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Nocton crash was unstoppable say police

MEASURES TO strengthen road and rail structures after the Selby rail crash would not have prevented a fatal accident exactly a year later, police and engineering investigators said this week.

However, last week's fatal accident at Nocton in Lincolnshire and, another just two days later at nearby Blyton when a car plunged down a railway embankment, has prompted engineers to carry out a new study of all road-rail structures in the county. The desk study, to start immediately, will prioritise sites for detailed examination.

'Neither of these sites would have come up on any risk assessment, with little traffic and no history of accidents. But we will now carry out a desktop study of all locations of road-rail interfaces which could lead to any incidents, ' Lincolnshire divisional highways engineer Paul Coathup told NCE.

John Fletcher, 47, died when his van was hit by a two-carriage train after crashing through a bridge parapet along a short stretch of unmarked, unlit disused road. The tragedy occurred near Nocton last Thursday.

The van missed a left hand bend on an unclassified cul-desac to a farm business, and travelled 20m straight along the disused road, crashing into the parapet and onto the track 7m below. The disused road formerly ran along a railway overbridge that was removed more than 30 years ago.

'The road had not been used for 35 to 40 years and was covered in moss and slime. It would have been like braking on an ice rink, ' said Lincolnshire Police inspector Dick Holmes.

Lincolnshire Police accident investigator Andy Pollock said the cause was unknown. 'We are intending to rerun the train journey to find out what the driver of the train could see, ' he said.

Tests on the van driver's body so far indicated nothing unusual, according to investigating sources.

Railtrack has rebuilt the parapets which it is responsible for, and placed concrete blocks on both sides to prevent another vehicle hitting the brick walls.

No risk assessments had been carried out at the scene before the tragedy.

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