Investigations continue after three die at rail crossing
Rail investigators were today examining the scene where three elderly people died when a train smashed into their car on a rural crossing.
None of the 18 passengers and four crew on the Inverness to Wick train were hurt in the crash at the crossing in the village of Halkirk, Caithness, yesterday afternoon.
The crossing is unmanned and has warning lights but no barriers.
The occupants of the Nissan Almera are believed to include an elderly couple from the Inverness area.
British Transport Police (BTP) said the car's wreckage had been removed from the site but the two-carriage train was still there.
The investigation is being led by BTP and Northern Constabulary.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) have also launched an investigation with a team of two people at the scene today.
Network Rail said last night there was no indication that the crossing was not functioning correctly when the crash happened.
Highland Council councillor David Flear, who lives in Halkirk, said: "We are very tight-knit here.
"This is something on our doorstep that affects us all.
"Three people losing their lives is a tragedy."
Speaking about the scene today, Mr Flear said: "There's a lot of transport police activity at the area. The crossing is still blocked off and the road is closed. There are also people from Network Rail at the site. The car has been removed.
"The community is still slightly stunned. They are waiting to see with bated breath if it's someone local. There is concern about that."
Politicians said the community would need assurances that there could be no repeat of the crash.
Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "Public confidence in these rural crossings is paramount and we need to find out what happened and why as soon as possible.
"We also need to make sure that any chance of this happening is reduced to the minimum."
Peter Peacock, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said: "Clearly there will have to be a full inquiry to find out what happened to make sure there can no repeat of this awful event."
Highlands and Islands SNP MSPs Rob Gibson and Dave Thompson said in a statement: "The rail safety inspectorate needs to work as speedily as possible to allay fears about these rail crossings in the network, and the Office of Rail Regulation must move forward quickly with its investigation of safety at rail crossings across the country."
Sarah Jappy, 32, was seriously injured in an accident at Halkirk level crossing in October 2002.
She was pregnant at the time and her baby survived the crash.
Ms Jappy is pursuing action against Network Rail at the Court of Session and the final hearing is set for next year.
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 2 Fifa corruption arrests: Nike reported to be 'multinational sportswear company' at centre of bribery claims over Brazil shirt deal
- 3 Facebook Messenger sends 'creepily' precise location data, as revealed by Marauders Map Chrome extension
- 4 Bahar Mustafa: Goldsmiths Students' Union diversity officer to keep her job after vote of no confidence petition fails
- 5 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
Hopes raised for treatment of severe amnesia after scientists retrieve lost memory – using light
Playboy model April Summers speaks out about being a victim of a voyeuristic sex crime
Poorest part of London is wealthier than the richest parts of Northern Ireland and Wales
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
How to live to be really old
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading Solar P...
£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is changing the way at...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an ...