News story

Partial bridge collapse, Barrow on Soar

Investigation into the partial collapse of a bridge over open lines, Barrow on Soar, Leicestershire, 1 August 2016.

At around 23:50 hrs on 1 August 2016, part of a bridge wall and footpath at Grove Lane, Barrow on Soar, collapsed and a large volume of masonry fell onto the Midland Main Line below. At the time of the collapse, drilling work was being undertaken to investigate a depression in the footpath on the south side of the bridge. The bridge was closed to the public when the collapse occurred, but the railway lines below were open to traffic. There were a number of pre-existing defects in the bridge structure which Network Rail had been monitoring for some years.

Shortly after drilling commenced to take soil samples for analysis, cracks appeared in the footpath, and then the adjacent wall, footpath and the drilling rig fell onto the railway. Workers engaged in the drilling work were able to get clear and no-one was injured.

There were no trains in the immediate vicinity at the time. However, an empty train passed less than five minutes earlier and a London to Nottingham passenger service passed less than 10 minutes earlier. Rail services through the bridge were suspended until Wednesday 3 August to allow the bridge to be made safe.

Our investigation will examine the sequence of events leading up to partial collapse of the bridge, the construction and maintenance of the bridge, its recent history, arrangements for protection of the railway during the works and any relevant management issues.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.

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