THE driver of a tractor involved in a train crash on a level crossing on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway did not realise he was blocking the line, a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch has concluded.
As reported in HR issue 220, the crash occurred around 2.30pm on Saturday, September 10, as a train headed by the line’s first locomotive, 1925-built Davey Paxman Pacific No. 1 Green Goddess, was heading through Dymchurch towards Hythe when a tractor hauling a trailer fully loaded with hay pulled on to occupation crossing No. 10, known as Young’s Crossing, which lies on a farm track between a field – where harvesting and straw baling had been taking place – and the nearest public road.
Driver Zac Clarke sounded his whistle, but when he realised that the tractor was not going to stop, he slammed the brakes fully on. The locomotive hit the counter-weight attached to the front of the tractor.
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Zac immediately leapt from his cab seconds before impact, but picked himself up and went to help passengers from the 13-coach train which was partially derailed by the force of the impact.
Read more in Issue 223 of Heritage Railway