An elderly driver died after his car was struck by a rush-hour passenger train in an horrific accident at a rural rail crossing.
Such was the force of the impact that the door of the car could be seen wedged beneath the train yesterday and the three-carriage TransPennine Express service came to a standstill around half-a-mile from where the victim’s 4x4 overturned and ended up in a field 40 metres from the crossing.
This morning police named the man as local farmer Eric Ireland from Scampston, near Malton.
Chief Inspector Derek O’Mara from British Transport Police said Mr Ireland’s family had been notified and specialist officers were providing support to them.
Investigations were underway today to try to determine why the train had collided with the car on the Ivy Lea farm crossing at Scampston, which those wishing to cross need to seek permission to ensure it is safe.
Chief Insp Derek O’Mara, of British Transport Police, said: “The point where the road crosses the track is a farm crossing that has phones on either side.
“People have to ring up a signal box to seek authority to go across the crossing to make sure it’s safe.
“It’s too early in the investigation to know whether that has been done or not, so that is one of the leads that we’ll be looking at in our investigation with the coroner.”
He added: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family. The family have not been told at this stage because we are still in the process of identifying the male.”
No other passengers were injured in the incident and the driver of the train was treated for shock.
Anthony Armstrong, 33, a passenger travelling from Scarborough to York, said: “We knew that something bad had happened.
“I had been on the train for about 20 minutes and we heard a bump.
“People are a bit shaken up but nobody is hurt.”
Another passenger, who did not want to be named, said: “It was a full train and we didn’t really know what happened. The police have tried to keep us all there but I’ve walked off. I couldn’t stay.
“I saw the car door hanging off the front carriage but that’s all.”
John Oxley, who was on board the train, tweeted: “this has turned out to be a very unexpected and sad journey to work.”
The subject of safety at rail crossings has been under the spotlight recently, with the issue being investigated, and reported on, by the House of Commons Transport Committee.
The train involved was the 8.48am Scarborough to Liverpool Lime Street TransPennine Express Service.
Commuters faced delays as the emergency services dealt with the incident. A spokesman for First TransPennine Express said after the incident: “We are not able to run any trains at the moment between York and Scarborough and we have bus replacement services in place to and from York.”
The accident also had a knock-on effect on other connecting services. Network Rail said all trains to and from Manchester and Liverpool were terminating at York and the only route out of Scarborough was via Hull.
However by 1.30pm First TransPennine Express said the line had reopened following the accident on the line between Malton and Seamer, although it said customers may experience some delays while services returned to normal.
The accident did not result in the train being derailed.
A British Transport Police spokesman said passengers on board the service had been transferred to another train and taken to Malton railway station to continue their journeys.
“The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) have been informed,” the transport police spokesman added.