Miraculous escape in rail smash drama

A driver miraculously escaped serious injury when his car crashed through security fencing before colliding with a moving freight train.

IPSWICH: A driver miraculously escaped serious injury when his car crashed through security fencing before colliding with a moving freight train.

The drama unfolded after a green Vauxhall Vectra clipped the kerb at the corner of Lindbergh Road and Cobham Road, ploughing through trees and striking the train, which was carrying chemicals.

Incredibly, the car's driver, a 36-year-old man from Ipswich, escaped from the wreckage of the car with only slight leg injuries.

Police said he walked away from the scene but was arrested in nearby Queen's Way on suspicion of theft of a car, failure to report an accident and failure to provide a specimen of breath.

He was questioned by detectives at Ipswich police station and has since been bailed until January 12.

The freight train partially derailed after yesterday lunchtime's crash on the approach to the Derby Road station but all the wagons remained upright.

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Chief Inspector Rob Noddings of British Transport Police said: “This is an incredibly lucky individual.

“The car is spectacularly damaged.”

The front of the car was completely crushed in the collision and wreckage scattered the tracks.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said paramedics were called to the scene to treat a passenger in the car, who declined hospital treatment.

Chief Insp Noddings said: “Potentially this was a very serious accident. In this case, the outcome wasn't as serious as it could have been.”

Residents watched as police closed the two roads as scenes of officers combed the scene for forensic evidence.

Mary Salter, who lives opposite the scene of the crash in Lindbergh Road, said: “I heard this great big bang and I heard a train going by.

“That must have been when they collided.”

The train was thought to be heading from Felixstowe to Ditton. All services on the line were suspended for several hours.

A spokesman for National Express said replacement buses ferried passengers to their destinations while the clear-up operation took place.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the green Vauxhall Vectra prior to the incident.

Those with information should call Pc Paul Fletcher at the Police HQ Roads Policing Unit on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Did you witness the drama? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Former rail dramas:

A goods train caused devastation when it derailed on a bridge over the Rover Ouse near Ely in July 2007.

Some of the train's 11 wagons left the tracks along the Bury St Edmunds to Ely line, causing months of commuter chaos as the wreck was recovered.

The line was closed for months for a road to be specially built to access the crash site over the nearby marshes.

The driver of an articulated lorry had a near miss when his truck ended up in the path of a freight train between Ardleigh and Lawford in July 2002.

The lorry had careered out of control in wet conditions and hit a bridge owned by Railtrack, before landing on the tracks.

The driver escaped from his cab just seconds before the wreck was hit by an oncoming train and carried down the line for more than half-a-mile.