Train services halted after crash

RAIL services between Ipswich and Lowestoft were brought to a halt today after a level crossing accident at Woodbridge.No one was hurt in the accident at the crossing at the town's railway station – but services were expected to be disrupted for much of the day.

By Paul Geater

RAIL services between Ipswich and Lowestoft were brought to a halt today after a level crossing accident at Woodbridge.

No one was hurt in the accident at the crossing at the town's railway station – but services were expected to be disrupted for much of the day.

The train was leaving the station when it was in collision with a car on the crossing.


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"The train was just pulling away and would only have been travelling at four or five miles an hour," said Anglia Railways spokesman Peter Meades.

The accident was on the same East Suffolk line as the Blaxhall crash last year – also on an unmanned level crossing.

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"There are no indications that there was anything wrong with the crossing," said Mr Meades.

"The system there is very safety-conscious. The driver has to get out of the cab and press a plunger to set the lights and klaxon going on the crossing.

"There is then a light on a warning board in front of the train showing that the lights are working.

"The driver sounds the horn and then pulls off, the crossing is only about 20 metres from the end of the platform."

If there was a problem with the crossing, the driver would not be able to proceed and would have to call in to Anglia Railways' control centre to report what was happening. There was no call from the driver.

The 9.15am from Ipswich to Lowestoft was in collision with the car shortly before 9.45am.

The train was not derailed in the accident, and engineers were due to examine it to find out how badly it was damaged.

Ironically today's accident happened on the day Anglia announced that safety on rail services in the region had been boosted by the introduction of a new protection system – 11 months ahead of schedule.

The Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is designed to stop trains within 200 metres if they pass a red signal.

All Anglia Railways trains have now had the system installed – and almost all tracks in the region have also had transmitters fixed.

The only line still awaiting these transmistters is the East Suffolk line through Woodbridge – although even if the system had been fully installed, it would not have prevented today's crash.

The government's Health and Safety Executive insisted that the system should be installed on all lines across the country by the end of 2003 as part of the recommendations following the inquiry into the Southall and Paddington disasters.

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