drivers, taken on to tackle the HGV driver shortage, hit the roads.

As part of the relaunched campaign, Network Rail has published a list of the ten most-bashed bridges, with the Coddenham Road bridge on the B1078 in Needham Market, Suffolk taking pole position, having been struck 19 times last year.

Others on the list include St John’s Street Lichfield, Staffordshire, boasting 18 strikes over the year, Harlaxton Road bridge in Grantham, Lincolnshire, which suffered 16 strikes, Stuntney Road bridge in Ely, Cambridgeshire, which was struck 15 times and Bromford Road bridge in Dudley, West Midlands which saw 13 strikes.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “With Black Friday and Christmas fast approaching, we urge professional operators and drivers to properly plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and look out for road signs warning of oncoming bridges.

“Those who don’t are at risk of losing their driver’s and operator’s licences, and Network Rail looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver’s employer.”

Over the next four weeks, reminders to “Wise Up, Size Up” will feature on posters at motorway service stations across Britain, urging drivers to check the size of their vehicles and their routes before setting off.

Network Rail’s 4E’s initiative - education, engineering, enablement and enforcement - aims to ensure haulage companies and their drivers are provided with the knowledge and tools they need to avoid striking bridges.

As part of this ongoing initiative, Network Rail also has a team of bridge strike ‘champions’ covering each route across Britain, who raise awareness of the issue by visiting haulage companies and lead in managing bridge strike risk locally.

Most struck railway bridges in Britain 2020/21:

1. Coddenham Road Needham Market, Suffolk - 19 strikes

2. St John’s Street Lichfield, Staffordshire - 18 strikes

3. Harlaxton Road Grantham, Lincolnshire - 16 strikes

4. Stuntney Road Ely, Cambridgeshire - 15 strikes

5. Bromford Road Dudley, West Midlands - 13 strikes

6. Watling Street Hinckley, Leicestershire - 11 strikes

7. Warminster Road Wilton, Wiltshire - 11 strikes

8. Ipswich Road Manningtree, Essex - 10 strikes

9. Thames Street Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey - 10 strikes

10. Lower Downs Road Wimbledon, London - 10 strikes