Five level crossing close shaves in Norfolk and Waveney

A First Capital Connect train passes through the Queen Adelaide level crossing heading to King's Lyn

A First Capital Connect train passes through the Queen Adelaide level crossing heading to King's Lynn along the Fen Line after the Ely North junction. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

National Level Crossing Awareness Day was held on Thursday to raise awareness of near misses on the tracks and help ensure pedestrians and drivers pay attention when crossing the rails.

Norfolk and Waveney has seen a number of these incidents in recent years:

Train almost hits two cars at level crossing

Improvement work has started at the Oulton Broad North level crossing.

Improvement work has started at the Oulton Broad North level crossing. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A train came within just three seconds of crashing into a car being driven over a level crossing, between Coltishall and Tunstead, during February this year and also narrowly avoided a second which was about to cross.

No one was injured and no damage was caused by the incident.

At the time, the crossing was seeing higher than normal levels of road traffic due to the temporary closure of a nearby main road.

Leaves on the line see train within a quarter of a second of hitting car

An engineer looks at the damage to the gate after a car crashed through the lowered barriers.

An engineer looks at the damage to the gate after a car crashed through the lowered barriers. - Credit: Archant

A near miss saw a Greater Anglia train come within a quarter of a second of ploughing into a car due to leaves on the line in December 2019.

The train came within a whisker of crashing into two cars as they crossed a level crossing at Thorpe End, near Norwich, after the barrier opened before the new 755 locomotive had passed.

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The leaves meant the level crossing had misinterpreted the train's position and opened the barriers too soon.

Person walks over level crossing just seconds before runaway train hits it

A train flashes past the new barriers at the level crossing on Bridge Street in Brandon. Photograph

A train flashes past the new barriers at the level crossing on Bridge Street in Brandon. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

In March, a person walked over a Dereham railway crossing just eight seconds before a runaway train crashed into it.

It was found that the train ran away while a remote control winch was being used to roll it of an inclined trailer, which led it to roll into the gated level crossing.

Robber smashes level crossing barriers in 100mph chase

The level crossing at Kimberley

The B1108 road will be closed at Kimberley from May 11 until May 17, while the level crossing is refurbished. - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

Banned driver Marcus Williams caused £30,000 of disruption to services and damage to a level crossing barrier near Lakenheath railway station as he tried to escape from police after carrying out a robbery in Eriswell.

Police caught up with Williams at the crossing and he then smashed through the closed barriers in his Saab convertible.

Officers discontinued the pursuit but arrested Williams in a church after he crashed his car and it caught fire.

Signalling error leads to near miss at Worlingham

In August 2020, a Greater Anglia service from Lowestoft to Ipswich, applied the train’s emergency brake after observing a vehicle towing a trailer cross Worlingham level crossing near Beccles ahead of the train.

It happened after the signaller at Saxmundham signal box had given permission by telephone for the two vehicles to cross the railway, on the understanding that this would take less than two minutes.

The call ended 77 seconds before the train would have reached the crossing if the driver had not applied the emergency brake, bringing the train to a stop and narrowly avoiding the vehicle.


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