Driver lucky to be alive

The level crossing at Silverdale.
The level crossing at Silverdale.

Investigations are continuing after a car and train smash on a level crossing which nearly cost a man his life.

The 46-year-old man driving a Ford Fiesta abandoned his stricken car at a level crossing in Silverdale– moments before it was dragged 300m down a railway track by a nuclear waste train.

The driver is thought to have lost control of his car on the bend approaching the New Road crossing.

The man from the Kendal area managed to climb out and flee his stranded vehicle before it was hit by the engine and two empty wagons, which were travelling at around 50 mph from the Sellafield power plant in West Cumbria to Crewe.

The driver looked on as his vehicle was dragged down the track before the train was able to come to a halt just after 7pm on Tuesday.

It did not derail and remained upright.

Both the train driver and the car driver were unhurt but treated for shock at the scene, just south of Silverdale railway station.

The train is used to take “spent” nuclear fuel to Sellafield but, as it was returning to Cheshire, was empty.

Lancashire Fire Service sent 35 personnel to the site, including its Chorley-based Urban Search and Rescue unit, which deals with structural and transport incidents.

Part of the car became lodged under the train and the crew had to transport their specialist equipment around half a mile down the line using a high-tech trolley, brought in from Preston.

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said its officials along with Lancashire Police also attended.

The car was removed from the tracks at 12.50am on Wednesday.

The spokesman added: “Officers will now be working to establish how the car came to be on the tracks.”