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Near miss between train and car on level crossing near King’s Lynn

PUBLISHED: 14:27 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 06 September 2017

The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop

The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop

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A train narrowly missed colliding with a car on a level crossing as it left a station, it emerged today.

The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch confirmed it was investigating the potentially-fatal incident, which happened at Watlington between King’s Lynn and Downham Market.

In a statement, it said: “At around 08.51 hrs on 9 August 2017, a passenger train travelling at low speed when departing from platform 1 at Watlington station, passed over Magdalen Road level crossing with the barriers in the raised position and narrowly missed a moving car.

“We have undertaken a preliminary examination into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Having assessed the evidence which has been gathered to date, we have decided to publish a safety digest.”

A spokesman said: “When an incident is reported to us, we gather all the immediately-available evidence and on that basis it goes to review and in that review they decide if there’s going to be a full investigation, a safety digest or no further action.”

The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop

He added the digest was a “short investigation”, which would take a number of weeks to complete.

The crossing is operated by Network Rail, which said it could not comment until the safety digest into the incident was published.

A spokesman for train operator Govia Thameslink said: “We can confirm that a near miss occurred at Magdalen Road level crossing on August 9, and that the train driver was not at fault. Following its preliminary examination, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch has decided that a full investigation is not required.”

Watchdog the Office for Road and Rail said there were seven fatal accidents on crossings last year.

The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop The crossing at Watlington, near King's Lynn, where the near-miss occurred. Picture: Chris Bishop

In March, a report said a signaller “lost awareness” of a train before it ploughed into a tractor at 80mph on a crossing near Thetford in April 2016. The tractor driver and four passengers were injured.

There have been a number of collisions between trains and vehicles on the King’s Lynn to Cambridge line.

In 2012 Network Rail pledged to close hundreds of rural user-operated crossings after a driver died when his car was hit by a train on a crossing at Ten Mile Bank.

The collision was the third on the remote crossing. In 2006 a tractor driver died when a train crashed into his vehicle on a crossing at Black Horse Drove, a few miles down the line.

In 2011 a train collided with a tractor on a farm crossing at Saddlebow, near King’s Lynn, and a camper van drove into a train passing through a crossing on the outskirts of Littleport. Both collisions were non-fatal.

In July 2008, tragedy was narrowly averted when a man rode a mobility scooter across the path of a train approaching a crossing at Attleborough.

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