Level crossing was open and unlit when car crashed into train in Doncaster

The level crossing at Stainforth (photo: British Transport Police)
The level crossing at Stainforth (photo: British Transport Police)

A level crossing in Doncaster where a car collided with a train had its barriers open and was unlit at the time of the crash, investigators have revealed.

The motorist sustained minor injuries in the crash on Stainforth Road earlier this month, which involved a stationary freight train, and the car was severely damaged.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has launched a probe into the collision, which happened at the crossing between Stainforth and Barnby Dun on January 11, at 5.45am.

It today revealed the scope of the investigation and the details known so far.

The freight train was standing on the down Skellow line that morning, it said, with its rear wagon partially blocking the automatic half-barrier level crossing.

Despite the train being there, the crossing was open when the crash occurred, with the road traffic signals not illuminated and the half-barriers up. It was dark at the time, and there was no lighting at the crossing.

The crossing's design means down trains must travel around 28 metres to clear the road surface after the reopening sequence, which takes seven seconds to be completed, is triggered.

While that time is sufficient for fast-travelling trains, when a train is going very slowly or stopping with the rear wagon close to the crossing, that crossing can potentially re-open to road users while a train is still present.

The RAIB says its investigation will attempt to determine the sequence of events leading to the collision, and will consider the following factors:

* the design of this level crossing and relevant risks associated with it

* whether similar designs are in use at other locations

* the actions of the railway staff involved in the operation of the train

* any underlying management factors.