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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 22:30 GMT
Seven train crash dead are named
Anjanette Rossi and Louella Main
Anjanette Rossi and her daughter Louella Main were among the dead
All seven people killed when a train ploughed into a car parked on a level crossing have been named by police.

Train driver Stanley Martin, 54, from Torquay, Anjanette Rossi, 38, and her daughter Louella Main, 9, were among those killed in Berkshire on Saturday.

Police are investigating whether the car driver, Brian Drysdale, 48, from Reading, intended to commit suicide or whether he broke down on the tracks.

Cranes will begin lifting the carriages off the tracks on Monday night.

Police have confirmed an off-duty policeman saw the car drive onto the crossing while the barriers were up, then saw them close with the vehicle still on the track.

LEVEL CROSSINGS
Berkshire train crash
Main UK rail network has 7,937 level crossings
More than 460 are "automatic half barrier" crossings like that involved in Saturday's crash
Fewer than 50 crossings have barriers across whole road
Thousands of smaller crossings either have no barriers or barriers operated by person crossing
Greatest cause of accidents at level crossings is "user mis-use", for example drivers zig-zagging round half barriers

He tried to alert the emergency services but was unable to stop the First Great Western train smashing into the stationary car and derailing at nearby points.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Trotter, of British Transport Police, said they were also examining the possibility there may have been a mechanical defect with the car.

His silver Mazda is still covered by a tent to preserve evidence and police are examining a mobile phone found near the crash scene thought to belong to Mr Drysdale.

"We are making a whole range of inquiries into his background, into his family and friends and employers," he said.

But he added: "We are not assuming one particular reason for what happened."

The other passengers killed have been named as 14-year-old Emily Webster from Moretonhampstead, Devon; Barry Strevens, 55, from Wells, Somerset; and Leslie Charles Matthews, known as Charlie, 72, from Warminster in Wiltshire.

Cranes have now been built on the site and Mr Trotter said work would begin on Monday night to remove the train wreckage.

First Great Western has paid tribute to Mr Martin, a driver with 30 years' experience.

Stanley Martin
Victim Stanley Martin had been a train driver for 30 years
Managing Director Alison Forster said: "Stan will be sadly missed by everyone in the company and especially his colleagues in the south west."

The train drivers' union Aslef said Mr Martin was "an extremely experienced and professional driver" and a long-standing member of the union.

Aslef acting general secretary Keith Norman said that on-board data recording equipment made it clear Mr Martin had done everything possible to avert the accident.

"Stan worked in the industry for almost four decades. All train drivers will join with me in expressing our deepest sympathies with the families," he said.

Earlier the family of Anjanette Rossi, from Speen, near Newbury, issued a statement praising the emergency services.

And Eleanor Brooks, the head teacher of Speenhamland school, which Louella attended, described the nine year-old as a child who was "full of life" and always "kind to other people".

It added: "We as a family would like to send our heartfelt sympathy to all the other families who are sharing in this tragedy. Our thoughts are with you all."

LEVEL CROSSING DEATHS
2003/4: 18
2002/3: 13
2001/2: 12
2000/1: 9
1999/0: 13
1998/9: 12
Source: HSE rail safety report

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling visited the crash site on Monday. He said his first thoughts were with the families of those killed or seriously hurt.

"You can see, looking at this accident, what an appalling experience it must have been for everyone," he said.

Some newspapers have reported that the officer had a conversation with the driver of the car before it was hit by the train.

The Daily Express said the officer yelled at the driver to "get out of the car now!"

But the man is thought to have replied: "No. Leave me alone. I want to die," the paper added.

However, Mr Trotter said the officer's statement did not include any mention of a conversation between him and the driver of the car.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Surely it's time to do something about this type of crossing
Nick, Burry Port, Wales

He said the off-duty officer had had only a matter of seconds to act and had done "extremely well in the circumstances".

The 1735 First Great Western service from London Paddington to Plymouth collided with the car on the track between Newbury and Reading at about 1815 GMT. About 71 people were injured. Six people died in the crash and a seventh died in hospital on Sunday.

Thames Valley Police wants all passengers who were on the train but did not attend hospital to contact them on 0870 0100732 between 0800 GMT and midnight so they can be checked off against the list of passengers.

HOW LEVEL CROSSINGS WORK
1 As train approaches amber light shines and twin red lights flash, warning drivers to halt. An alarm sounds for pedestrians.
2 In type of crossing illustrated (like the one in Berkshire crash), a short time after lights come on barriers fall on left hand side of road on each side, usually 20-30 seconds before train arrives.
3 Signs tell drivers to keep crossing clear and that if lights continue to flash after train passes, another train is approaching.
4 Phone on both sides of crossing can be used to contact signal control room in an emergency, or if driver has large or slow-moving vehicle, or animals are being herded.
5 According to Highway Code, if driver has crossed white line when warning lights show, they should keep going.
Source: Highway Code, Network Rail




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Investigations continue at the scene of the crash



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