North West Wales

Man fined £800 for letting boy, 5, open rail crossing near Talybont, Gwynedd

A man has been fined £800 for allowing a five-year-old boy to open gates at a private railway crossing without checking it was safe.

He should have used a designated phone to see if the line in Gwynedd was clear, Dolgellau magistrates heard.

A train driver braked near Talybont with the boy on one side of the crossing and a 4x4 on the other side.

The man, from Mansfield, Notts, admitted unlawfully allowing a child to open the gates.

Chairman of the bench Caerwyn Roberts said the local courts dealt regularly with motorists who contravened red lights on railway crossings.

He said this case was "far more serious" and was the most serious involving railway crossings before the court in recent years.

The court was told train driver Gareth Owen was travelling at 47mph around a left-hand bend at about 18:40 BST on 14 August, when he saw a small boy crossing the railway.

A 4x4 vehicle was about to cross the railway and then reversed back from the railway, leaving the boy stranded on the other side.

Emergency brakes

The court heard that the train driver sounded the horn and applied the emergency brakes, but knew that the train would not be able to stop before reaching the crossing.

Richard Edwards, prosecuting for British Transport Police, said it was fortunate an accident did not occur.

"The train driver estimated that the five-year-old boy, with his hands over his ears, was within 3ft of the train as it passed him," he said.

The vehicle being driven by the man managed to reverse back.

Iestyn Davies, defending, said the man realised that he had let his guard slip, "probably because he was on holiday".

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