An Up Alnwick to Newcastle 2-car DMU (built by Metro Cammel in 1957 and presumed to be a Class 101) was running at 50-55mph under clear signals when it struck a Commer 7-ton Dump truck which was carrying a heavy 8-ton load of fireclay over the crossing. Whilst the lorry driver was injured as the vehicle was flung clear of the main line, the DMU cab was stove in to such an extent that the driver of the train died instantly from injuries he sustained in the impact. Five passengers were also slightly injured.
The train then continued to run on where its derailed front bogie struck and completely derailed a goods brake van (which was standing on a colliery siding alongside the Up main line) before it came to a halt. Although the crossing was originally opened to serve a farmstead, it also served Stobswood Colliery and a Brickworks (who were the main users of the crossing). Despite being classified only as an ‘Occupation Crossing’, it was nevertheless manned throughout the working day (6.00am to 5.30pm) on account of the number of vehicles using it, during which time 120-135 road vehicles (most of which were ‘heavy’ lorries) and 55-65 trains passed over it. Although the lorry driver and the train driver were completely without blame, the crossing keeper was solely responsible for the collision in that he opened the gate for the lorry without first seeking permission from the signalman. The report mentions that in 1958 there were five cases in which a lorry or other heavy vehicle was driven suddenly onto the path of a diesel train and in each case the train suffered little damage. Nevertheless this accident led the British Transport Commission to consider the practicality of strengthening the front of future DMU’s with a view to increasing the driver’s protection.
MOT; n/c; 8pp; inc. location plan, site plan and enlarged site plan (J.R.H. Robertson).
Stobswood Occupational Level Crossing (NER)
Involving Class 101 / Road Vehicle
Information from Peter Mullen