Motorist dies in train crash

RAIL services are returning to normal tonight after an elderly man was killed when a train travelling at 100mph crashed into his car on a level crossing.The man died after the Colchester to Norwich train collided with a silver Vauxhall Astra, shunting it two miles along the track at the notorious blackspot in Swainsthorpe, Norfolk this morning.

RAIL services are returning to normal tonight after an elderly man was killed when a train travelling at 100mph crashed into his car on a level crossing.

The man died after the Colchester to Norwich train collided with a silver Vauxhall Astra, shunting it two miles along the track at the notorious blackspot in Swainsthorpe, Norfolk this morning.

Today's incident happened at 7.24am, as the first train of the day went through the crossing.

Norfolk police confirmed the driver of the car, a man who has not yet been formally identified, died at the scene but none of the 44 passengers on the train were injured.


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Supt Dave Roney of the British Transport Police said that the car had been crossing the track when the crash occurred.

He said that police were currently interviewing eye witnesses who had been driving along the road when the crash happened.

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Norfolk Police have blocked off access to the accident scene from the A140 into Swainsthorpe and neighbouring Swardeston while emergency services and police officers sift through wreckage.

'one' railway spokesman Jonathan Denby said: “The train was operating at its line speed of about 100mph and was about five or six miles south of Norwich when it struck a car on a level crossing at Swainsthorpe.

“The train stayed on the tracks and was able to stop about a mile and half beyond the crossing. Thankfully, there were no injuries to those on board.”

Coaches were called into take the train passengers to their destinations, while the line closed until around 6pm while the BTP investigations continued.

The tragedy caused long delays for commuters, with buses used to take people between Diss and Norwich, with Diss to London services reduced to hourly.

Extra trains were put on between Ipswich and Colchester to link in with commuter services to London, ticket restrictions were lifted to allow commuters to use First Capital Connect services via Cambridge and travellers to use advance purchase tickets on trains other than their booked service.

The tragedy comes just a day after the Office of Rail Regulation issued a policy statement about level crossings, saying they represent the biggest risk of train accidents that could kill passengers.

It is also five days after rail services were again under the spotlight when an elderly woman died and five passengers were seriously hurt following a train derailment in Graygigg, near Kendall in Cumbria on Saturday. The carriages from the weekend crash were due to be removed from the track this afternoon.

In November last year Jeremy Watts a former nursing assistant who was under investigation by police threw himself on to the track at Swainsthorpe crossing.

The 46-year-old from Norwich, was hit by a train travelling more than 100mph on November 25 and died as a result of his injuries.

In November 13, 2005 Darrell Sheens, 45, from Swardeston, died when his car was hit on the same unmanned level crossing.

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