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Bus roof ripped off after crashing into railway bridge in Portchester
Updated 4:51pm Monday 28th January 2013 in News
A bus has had its roof torn off after hitting a railway bridge in Hampshire.
The accident at Portchester Railway station this morning is the second time in five months a bus has hit the bridge.
Emergency services attended the scene and Station Road was closed.
Fire crews were called to the incident on Hill Road, in Portchester, just after 9.35am this morning.
A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the bus was empty apart from the driver as it was not in service at the time.
The 45-year-old driver has been given first aid and oxygen by firefighters at the scene.
Fire engines, three from Cosham, one from Portchester and one from Fareham, werer called to the incident.
Passenger Victoria Mullins was on a train travelling from Southampton Central to London Victoria via Portchester Station.
She said: “We slowed to a halt and the train guard advised that we were to be delayed due to 'a road vehicle striking the railway bridge'.
“We were held at Portchester Station and I could see the station guard on the phone whilst looking down towards the bus stuck under the bridge.”
She said fire engines appeared to be trying to winch the bus out.
When the train was given the all clear to proceed she said she could see that “the bus roof had been totally ripped off, revealing the upper deck seats completely”.
Police said they had been called to reports of a First double decker bus colliding with the bridge at Portchester Station, with witnesses saying it had lost its roof.
Road closures have been put in place at Station Road North at the junction of Kelvin Road and also the crossway with Station Road.
Recovery is being arranged for the vehicle.
A Network Rail spokesman said there was a reduced service on the line for around half an hour while a precautionary check was carried out but there were no concerns about the structural safety of the bridge, which carries the railway line over the road.
As a result trains between Southampton Central station and Portsmouth Harbour and Havant could be delayed by up to 30 minutes while the service resumes normally.
It comes just five months after a similar incident happened at the bridge.
In September an out-of-service First Group bus was being driven on the A27 at Portchester when it too got stuck under the bridge.
No one was hurt in the crash which which lead to the road being shut and train services suspended.
Network Rail have already carried out an inspection of the bridge and deemed it to be safe following the crash.
Rail services are now free to use the line at full speed.
A First Hampshire and Dorset spokesperson said the exact circumstances of the collision were as yet unclear but were being thoroughly investigated. "Thankfully the vehicle was not in service at the time of the incident, so while the bus has been badly damaged there were no recorded injuries as a result of the collision,” she said.
"We are as concerned by this incident as we suspect other local people will be. The exact cause of it is being investigated and the appropriate action will be taken as a result.
“It is too early to speculate as to what the outcome of the investigation will be. "In relation to the previous incident, the cause of that was determined to be human error and the appropriate action was taken as a result.
"As a company we take the safety of our staff, customers and other road users extremely seriously.
“Incidents such as this are rare and it is unusual for two similar incidents to happen in the same place."
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