Train driver whose crash cost pounds 2.5m is jailed

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The Independent Online
A MAN who destroyed a railway station when he drove a goods train after drinking the equivalent of nearly a bottle of vodka was yesterday jailed for 12 months.

Graham Barnes, 36, of Dover, Kent, had admitted driving his train while drunk, endangering passengers by speeding and causing criminal damage to the train and Maidstone East station.

Barnes was at the controls of a train consisting of a locomotive with 15 wagons, loaded mostly with steel cable and chipboard, which hit the platform at Maidstone East on 6 September last year, causing pounds 2.5m damage.

The locomotive ended up on its side, with the cargo spread across a wide area, but no one was hurt.

Barnes was sacked after the crash, which disrupted rail services for days. Yesterday's hearing was told that he had drunk the equivalent of a bottle of vodka before driving the train.

Barnes said that he never went faster than 45mph, but the court was told his speed was more like 60mph. He was jailed concurrently for 12 months for endangering passengers, 12 months for criminal damage to the train, 12 months for criminal damage of the station, and three months for drink-driving.