Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Train hits 'runaway' car on line

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Emergency services dealing with the incident

A car has been hit by a train after it rolled down a hill on to a railway line in Cheshire.

The vehicle, an empty 4x4, went on to the track at North Rode in Congleton, where it was hit by a southbound train.

Cheshire Police said several passengers in the train suffered minor injuries in the crash on Thursday at 1800 GMT.

Part of the train was derailed and a second train was also involved. Police later said all passengers had been evacuated.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: "We understand this has been caused by someone who has not paid too much attention to putting on their handbrake, causing their car to go down a hill, through a boundary fence and on to the track."

Investigation begins

The car was hit at about 1800 GMT by the southbound Deansgate to Stoke-on-Trent service.

The spokesman said: "The Bristol Temple Meads to Manchester Piccadilly service was also involved as it was going past at the time, but it is not believed to have hit the car."

An investigation has been launched by British Transport Police, who attended the scene with fire crews and the ambulance service. No casualties were taken to hospital.

Cheshire Police said passengers travelling on the Manchester train were taken to their final destination on coaches, while passengers on the Bristol train were taken to Macclesfield station, from where they continued their journeys by either train or bus.

British Transport Police said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the crash.

The North West Area Commander, Ch Supt Peter Holden, said: "I think it could have been a lot worse - there were passengers on both trains, and it is remarkable and real testament to the build of trains these days that we are not looking at any serious injuries."

Virgin Trains said services between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston were being diverted via Crewe and would stop additionally at Stoke-on-Trent.

Also services between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly would be diverted via Crewe and calling additionally at Wilmslow.

Train services with operators Arriva Trains Wales, CrossCountry and Northern were also affected and travellers have been advised to check with National Rail Enquiries.

It is estimated that a normal rail service will resume by 1200 GMT on Saturday.

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