Why has probe into near-miss rail crash taken so long? - MP asks

Scene of an incident at Station Road, Lingwood involving a train striking the level crossing barrier

Scene of an incident at Station Road, Lingwood involving a train striking the level crossing barriers.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

A Norfolk MP has questioned why an investigation into a near-miss train crash in Norfolk has taken so long.

A train used for clearing leaves off the line crashed through the closed barriers and across Station Road in Lingwood in October last year.

Many said it was lucky no one was hurt or killed – especially as youngsters from the school use the crossing to get to and from class.

Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, promised a thorough investigation after public outcry over the close-call.

But after three months, Network Rail and the Office for Rail Regulation have said they are still looking into the cause, and neither can give a date for completion.

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Mr Simpson said he will be writing to the rail minister Robert Goodwill if nothing comes of the investigation by the end of the month.

He said: 'I am rather surprised it has taken this amount of time. There may be a very good reason I think we should ask.

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'People would like to have a time frame on this. It wasn't a disaster but it could have been.'

The crossing has been point of contention for many years in the village and some have been pushing for a better solution for several years.

Lingwood parish council chairman Ben Bethell, 35, suggested the manually operated system at the crossing needs to be replaced with an automatic one.

He said: 'We want to see the report – the crossing is not safe as it stands at the moment.'

The engine was travelling from Norwich towards Great Yarmouth when it came through the village.

Eyewitnesses said they heard it honking its horn as it approached the station, implying the barriers across the line were down.

Do you have a story about the Broads? Email Broads rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772453.

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