Driver dies in rail crossing crash


An investigation has started after a level crossing accident today in which a car driver was killed.

The man's vehicle was hit by a London-bound First Capital Connect (FCC) train at the Pleasants level crossing between Downham Market and Littleport in Norfolk at about 1.15pm.

None of the estimated 60 passengers on the train, which had left King's Lynn in Norfolk at 12.56pm, were hurt and the train was not derailed.

British Transport Police (BTP) and fire services attended and the car driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Officers are currently working to establish the full circumstances including how the car came to be on the tracks," a BTP spokeswoman said.

The Office of Rail Regulation said it would be investigating.

Network Rail (NR) said the crossing was a "user-worked" type, with the user being responsible for opening and closing the gate.

An NR spokesman went on: "Those using the crossing get red and green signals to guide them. The crossing goes across a private road in farmland and serves a few houses.

"It has a number of registered users and other members of the public are not allowed to use it."

The train was slightly damaged in the incident, coming to a halt just down the track. The passengers were taken on to their destinations by bus.

There were no FCC services between Ely and King's Lynn running following the incident but the main London to Cambridge line was operating normally.

BTP said the dead man had been driving a Kia Sportage 4x4 vehicle and that his family had been informed.

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said later: "Level crossing fatalities are the biggest killer on our rail network. Road and rail just do not mix in a fast-moving transport system with trains moving at up to 90mph.

"The sooner Network Rail starts to close these potential dangerous crossings, the better it will be for both rail passengers and road users."