A report has been released today (October 17) into a collision between a train and agricultural equipment at Kisby, Cambridgeshire, on August 19 2021.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) says the accident happened because the tractor driver did not telephone the signaller to seek permission to cross the railway line.

The RAIB says this was a consequence of the tractor driver not being briefed about the requirement to call the signaller and his belief that he could cross safely by looking for approaching trains.

In its report, the RAIB said: "This probably arose because the authorised user, the person owning land on both sides of the level crossing, was not briefing crossing users in a way which resulted in correct use of the crossing, and railway staff were unaware that this was the case until shortly before the accident."

RAIB found that Network Rail was "not effectively managing the safe use of Kisby", and some other users worked crossings with telephones, and that this was an underlying factor for the accident.

The incident happened on Thursday, August 19 2021, when the 04:10 hrs freight train service from Hams Hall (Birmingham) to Felixstowe collided with agricultural machinery being towed over the railway by a tractor at Kisby at the crossing, between Whittlesey and March.

The train was travelling at about 66 mph (106 km/h) when it struck the machinery. The train driver suffered minor injuries in the accident and the tractor driver was uninjured. The locomotive and one wagon derailed, with both suffering some damage. There was also extensive damage to the infrastructure of the railway.

The RAIB has made two recommendations, one addressed to Network Rail and one addressed to the Health and Safety Executive, as a result of its investigation.

These seek improvements in the management and assurance processes applied to user worked crossings and an additional means of communicating crossing safety information to agricultural workers.

RAIB has also written to several organisations representing farmers asking that they remind their members of the importance of following correct procedures at user worked crossings.

Dan Fisk, Network Rail’s health and safety manager for Anglia, said: “We take on board the recommendations outlined in the report.

“The crossing is a private user worked crossing, to be used only by the authorised user and any invited visitors. Since the incident, we have worked with the authorised user on the correct and safe usage of the level crossing ensuring this safe usage is passed on to any invited guests.

"We have also installed CCTV so that we can monitor the crossing usage against the signal box records. Any discrepancies will be followed up with the authorised user and further action will be taken if appropriate. Signage at the crossing will be updated as part of a national programme following the consultation which the DfT are consulting on.

"Reducing the risk at level crossings remains a top priority and we are committed to make level crossings as safe as possible for everyone.”