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Increase in vehicle on track incidents

NOCTON'S TRAGIC fatal accident was just one of three incidents last week in which road vehicles crashed near railway lines.

Together, they contributed to raising this year's non level crossing vehicle on track accident figures to 33 incidents - the highest in the past 10 years.

However, with just two fatalities last year, the number of deaths from such incidents was lower than the annual average of four over the last decade.

The catalogue of incidents continued on Thursday night after Nocton as a car crashed in to a railway bridge over the East Coast Main Line at Berwick in Northumberland. It came to rest balanced precariously over the edge of the bridge and had to be restrained by the fire brigade.

In a further, unrelated incident on Sunday, a man died after careering off the single carriageway A159 Gainsborough to Scunthorpe road in Lincolnshire on the approach to a bridge over the Brigg rail line. This carries mainly freight between Cleethorpes and Manchester.

The car collided with wooded fencing leading up to the bridge and hit the edge of the brick parapet before plunging down the embankment. It was fortunately stopped by vegetation before it reached the railway line.

Health and Safety Executive statistics for 2001 show that the average number of vehicle on track incidents a year was 24.

Provisional figures for 2001 were nearly twice the decade low of 17 in 1996/97.

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