Driver seriously injured on remote level crossing as train ploughs into him - Network Rail says users required to call signal box for permission to cross
- Credit: Terry Harris / i-Images
A man was airlifted to hospital today with head injuries after a train ploughed into his Land Rover on an unmanned level crossing sending his vehicle hurtling into a ditch.
More than 100 passengers on board the Great Northern service heading out of Ely to Cambridge escaped unhurt but the incident resulted in many services being disrupted or cancelled.
Replacement buses ferried passengers from Cambridge to their Fens destinations as investigators tried to find out how it had happened.
The remote crossing at Stretham – four miles from Ely station- is used by only a handful of vehicles daily.
Network Rail spokesman Ross Easton said: “This type of level crossing is typically used by fewer than 10 vehicles per day and requires users to telephone a signal box for permission to cross.”
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The injured man was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and although first reports from the ambulance service described his injuries as “life-threatening”, British Transport Police later said they were “not believed to be life threatening”.
East of England Ambulance Service said the man, thought to be in his 40s, required critical care at the scene for his injuries and was flown to Addenbrooke’s for further care.
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An ambulance, three ambulance officers, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and its hazardous area response team (HART) were dispatched to the scene.
The train was badly damaged and all 115 passengers were given water by train staff and later transferred to another train.
One woman passenger told local Facebook group ‘Spotted in Ely’: “There was a loud metal bang and then a lot of debris hitting the side of the train and underneath.
“I was concerned for my children and the thought that some debris might break the window but it was all over very quickly. The train braked very smoothly and came to a stop. Everyone was calm.
“Two or three people got up straight away and asked if everyone was okay and headed to the front of the train to continue to check everyone was okay and check on the driver.”
She added: “The staff were excellent and could not do enough to help. Especially the driver who was totally concerned for his passengers and he personally spoke to everyone to update them.”
“There were a lot of families on board but everyone remained calm and helped each other.”
British Transport Police said the train was damaged in the incident that happened at Nairns level crossing near Stetham just after 2.30pm.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust was called at 2.34pm, and sent an ambulance, three ambulance officers, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and its hazardous area response team to the scene.
First indications of the incident came after a passenger on board the train tweeted that a train had struck a car.
Abellio Great Anglia cancelled all services between Ely and Cambridge have been cancelled due to an ‘incident.’
Routes affected included Abellio Greater Anglia trains between Norwich and Cambridge and Cross Country between Birmingham New Street and London Kings Cross.
Also affected was the Great Northern service between Kings Lynn and Kings Cross.
Buses, operated by Great Northern, were used throughout the rest of the day and into the evening between Ely and Cambridge