Recycling lorry smashes into low railway bridge in Whitechapel

Crunch... lorry hits Liverpool Street main line railway bridge at Collingwood Street, Whitechapel. P

Crunch... lorry hits Liverpool Street main line railway bridge at Collingwood Street, Whitechapel. Picture: JOHN DOUCE - Credit: John Douce

An investigation is underway after a recycling lorry crashed into a low railway bridge between Whitechapel and Bethnal Green causing main line rail services to he halted for two hours.

Crunch... lorry hits Liverpool Street main line railway bridge at Collingwood Street, Whitechapel. P

Crunch... lorry hits Liverpool Street main line railway bridge at Collingwood Street, Whitechapel. Picture: JOHN DOUCE - Credit: John Douce

The vehicle hit the low overhead brick arch of the main Liverpool Street line bridge over Collingwood Street at 3pm yesterday.

These incredible pictures of the collision were taken by East London Advertiser reader John Douce.

“I heard a bang like a vehicle collision,” he said. “No one was injured, but the driver looked a bit shocked.

“The vehicle was only caught because it was at the side—I think the truck would have got through had it been in the centre of the arch.”

Crunch... lorry hits Liverpool Street main line railway bridge at Collingwood Street, Whitechapel. P

Crunch... lorry hits Liverpool Street main line railway bridge at Collingwood Street, Whitechapel. Picture: JOHN DOUCE - Credit: John Douce


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His pictures show the cage lorry filled to the brim with recycling waste wedged firmly 6ft into the arch.

The lorry scraped along the roof and tipped up on its end while heading southward towards Whitechapel.

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Traffic was still able to get through under the bridge with one lane left clear, until police closed the road off.

Entrance to the bridge at both ends is marked with yellow and black paintwork and warning signs indicating the height of the arch at just 11ft 6ins in the middle. But the arch is much lower at the sides.

The ageing bridge is one of the historic Braithwaite-designed brick arches on the viaduct heading into the original Bishopsgate terminal built in 1861 for the Eastern Counties Railway.

It shows signs of several scrapes from lorry traffic ove,r the years and now has florescent street lighting along the walls day and night because of the long, dark ‘tunnel’ effect of the bridge that carries the main line East Anglia line above alongside local rail services to Gidea Park, Chingford and Enfield.

The vehicle belongs to Paper Round private recycling contractors. Train services resumed after two hours.

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