Phone will be installed on level crossing at Saddlebow, where a King’s Lynn to London train collided with a tractor

A telephone is being installed at an unmanned level crossing near King's Lynn, where a train ploughed into a tractor.

The accident happened on September 25, when the London-bound train was in collision with the farm vehicle at Saddlebow.

All 41 passengers on board, the train driver and tractor driver escaped serious injury.

But power lines were brought down by the crash and those on board the train had to wait four hours for them to be made safe before they could be evacuated.

The crash was the latest in a string of accidents involving un-manned crossings in the Fens. An investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said the crossing, which was heavily-used during the beet campaign, did not have a telephone for users to check there was not a train coming.

'At the time of the accident a method of work had been established that involved the tractor drivers seeking permission to cross from the signaller, by means of mobile telephone,' it said.

'Despite this arrangement, an error occurred that resulted in the tractor being driven onto crossing before an approaching train had passed.'

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A spokesperson for the Office of Rail Regulation said: 'The investigation found that health and safety laws had not been breached, but that improvements to the crossing should be made to further enhance safety for users. ORR will work to ensure Network Rail makes these improvements.

'This incident reinforces the need for farmers with level crossings on their land to make sure they know the risks, and that their staff use the crossings safely.'

A Network Rail spokesperson said: 'Hatson level crossing is a user-worked crossing, meaning that responsibility for crossing the railway safely rests with vehicle users.

'Following last September's collision, the decision was taken to install telephones at the crossing enabling authorised crossing users to contact the signaller for confirmation that it is safe to cross the line. These will be installed as soon as practicable.'

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