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Last Updated: Monday, 15 November, 2004, 16:58 GMT
Crowded train hits crossing gate
Train crash site
The train was travelling from Lincoln to Peterborough
A train with about 50 schoolchildren on board has crashed through a level crossing gate in Lincolnshire.

The accident happened on a manned crossing at Rowston between Lincoln and Sleaford just before 9am on Monday.

One person was airlifted to Lincoln County Hospital, but no other people on the packed commuter train required treatment after the accident.

The level crossing keeper at the site has been relieved of his duties while an investigation continues.

Pupils 'shaken'

British Transport Police said the Central Trains 0804 GMT Lincoln to Peterborough service struck the crossing gates, but did not come off the tracks.

Coaches were used to take the pupils to their schools in Sleaford.

A police spokesman said many of the children were shaken by the incident.

Policeman at level crossing
We had to wait two hours, but we have been finally let out the train
Richard Jerman, train passenger

Other commuters from the train, which was full and had many passengers standing, were also taken from the scene by road.

"It was very lucky that no-one else was hurt," a Lincolnshire Ambulance Service spokeswoman said.

Transport police said it appeared at this stage of the inquiry that human error was the cause, but investigators were continuing to look at all aspects of the accident, including the signalling.

The spokesman said the crossing keeper and the driver of the train, who had suffered shock, had been breath-tested and both tests had proved negative.

Train passenger Richard Jerman said: "The first we knew about it was just a big bang and the train started to wobble and when we looked out of the window there was lots of wooden splinters coming out from the side of the carriage.

"Then obviously the train screeched to a halt and the train guard was going up and down the carriage.

Gatepost ripped out

"We had to wait two hours, but we have been finally let out of the train."

The police spokesman said the impact had caused "a lot of damage" to the crossing and confirmed workers were tackling a diesel spill from the locomotive.

Children led away from train crash site
One person was injured in the accident

The crossing controls a little-used minor road which runs east from Rowston to a farm.

"The crossing keeper had opened the gates to let a van cross.

"He had shut one of the gates but had not shut the other before it was struck by the train," said the police spokesman.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: "The crossing keeper has an indicator in his cabin which warns him of oncoming trains.

"An investigation is now going on and the keeper has been relieved of his duties while this investigation is ongoing."

A concrete gatepost was ripped out of the ground by the force of the impact and splinters from the wooden barrier were scattered across the track.

Transport police were expected to hand the incident over to Railway Inspectorate later on Monday.

The crash comes nine days after seven people died when a London to Plymouth express ploughed into a car at an automatic level crossing at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Catherine Marston
"There's no indication that the driver was at fault"



SEE ALSO:
Villagers honour train crash dead
14 Nov 04 |  Berkshire


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