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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Train collides with dumped van
The damaged van
The train "clipped" the van left on the track
A freight train has collided with an empty transit van, which was dumped on a level crossing in south Warwickshire.

No one has been injured and police are investigating why the vehicle was on the crossing.

Investigators said there could have been a major accident if a passenger train had been involved.

Trains were delayed for three hours following the accident near Southam at 0845 BST on Thursday.

The rail crossing
Police are investigating at the crossing
The freight train, which was carrying coal, was able to continue its journey to Swindon.

Inspector Jeanne Arnold said: "This was a heavy Freightliner train that has clipped the van on the tracks.

"Had it been a light passenger train we could have been dealing with a very, very serious accident."

A maintenance contractor's compound had been broken into alongside the track near the B451 Harbury to Southam road, police said.

A lock was forced on a nearby hut and a blue generator had been taken out.

Police said they were keeping an open mind about the accident.

The line is Chiltern Railways' main route between Birmingham and London and is also used by Virgin Trains.


Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
See also:

02 May 02 | Scotland
12 Sep 01 | UK
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