Kildary Bridge Bash
The bridge at Kildary, four miles south of Tain, was "severely damaged" when it was struck by a lorry which was travelling along Balnagowan Road.
A Network Rail spokesman said: "The bridge was hit by a heavy goods vehicle carrying two containers, one of which went into the road, which shows how hard the lorry hit the bridge. "The bridge has been shunted 1 foot vertically and 1 foot horizontally, so it has effectively been knocked up in the air and pushed sideways. A 60 foot section of track has also been buckled."
The spokesman said: "Because of the damage, the early estimate is that the line between Invergordon and Tain could be closed for two to three days."
The lorry involved in the collision was a vehicle from Port Services, a company providing logistical support for the oil industry, which has bases in Aberdeen, Invergordon and Scrabster.
The previous time this bridge was struck was on Saturday 16th December 1995 and was reported in the Newsletter for January 1996. The line was cleared for use after 60 hours of work which saw the deck craned off, the masonry repaired and the track re-instated by the Rogart PWay team. The urgency was heightened by the fact that a Transrail freight train carrying Caithness flagstone to Belfast was stranded at Tain. Committee member and former signal man Iain MacDonald, who in April 1987 received an award recognising his 35 years' railway service, had this to say, "Let's hope Network Rail fare better this time than on a previous occasion. I was on duty at the signalling desk one Saturday afternoon when this bridge was struck with much the same results as this time. The train due to cross was a freight with some special stone, so it landed in the Tain sidings for the best part of a week having missed all its booked workings, that was our first and last load of that contract."