Driver dies in crash on miniature railway

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The Independent Online

A miniature railway train and a car crashed at a level crossing yesterday, killing the train driver and injuring a mother and her baby.

Witnesses spoke of a loud bang as the train on The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway in Kent, with around 50 passengers on board, struck a blue Ford Escort shortly before 11.30am.

The steam engine and a carriage derailed in the collision at Burmarsh, leaving the driver trapped in the wreckage, Kent Ambulance Service said.

More than 20 firefighters worked to release the train driver, who has not been named, but he died from his injuries. The female driver of the car, which was badly damaged in the crash, and her baby were taken to hospital suffering from minor injuries.

Around 20 of the passengers on the one-third-scale tourist train suffered cuts and bruises but none required hospital treatment.

The railway was shut down after the accident pending an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive.

It was not clear how the accident happened. A spokesman for the 13-mile railway said "There are flashing lights at the crossing but there is no gate. We have had accidents on the railway before but they are few and far between.

"We have closed the whole railway while repairs are being carried out on the line, and while the investigation is on going. We hope to be open again on Tuesday."