A tractor driver sustained serious injuries after a train carrying 135 passengers collided with his vehicle in Norfolk.
An investigation by the Government’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has found the tractor driven was given permission to cross the line and had reached the mid-point of the crossing when his vehicle was struck by a train travelling at 84mph.
The tractor was destroyed and the train was badly damaged in the incident.
A report from the RAIB said: "Hockham Road level crossing is on a private road near Thetford, Norfolk, and also carries a public footpath.
"Vehicle users must open and close the crossing gates themselves, and at the time of the accident they had to use the telephone to obtain permission from a signaller at Cambridge, before going over the crossing.
"In 2012, the crossing had been provided with red and green lights which informed users whether it was safe to cross, but this equipment had been intentionally decommissioned at the time of the accident."
There were 135 passengers and two crew on the train, which did not derail, but came to a stop 410 metres beyond the crossing.
RAIB said: "The trailer separated from the tractor and struck the side of the train several times, breaking windows and puncturing the outer body of the train, before coming to rest next to the tractor at the side of the railway line.
"The driving cab of the train was severely deformed by the impact, and the driver’s door broke away."
Following the incident in Norwich, Farmers Guardian spoke to NFU Mutual about how farmers can stay safe on level crossings.
Rural affairs specialist, Tim Price said: "In recent years there have been a number of accidents – and many more ‘near misses’ - which demonstrate the need to take extreme care when using rail crossings.”
“The potential for loss of life and serious injury from an accident involving a farm vehicle and a train colliding means that extreme care should be taken every time a farm vehicle cross the tracks – and safety procedures rigorously followed.”
The investigation into the incident continues.