Essex: Calls for action on safety after latest Manningtree bridge smash

A DRAMATIC crash at a notorious railway crossing has prompted fresh calls for action before someone is killed.

The top half of a double decker bus was ripped off when it ploughed into a bridge near Manningtree train station.

Carlo Guglielmi, a parish and district councillor for Lawford, expressed relief the Carters bus was empty when it crashed around 9am yesterday.

Councillor Guglielmi said: “It’s a cliche but thank God we have not had a fatality there. But if we keep having accidents something sinister is likely to happen in the near future.

“I do call on the three agencies - Highways, Essex County Council and Network Rail - to discuss this problem once and for all.

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He said there had been around six serious accidents a year at the bridge over the last three decades and that better signposting would make the area safer.

“This is something the parish council has been pursuing on and on,” he added. “A solution could not come soon enough.”

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The A137 was closed near the bridge for around five hours while the scene was cleared.

Trains initially slowed to cross the bridge while structural engineers were scrambled to assess the damage. But they returned to normal speed after it was deemed safe to use.

Councillor Lee Lay-Flurrie, mayor of Manningtree, joined calls to improve safety at the bridge.

“We have known for years there’s something wrong with the crossing,” she said. “It’s always been such a nightmare there.

“I find it amazing that a double decker bus would even try to get under there.

“It’s very important that something is done and I’m sure Lawford Parish Council would agree. But there’s a limit about how you can change it unless you spend vast sums of money.

“I’m pleased no-one was hurt and I feel sorry for the driver, he must be feeling awful.”

Drivers approaching the area from Suffolk are faced with the choice of using a bridge to cross the railway line or turn off and use a height-restricted bridge underneath the tracks.

Yesterday’s smash comes more than a year-and-a-half after a single-decker coach hit the bridge, injuring 11 of its 40 passengers.

The EADT contacted Carters but they declined to comment.

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