Union calls for end to level crossings after fatality
One person died yesterday after a train travelling from Exeter to Paddington hit a car on a level crossing.
The incident happened on the crossing near Athelney in Somerset, which is on the line between Taunton and Castle Cary.
British Transport Police said there were no reports of any passengers on the train being injured in the crash.
The incident caused disruption to rail services, and operator First Great Western was using a limited bus replacement service between Taunton and Westbury.
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A spokesman for British Transport Police said: "The train has not been derailed and there are no reports of any injuries to anyone on board.
The car, virtually unrecognisable as a vehicle, was lifted onto a railway low loader and moved yesterday afternoon. Earlier it had been trapped under the front of the train and all rail services were halted.
A BTP spokesman said: "There was one person in the car who has been pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation is under way to establish the full circumstances leading up to the incident."
Witnesses said the barriers at the level crossing were lowered when the car drove on to the track.
A spokesman for Network Rail said there were 45 people on board – 37 passengers and eight train crew. RMT transport union general secretary Bob Crow said: "This latest, shocking fatality will once again shine the spotlight on safety issues at level crossings. RMT has been campaigning for many years to speed up the phasing-out of level crossings which are a 19th century solution in an age of high-speed railways.
"Wherever road and track come together... it is a lethal combination and the time has come to get serious about addressing this issue – cost should not override safety."