Roof ripped off as double-decker bus crashes into Norbiton railway bridge in Coombe Road

Crash: Emergency workers investigate what remains of the bus

Crash: Emergency workers investigate what remains of the bus

First published in News
Last updated
Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A double-decker bus has crashed into a railway bridge in Norbiton after taking a wrong turn.

The roof of the out-of-service 131 bus sheared off after the crash in Coombe Road.

Witness Carl Kember said he heard an "enormous crash" as the bus struck the bridge.

He said: "I was on the top of the steps [near the bridge]. I'm still shaking.

"I thought it was going to tip over. The bus tipped over to the right hand side. It would have been about 30 degrees."

Financial adviser Alex Whitman saw the aftermath of the crash.

He said: "There was nobody on the bus because it was out of service.

"He's parked at a bus stop. It's about 300 yards down the road from the bridge."

A London Ambulance spokeswoman said paramedics were called but found no casualties.

Coombe Road is blocked, with diversions in place, Kingston Council said.

Mike Weston, Transport for London director of buses, said: "At around 13:00 an out of service route 131 double deck bus, operated by London United, hit a rail bridge on Coombe Road near Norbiton Station after taking a wrong turn.

"The bridge was not damaged and rail services are unaffected.  There were no injuries and the incident will be fully investigated."

Other crashes at the same bridge include:

October 2005: Five passengers sustained minor injuries when a rail replacement bus crashed. A few weeks prior an out-of-service 57 bus suffered the same fate.

March 2007: Trains and cars were delayed after a German lorry struck the bridge. 

October 2007: A double-decker bus hit the bridge, but no one was injured.

Did you see what happened? Call the newsdesk on 020 8744 4273 or email jon.sharman@london.newsquest.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (11)

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2:59pm Mon 23 Dec 13

SteveC1964 says...

Are the trains still running?
Are the trains still running? SteveC1964
  • Score: 3

7:47pm Mon 23 Dec 13

chriswp says...

Trust the Fire Service to try and get a free ride, and on the top deck.

Merry Christmas to all our emergency services. Thanks.
Trust the Fire Service to try and get a free ride, and on the top deck. Merry Christmas to all our emergency services. Thanks. chriswp
  • Score: -4

9:36pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Another bus for transfer to Yellow Buses in Bournemouth as an open topper for the summer season 2014. RATP (London United) own Yellow buses.
Another bus for transfer to Yellow Buses in Bournemouth as an open topper for the summer season 2014. RATP (London United) own Yellow buses. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 4

10:22pm Mon 23 Dec 13

SteveC1964 says...

The trains services were suspended in May 2012 too when the bridge was hit by a truck. I'm guessing that the police won't be prosecuting the bus driver for negligence or dangerous driving - though there isn't a good reason why they shouldn't. How much training has the driver had? Had an eyesight test recently? He or she could be back behind the wheel of a bus or a truck soon. Watch out for the 'professional driver'.
The trains services were suspended in May 2012 too when the bridge was hit by a truck. I'm guessing that the police won't be prosecuting the bus driver for negligence or dangerous driving - though there isn't a good reason why they shouldn't. How much training has the driver had? Had an eyesight test recently? He or she could be back behind the wheel of a bus or a truck soon. Watch out for the 'professional driver'. SteveC1964
  • Score: 2

11:41pm Mon 23 Dec 13

chriswp says...

In the past a driver who drove a double decker under a low bridge with the same effect was off down the job centre.
In the past a driver who drove a double decker under a low bridge with the same effect was off down the job centre. chriswp
  • Score: 3

7:50am Tue 24 Dec 13

comnut says...

I think I saw this bus on a 'low loader' going past Twickenham green! (towards Fulwell bus garage ) can anyone confirm, as it seems a bit far away from Norbiton!!!!
I think I saw this bus on a 'low loader' going past Twickenham green! (towards Fulwell bus garage ) can anyone confirm, as it seems a bit far away from Norbiton!!!! comnut
  • Score: 0

10:25am Tue 24 Dec 13

kingstonpaul says...

Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.
Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident. kingstonpaul
  • Score: 1

9:56am Fri 27 Dec 13

alphabeti says...

kingstonpaul wrote:
Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.
There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.
[quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.[/p][/quote]There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle. alphabeti
  • Score: 1

11:54am Fri 27 Dec 13

kingstonpaul says...

alphabeti wrote:
kingstonpaul wrote:
Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.
There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.
Sure, you would have thought so, but our brains are conditioned by repeat behaviours and situations we're familiar with. While abnormal patterns/events (like an unfamiliar route made worse by a low bridge) fail to be recognised and responded to. You can stick up as many signs as you want, but the brain doesn't always respond.
Unfortunately a lot of people who design road layouts and signage simply don't understand the workings of the brain. My suggestion would be that the three signs that are currently strung on the bridge should be of the flashing variety, so that they engage more strongly.
[quote][p][bold]alphabeti[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.[/p][/quote]There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.[/p][/quote]Sure, you would have thought so, but our brains are conditioned by repeat behaviours and situations we're familiar with. While abnormal patterns/events (like an unfamiliar route made worse by a low bridge) fail to be recognised and responded to. You can stick up as many signs as you want, but the brain doesn't always respond. Unfortunately a lot of people who design road layouts and signage simply don't understand the workings of the brain. My suggestion would be that the three signs that are currently strung on the bridge should be of the flashing variety, so that they engage more strongly. kingstonpaul
  • Score: -1

2:56pm Fri 27 Dec 13

alphabeti says...

kingstonpaul wrote:
alphabeti wrote:
kingstonpaul wrote:
Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.
There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.
Sure, you would have thought so, but our brains are conditioned by repeat behaviours and situations we're familiar with. While abnormal patterns/events (like an unfamiliar route made worse by a low bridge) fail to be recognised and responded to. You can stick up as many signs as you want, but the brain doesn't always respond.
Unfortunately a lot of people who design road layouts and signage simply don't understand the workings of the brain. My suggestion would be that the three signs that are currently strung on the bridge should be of the flashing variety, so that they engage more strongly.
Perhaps the easiest way to avoid this would be to ban off-route buses from using particular roads. Why not just require all buses to use an approved route between the bus garage and start / end of their allocated route. That way you make sure drivers are familiar with the journey and don't have to worry about any unexpectedly low bridges.
[quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]alphabeti[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.[/p][/quote]There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.[/p][/quote]Sure, you would have thought so, but our brains are conditioned by repeat behaviours and situations we're familiar with. While abnormal patterns/events (like an unfamiliar route made worse by a low bridge) fail to be recognised and responded to. You can stick up as many signs as you want, but the brain doesn't always respond. Unfortunately a lot of people who design road layouts and signage simply don't understand the workings of the brain. My suggestion would be that the three signs that are currently strung on the bridge should be of the flashing variety, so that they engage more strongly.[/p][/quote]Perhaps the easiest way to avoid this would be to ban off-route buses from using particular roads. Why not just require all buses to use an approved route between the bus garage and start / end of their allocated route. That way you make sure drivers are familiar with the journey and don't have to worry about any unexpectedly low bridges. alphabeti
  • Score: 0

9:16pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Andrew-R says...

kingstonpaul wrote:
alphabeti wrote:
kingstonpaul wrote:
Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.
There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.
Sure, you would have thought so, but our brains are conditioned by repeat behaviours and situations we're familiar with. While abnormal patterns/events (like an unfamiliar route made worse by a low bridge) fail to be recognised and responded to. You can stick up as many signs as you want, but the brain doesn't always respond.
Unfortunately a lot of people who design road layouts and signage simply don't understand the workings of the brain. My suggestion would be that the three signs that are currently strung on the bridge should be of the flashing variety, so that they engage more strongly.
Drivers outside their local area are the people that signs should be designed for, as they should be paying attention to warnings where they are unfamiliar. Unfortunately, too many drivers delegate their own responsibly to a Sat-Nav device or something other than their own eyes and brain.
Any professional "skilled" driver has absolutely no excuse whatsoever for this sort of error. Familiarity breeds contempt, but they should plan their journey properly using their experience or face the consequences of losing that livelihood.
This sort of incident costs us taxpayers a fortune - the police, the railways (the consequential delays), the bus company, the insurers. One negligent act costs us all.
[quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]alphabeti[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: Having lived close to this bridge for the last twenty years, sooner or later there will be serious injuries and/or loss of life as a result of this kind of incident. Surely it is not beyond the wit of mankind to devise a warning system that tells HGV and bus drivers in advance if their vehicle is too high. This bridge is an undoubted hazard, and and it's too easy blaming drivers for this kind of incident.[/p][/quote]There are big signs next to the bridge warning of clearance. Surely a 'professional' driver should be aware of something as rudimentary as the dimensions of their vehicle.[/p][/quote]Sure, you would have thought so, but our brains are conditioned by repeat behaviours and situations we're familiar with. While abnormal patterns/events (like an unfamiliar route made worse by a low bridge) fail to be recognised and responded to. You can stick up as many signs as you want, but the brain doesn't always respond. Unfortunately a lot of people who design road layouts and signage simply don't understand the workings of the brain. My suggestion would be that the three signs that are currently strung on the bridge should be of the flashing variety, so that they engage more strongly.[/p][/quote]Drivers outside their local area are the people that signs should be designed for, as they should be paying attention to warnings where they are unfamiliar. Unfortunately, too many drivers delegate their own responsibly to a Sat-Nav device or something other than their own eyes and brain. Any professional "skilled" driver has absolutely no excuse whatsoever for this sort of error. Familiarity breeds contempt, but they should plan their journey properly using their experience or face the consequences of losing that livelihood. This sort of incident costs us taxpayers a fortune - the police, the railways (the consequential delays), the bus company, the insurers. One negligent act costs us all. Andrew-R
  • Score: 1

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