Overturned lorry damages bridge and stops trains at Castle Cary

A lorry overturned on the A371 bridge in Castle Cary just after 09:00 on 13 August 2019.

A bridge strike with a difference closed both a road and the railway at Castle Cary in Somerset.

Normally, a bridge strike involves a tall vehicle, often a lorry, trying to pass under a bridge which is too low for it. The resulting impact will certainly damage the lorry but can also move the bridge, disrupting rail traffic.

However, in this case the lorry was passing along the A371, over the railway.  For some reason, as yet unexplained, it turned over onto the bridge parapet, dislodging brickwork onto the railway below and leaving the driver suspended in his cab hanging over the tracks.

The fire brigade was called. Fire engines from Castle Cary and from Wincanton, and a rescue tender from Glastonbury, were soon on the scene. Network Rail was notified, to stop trains running on the line to Weymouth and Westbury.

It took some time to extract the driver safely. The Fire Brigade’s urban search and rescue team, an additional rescue tender from Yeovil, an aerial platform Ladder from Yeovil and an incident command support unit from Street all arrived on site.

The incident was reported at 09:19, but it wasn’t until 14:00 that the driver was safely released and conveyed to hospital. One fire appliance from Glastonbury remained on site until a crane arrived to remove the lorry.  Network Rail then still had to clean up the fallen masonry and reopen the line.

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