Devon man escapes as car plunges onto railway line

  • Published
Car on railway line
Image caption,
Trains were allowed to pass the car at low speed

A Devon driver says he is lucky to be alive after his car's electronic handbrake apparently failed and the vehicle plunged onto a railway line.

Chris Faulkner, 67, had parked his car in his driveway at Harberton, near Totnes, but it started rolling down the hill.

He tried to stop the car but it fell about 20ft down a bank to the tracks.

Thousands of rail travellers had their journeys disrupted as Network rail cleared the line.

The incident on Sunday morning began when Mr Faulkner returned home in his Volvo V70 after picking up a friend in Totnes.

"I put the electronic handbrake on and reached into the back to collect some things," he said.

"My passenger had already got out of the car.

"But the car had started moving and was gathering speed.

"The next thing I was clambering out of the car with its nose facing up in the air and the rear sitting next to the railway line."

Mr Faulkner dialled 999 and Network Rail put speed restrictions on the eastbound line between Plymouth and Exeter until it removed the car early on Monday morning.

Furniture maker Mr Faulkner said: "I am very lucky.

"If a train had been coming and clipped the car it would have been very different."

The car is being inspected by a Volvo dealership.

A company spokesman said there were no known problems with the handbrake system.

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