A BUS driver has caused thousands of pounds of damage after ripping the roof of a double decker when he drove under a bridge.

The Bluestar bus was on its way back to the company depot when its driver attempted to go under a railway bridge in Romsey.

The top of the vehicle was completely destroyed and firefighters had to rescue the driver, who was the only person inside.

Fire crews from Romsey and Redbridge were called to the Sun Arch in Romsey where the bus driver had trapped his vehicle in the entrance to the bridge late Tuesday evening.

The driver was not injured but the accident has now triggered a full company investigation.

Police were called to cordon off the area in Winchester Road until 3am and an ambulance was also sent to check the driver was not injured.

It comes after news that parts of the road near the bridge would be closed for railworks for two evenings as Network Rail carried out routine check-ups on Sun Arch and another bridge in Botley Road.

Martin Rickman from nearby The Sun Inn in Winchester Road, which is next to the railway bridge, has said it could be down to poor signage that the accident happened.

Earlier this month, Bluestar published a notification on its website saying that Winchester Road would be closed for two nights from Tuesday, May 26.

Martin said he thinks the bus followed the diversion route towards the Sun Arch instead of heading into Romsey town centre and didn’t think the bridge would be too low.

He said: “There are a few bridges that the bus would have to negotiate coming into Romsey on its normal route, so I think the driver probably just assumed he would be able to get through.

"It's so lucky that there wasn't another car behind or passengers sitting upstairs, I dread to think what could have happened.

He added: “We were in the pub when my daughter thought a train had de-railed because it was so loud. I went out to see what was going on, it was quite a dramatic scene.

“The whole roof was destroyed and the driver looked so shocked by it all, I don't think he could believe it.

“There should have been signs saying the diversion was not suitable for high vehicles, we get this happening with lorries quite a lot in Romsey so clearly something needs to be done.”

The road closures, which have now finished, meant that the Blue Star 4 service was not able to get to stops along Botley and Winchester Road and diverted via the A27 Luzborough Lane and Southampton Road.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said that they sent an engineer to the scene around midnight to survey the damage and initially trains in both directions over the bridge were cancelled.

She added that trains were running normally again by 2am and that damage to the bridge was only superficial.

Bluestar operations manager, Paul Coyne said: “Our driver attempted to take the bus under a bridge. Our engineers attended and removed the vehicle for repair and we also informed Network Rail, who have inspected the bridge for damage.

"Events like this are very rare and we are carrying out a full internal investigation to establish the exact circumstances."