Avon Valley Railway issues update on Steam Santa rides after bridge crash

The bridge was closed to rail and road traffic after a lorry hit it on Tuesday evening

Avon Valley Railway has issued an update on its Steam Santa special rides this weekend after a lorry crashed into a railway bridge - as new video emerged of the vehicle following the incident.

Police were called to the crash involving the lorry and the bridge over the A431 Bath Road on Tuesday evening. The vehicle was then seen to cause damage to cars, lampposts and the road before stopping in Oldland Common High Street.

Today (December 9), police said a 50-year-old man arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and dangerous driving had been released on unconditional bail as enquiries continue into what happened.

The crash caused cosmetic damage to the bridge, and forced the initial closure of the road and the above railway line, used by Avon Valley Railway for trains between Bitton and Avon Riverside - and there was concerned the booked-up Steam Santa special rides would not go ahead.

However, yesterday the railway group said: “You may have seen the news about a lorry hitting our bridge over the A431 road. The bridge has now been inspected and all our scheduled trains will operate as planned this weekend.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s street care team was among those to inspect the bridge following Tuesday’s crash. A spokesperson said: “Our StreetCare officers attended the site to carry out a structural assessment and found that there is no significant damage [to the railway bridge which] remains safe.”

The Steam Santa rides see families taken on a train from Bitton to Oldland Common, and then back past Bitton to Avon Riverside before returning to Bitton station. It runs this weekend, and next.

The lorry was eventually stopped in High Street (Picture credit: Chris Lacey)

The news comes as new footage has emerged of the lorry after the crash. Ella Kidby was onboard a 19 bus to Cadbury Heath visiting friends when she noticed the lorry approaching the Cherry Gardens roundabout, leaving a trail of sparks.

Ms Kidby managed to record a short video clip of the lorry speeding past the bus, which had stopped along with all other traffic to avoid being hit.

She told Bristol World: “The bus was fairly quiet, less than 20 people onboard, when I looked out the window and saw it [the lorry] at the roundabout. I grabbed my phone to record because I knew something wasn’t right. I was terrified it would hit my bus.

“It began to swerve between the cars with a load of sparks from its load dragging behind. It zoomed past and went up a hill. The bus had stopped for a few minutes, and all the other cars did too, to make sure there was no damage. The noise it made was horrible, it was like no other.”