Damage bill on way to driver who crashed truck into bridge

THE driver of the truck which struck a rail bridge and bent the line at Nambour can expect the damage bill in the "hundreds of thousands of dollars".

Queensland Rail executive general manager Tim Ripper said the department would pursue the driver responsible for the cost of the damage to rail infrastructure following the incident on Price St on Friday.

Meanwhile, a support group for rail and public transport is calling for proper protection for the bridge to ensure any future incidents were not as damaging.

Passenger and freight train services were severely disrupted on Friday after a cherry picker struck the rail bridge.

The impact of the bridge strike was so significant that it bent the rail line up to 30cm above the normal height and damaged a girder on the side of the bridge.

Repair efforts continued well into the night as a crane was brought in to lower the bridge to the road below so a team of 15 construction workers and engineers could repair the damage.

Services resumed about 3.40am on Saturday.

Mr Ripper said in addition to the damage bill, the driver also faced a fine of up to $8800.

"These things aren't cheap," he said.

"These bridge strikes are extremely frustrating for us.

"We urge road users to be extra careful around railway lines, be it level crossings or low-level bridges.

"Any impact on these structures does impact on our ability to meet customer needs."

RAIL Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow said the incident was a wake-up call for proper protection beams to be added to the bridge.

"It was extremely fortunate that trains in the area were immediately stopped. It is highly probable that a train at normal speed would have derailed, such was the damage to the bridge," Mr Dow said.

"The rail bridge at Palmwoods is protected by sturdy beams.

"These beams have already saved the actual bridge from being struck a number of times.

"Clearly, the Price St rail bridge needs similar protection.

"The north coast rail line is very important as a major freight corridor, and for passenger services. Well done Queensland Rail for the rapid recovery of the bridge."

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