Shuttle bus service replaces trains

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A SHUTTLE bus service has been put on for rail passengers struggling to reach their destinations as a result of a fire engine crashing into a bridge.

Network Rail has had to close the line at Middlesbrough in both directions after the Cleveland Fire Brigade fire engine smashed into the underneath of the Boundary Road Bridge, near to the Zetland car park, in Middlesbrough.

And as engineers assess the damage to the bridge and the railway line, train company Northern Rail has put on buses for passengers.

Alternative arrangements include:

• Return shuttle buses in both directions from Middlesbrough to Thornaby at 4.50pm, 5.50pm and 7.50pm, as the Newcastle via Sunderland and Hartlepool train service is running in both directions as far south as Thornaby;

• Replacement transport from Darlington stations to Middlesbrough at half past the hour and 55 minutes past the hour;

• Middlesbrough stations to Darlington at 25 past and 55 past the hour.

Northern Rail say trains services from Middlesbrough to Saltburn and Middlesbrough to Whitby are unaffected.

The collision happened when the fire crew was travelling along Boundary Road, in Middlesbrough, when a pump on the top of the engine smashed into the bridge as it tried to travel underneath it at 11.07am today.

One firefighter was taken to hospital suffering from a broken collar bone but has since been released.

The force of the collision has caused damage to the bridge and Network Rail is currently waiting for engineers to attend the scene to assess whether or not the bridge and the line is safe for trains to pass.

Until that time a spokeswoman for Network Rail said it is trying to do its best to assess the situation.

She said: “A fire engine has driven into the Boundary Road Bridge, in Middlesbrough, so we have had to close the line because the bridge is damaged.

“As there is damage we need a qualified bridge and track engineer to take a look at it before we can services running again.

“We are still responding to the incident but Network Rail, Northern Rail and Trans Pennine will do all we can to get people where they need to be as soon as we can.

“This will affect passengers travelling to and from and through Hartlepool.”

Les Jones, head of community safety at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “At about 11.07am a Cleveland Fire Brigade fire engine struck a road under rail bridge on Boundary Road to the east of Middlesbrough Train Station.

“The appliance was on its return journey to Middlesbrough Fire Station from an incident at North Tees Hospital. One firefighter sustained a fractured collarbone and was taken to hospital but has now been released.

“We have started an internal health and safety investigation into the incident and we will be able to provide more details as soon as the investigation is completed.”

Grand Central services are not affected.

Any passengers needing information about possible alternative transport arrangements should contact National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950.

Keep logging onto the Mail website for further updates.