Train crashes into level crossing gates

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The Independent Online

A passenger train carrying schoolchildren was involved in a level crossing accident today, just nine days after the automatic-barriers tragedy in Berkshire which claimed seven lives.

A passenger train carrying schoolchildren was involved in a level crossing accident today, just nine days after the automatic-barriers tragedy in Berkshire which claimed seven lives.

Today's incident involved the 8.04am Lincoln Central to Peterborough service operated by Central Trains.

It hit the gates of a manned level crossing at Rowston, near Sleaford in Lincolnshire, at around 8.30am.

Paramedics confirmed that one person was airlifted to Lincoln County Hospital, but said no other passengers required treatment.

"We believe that the passenger had only minor injuries. It was very lucky that no-one else was hurt," said a Lincolnshire Ambulance Service spokeswoman.

She went on: "Ambulance crews didn't treat anyone else at the scene, not even for cuts and bruises."

She said paramedics had now left the scene.

Network Rail (NR) said the crossing has wooden-hinged gates that the crossing keeper moves when trains are coming.

An NR spokeswoman added: "The train was not derailed and remains on the track. We have engineers and investigators on their way to the scene."

Gated crossings are common on rural lines such as those in Lincolnshire and can be automatic or operated manually by a crossing keeper.

One theory that investigators will want to look at is that the train might have had track-adhesion problems due to wet and leafy conditions.

In recent weeks, state-of-the-art tilting Pendolino trains on the West Coast Main Line have twice hit the buffers at Liverpool Lime Street station and twice gone through signals at danger because of poor track conditions.

Today's incident will increase pressure on the rail industry to review level crossing procedures and equipment.

The UK has an excellent level crossing safety record, with fewer than one tenth of the incidents of some European countries.

Last week's Berkshire accident was the first in which a train passenger died in a level crossing accident since the serious Lockington crash in Yorkshire in 1986, in which nine lives were lost.

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