UPDATE: King’s Lynn to Downham rail line due to re-open after 4pm today

Engineers still working to re-open line which should be running for the evening rush hour

All trains between King's Lynn and Downham Market currently remain cancelled after overhead power lines were brought down by yesterday's crash with a tractor - but it is hoped the line will be open for today's evening rush hour.

Shuttle buses have been connecting the two stations while engineers work to clear the track and reinstate overhead power lines brought down in the collision.

A spokesman for First Capital Connect said engineers are continuing to work to remove the tractor parts from under the train and clear the line. Network Rail is working on restoring the overhead power lines including major structural work to restore the service and both companies hoped to be finished by 4pm today.

'This train now has to undergo major repairs and will be out of service for some time. It joins another one of our Class 365 trains being repaired following a separate camper van collision in Littleport in the summer.


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'We'd apologise for any inconvenience and assure customers that together with Network Rail we are working to get the service back to normal as quickly as possible,' addded the spokesman.

Yesterday 40 passengers escaped serious injury when their train was in collision with a tractor.

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They were on board the 10.10am First Capital Connect service from Lynn to London King's Cross, when the crash happened on a farm crossing without warning lights or barriers.

The collision occurred minutes after the train began its journey, on a single-track section of the line which crosses the flat, open countryside between Lynn and the next station at Watlington.

Emergency services were quickly on the scene of the accident, which was close to the busy A47 Southern Bypass and across the fields from the Norfolk Arena.

Passengers waited up to four hours to be evacuated from the train, which remained on the rails and came to a halt 200yds up the line from the crossing.

Overhead power lines were brought down by the crash and cables could be seen drooping from the metal masts which carry them above the track.

Firefighters had to ensure that the current had been safely earthed before people could be evacuated from the train.

The front coach of the train collided with the tractor, which was towing a trailer full of sugar beet, as it approached a crossing near Maple Road.

The engine of the tractor appeared to have been cut clean off by the force of the impact, which left wreckage strewn along the line.

The tractor driver - reported to be a 29-year-old man - was treated at the scene but was understood to have escaped serious injury.

One woman passenger who was on the train said: 'I was about three coaches back so I didn't actually see it hit.

'All I saw was stones and everything flying up along the track.'

Describing the scene, she told local radio station KLFM: 'We're all quite shocked, we couldn't believe it but everyone's fine.

'There was quite a lot of panic at first, we thought it was going to be a lot worse than it has been.'

At 1.30pm passengers were ferried off the train and across the beet fields to a waiting coach, by firefighters using 4x4s.

The train was due to call at Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport and Ely on its way to London King's Cross.

Yesterday's crash was the latest in a series of incidents on crossings in the Fens, some of them fatal.

Two months ago, a camper van was in collision with a train on a crossing at Littleport.

The cause of yesterday's incident remained unclear last night. Officers from British Transport Police are investigating.

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