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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Train victim 'dreaded crossing'
Jean Irwin
Jean Irwin had told her family she dreaded crossing the tracks
The husband of the woman in her 70s who died when a train hit her car had complained to Translink about his safety fears over the unmanned crossing.

Jean Irwin died when a train hit her car at an unmanned railway crossing near Limavady, shortly before 1400 BST on Tuesday.

Ms Irwin, who was in her late 70s and from the Benone area, was believed to have been on her way to feed sheep.

The collision, involving the 1315 BST Londonderry to Coleraine train, occurred off the Seacoast Road at Benone.

The train was travelling at about 70mph at the time and was derailed in the crash, but none of the 34 passengers on board was injured.

Translink says the site carries only a low risk assessment.

Relatives of Mrs Irwin have told of her fears about the crossing.

Her niece, Anne O'Neill, told the BBC on Wednesday that she "kept saying how dangerous it was to cross the track".

Another niece, Tracey Dolan, said: "She was always so careful crossing, and knew the times of the trains."

DUP councillor Leslie Cubbitt, who had arranged a meeting with Translink about the crossing, said the crash reinforced how dangerous it was.

The remains of Mrs Irwin's car at the trackside
"You have to get out of your car, open the gates, walk up to the railway to see if a train is coming, go back to your car, and by the time you get your car started up, the train could come along at 70mph and you're dead," he said.

Ciaran Rogan of the transport company, Translink, said residents in the area had expressed concern about the crossing earlier this year.

"Once that happened, the crossing was investigated fully and fully risk-assessed. The measures that are in place now were upgraded as of March," he said.

"The warnings that are in place are entirely consistent with the level of risk which is here.

"What we have here would be normal for a situation where a track crosses a private road accessing farmland."

An investigation by Northern Ireland Railways continued on Wednesday.

The track at the scene of the crash was damaged. Train services on the single line were disrupted but reopened on Thursday.

BBC NI's Jeremy Mitchell reports
"Local people fear a similar accident could happen again"

BBC NI's Barbara McCann reports
"Another local farmer who uses the same unmanned level-crossing every day says it is extremely dangerous"

Investigation into train death
11 May 04  |  Northern Ireland

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