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Lorry driver blamed for collapsing bridge onto Midland Mainline

A lorry driver's failure to lower the tipper on his vehicle was blamed by Network Rail for the collapse of a footbridge which resulted in a derailment at Barrow Upon Soar on Friday morning.

At 6.32am on 1 February, the 06.13 Nottingham to Norwich service struck the collapsed footbridge in the area of Grove Lane, Barrow Upon Soar near Loughborough in Leicestershire.

The East Midlands Trains driver sustained deep lacerations to his legs and was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary hospital. The lorry driver was cut free by a fire crew on Friday morning and is currently helping police with enquiries.

Network Rail said no scheduled engineering works were taking place in that location at the time the incident occurred. It was, according to a Network Rail spokesperson speaking to NCE at the accident site, "a normal ballast delivery run in prepation for reballasting and resleepering. What we have here is an ordinary bridge bash," she said.

"It appears at this stage, although it is still under investigation, that the lorry left the site on completion of the ballast delivery and he's left his tipper up, this hit the bridge span and caused it to collapse." said the spokesperson.

It is understood that the tipper lorry involved in the incident belonged to an unnamed Network Rail subcontractor.

An emergency stop message had been sent to all trains in the area but the train, carrying six passengers, had been unable to stop and struck the footbridge.

"A banksman who had been present as part of the ballast delivery operation tried to stop the train by waving his lamp, which is normal practice in these circumstances, but the driver had not time to stop," said the spokesperson.

The issue of whether or not adequate risk assessment had been included in the method statement for this routine operation is still under investigation.

The bridge - known locally as Barrow Old Station footbridge - comprising of brick built piers and a metal lattice span, was a listed structure and part of Network Rail's estate. Network Rail confirmed that it had been subjected to routine structural checks, the most recent being in November 2007 when "no issues had been identified with it".

Both the The Rail Accident Investigation Bureau and the BTP handed the site over to Network Rail in the afternoon. Network Rail said it was confident that the site would be cleared by 4am on Saturday with a resumption of normal service from that time.

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