Man dies after train hits car on level crossing
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
A level crossing was the scene of tragedy as a London to Norwich train crashed into a car, leaving the male driver dead.
More than 100 passengers were on the train at Palgrave, near Diss, as it hit the car on the line at 6.14pm on Saturday - sparking a major emergency response.
Debris was pushed hundreds of metres down the track and the 136 passengers were evacuated as police, fire and ambulance raced to the scene.
British Transport Police led the operation with help from Suffolk police and the ambulance service.
Almost 30 fire fighters from crews across Norfolk and Suffolk, including Carrow, Harleston, Long Stratton and the Urban Search and Rescue team, were also at the scene.
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Blue lights lit up the night sky as the rescue teams worked until 3am, while Lower Rose Lane Bridge and Crossing Road in Palgrave were closed.
A spokesman for British Transport Police said: 'Unfortunately the male driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Their next of kin has been informed.'
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Up to 90 trains a day use the crossing, travelling at up to 100mph on a fast stretch of the mainline through open countryside. It is believed the train came to a stop just before Lower Rose Lane bridge some 600m from the level crossing.
Kathryn Westerveld, who has lived near the Palgrave crossing for 10 years, said: 'It's always very shocking, particularly when someone was killed. Unfortunately one does hear of these things happening at level crossings, but when it's so close it's a real shock.'
Another resident, Mike Bootman, said the crossing was a busy cut through for people driving into Diss.
A third person, who asked to remain anonymous, said: 'A lot of people use it as a cut through. I have lived here for two years and this is the first thing I've heard that has happened.'
The incident caused disruption to rail services, with all lines between Diss and Stowmarket closed throughout the evening. All 136 passengers on board the train involved in the incident were evacuated from the train and taken to nearby Diss station by coach or taxi.
A Greater Anglia spokesman said: 'No passengers on the train were injured in the collision.
'The incident has been reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch. An investigation will take place, which Greater Anglia will assist with fully.'
The incident is not being treated as suspicious.