York & North Yorkshire

Thirty incidents on Knaresborough tractor crash line

Tractor hit by train
Image caption The tractor was hit by a train on a farm level crossing in North Yorkshire

Transport police have been called to 30 incidents at crossings on the same rail line where a train hit a tractor.

The call-outs on the York to Harrogate line over the past 12 months were followed by the tractor crash at a farm level crossing on Thursday.

In the past three years 20 unmanned crossings in North Yorkshire have closed, 162 remain open.

This includes the Knaresborough crossing where the tractor driver suffered minor injuries.

In 2014, there were nine recorded instances of the crossing being "misused" according to Network Rail and one case where there was a near miss on the line.

Near misses were occasions when the train driver was forced to apply the emergency brake, it said.

Misuse most commonly relates to motorists ignoring warnings before crossing or crossing without requesting the signaller's permission. It also includes children playing on the line.

Network Rail has closed 900 crossings nationally over the last few years and aims to shut at least another 250 of the 6,300 on the network in a drive to improve safety.

Aidan Nelson, who used to be in charge of the York to Harrogate line for British Rail, said the crossing should be closed.

"In the year to November there were nine incidents reported for this level crossing," he said. "The best level crossing is a closed level crossing."

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