Narrow escape in Wensleydale crossing crash
By: Robin Jones
A WOMAN driver walked away unscathed after her car was hit by a steam locomotive on the Wensleydale Railway.
The locomotive was heading a train taking passengers from Leyburn to Bedale when it collided with a car travelling on a farm track over the Fox Park level crossing near Newton-le-Willows.
The car was knocked off the crossing.
The only occupant of the car, a female driver, was left uninjured but very shaken.
A police spokesman said that the gates were open when she drove through.
Earlier this year the Office of Rail Regulation served the heritage railway with safety improvement notices. They found visibility at the Newton-le-Willows crossing was restricted to 39 metres by vegetation and that one gate at the level crossing was missing and the other left open at the time of the accident.
As a result, the railway implemented sweeping changes to its safety procedures and the crossing now has two gates. It says it is the responsibility of drivers to ensure gates are always closed at the crossing.
A railway spokesman said: "The problem we have with these crossings is people don't close the gates. It's a constant problem for us and all railways.
"You should stop, open the gates, look and listen, then once you're across stop again and shut the gates behind you."
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