Train hits agricultural machinery at 106 km/h

A train traveling at 66mph crashed into farm machinery because a tractor was driven over a level crossing without permission, an inquest has found.

The train driver suffered minor injuries and damage was done to the train and 780 yards of track due to the collision in Cambridgeshire at 9am on August 19 last year, according to a report from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

The accident at the Kisby level crossing between Whittlesey and March involved a freight train operated by GB Railfreight carrying containers to the port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, and agricultural machinery being towed by a tractor.

When the train driver realized that the tractor was about to cross the tracks, he activated the emergency brake.

He then left his seat intending to take refuge in a hallway but when the accident occurred he was still in the back of the driver’s cab and was showered with debris as the windows of the locomotive were broken.

The locomotive and a wagon derailed.

The machine was destroyed but the driver of the tractor was not injured.

Network Rail had previously placed Kisby in one of its highest risk categories due to frequent use and glare from the sun.

Crossing users are required to telephone a railway flagman who will grant permission to cross if there is sufficient time depending on the location of approaching trains.

The RAIB said the crash happened because the tractor driver had not been briefed on the procedure by his employer and believed he was safe to cross while looking for trains.

Investigators found that Network Rail “did not effectively manage the safe use of Kisby”.

He made safety recommendations to the public company and the Health and Safety Executive and wrote to several organizations representing farmers asking them to remind their members of the importance of crossing procedures.

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