On a clear cold day, a tractor towing a trailer loaded with about 2½ tons of manure approached the crossing on the same side as a diesel hauled coal train which was approaching on the Down line. After misunderstanding the signalman’s urgent hand signal not to cross the line, the tractor drove onto the crossing as soon as the coal train had passed, and into the path of a 3-car DMU (50799, 59322, 50774) travelling at 60mph which was coming the other way.
The DMU was completely derailed as it hit the middle of the trailer with the leading car ending up upside-down facing the direction from which it had come and the other two cars ended up across both lines on their sides. Manure from the trailer was found as far back as the rear of the first car and lay several inches thick at the leading end. Three of the four fuel tanks and the heater tanks were ruptured and diesel fuel was discharged onto the track although fortunately there was no fire. Eight passengers and the driver were injured although only the driver was detained in hospital. The whole train was beyond repair and was moved to the side of the line for cutting up. Repairs were made to the line by the following morning, albeit under a speed restriction. The accident was caused by lack of care on the part of the tractor driver in not making sure the crossing was clear before he drove onto it.
The report does however point out that the National Farmers’ Union has been concerned for a number of years about the increasing hazards to farm employees at unguarded crossings.
MOT; b/c; 7pp; inc. site diagram, sketch showing crossing details, photograph of crossing (A.G. Townsend-Rose).