Woman has lucky escape after train hits car in accident

A Billingham woman has described how she narrowly escaped death after her car was hit by a freight train as she tried to pass a level crossing.

Tracey Dresser was driving her family’s red Mazda when she was struck by a train as she approached the gated crossing at Bog Hall Farm near Sedgefield in County Durham.

Tracey said that as she was approaching the crossing, the visibility at the crossing point was obscured by tall grass, so she got out of her car to check whether it was safe to cross. She got back in her car after seeing it was clear just moments before the crash.

She said: “By the time I had messed about in the car, I got to the edge, I looked left, and when I looked right the train was there, and it was just too late. I automatically wanted to put the car in reverse but I froze.”

The train that collided with Tracey’s car was a Great British Rail Freight (GBRF) train that had been travelling from Fiddler’s Ferry, near Widnes, to Middlesbrough, and had been travelling at around 40mph at the time of the collision.

Tracey added: “It went past hit, and hit, and hit the car; I had tight hold of the steering wheel and just thought any minute now I’m going to go under.”

Tracey fortunately escaped serious injury in the car accident although her car was damaged beyond repair. The front of the car was completely shredded. Emergency services where called to the scene and fire and rescue services along with an ambulance attended. She was taken to hospital suffering from shock and minor neck injuries .

She said: “When the train stopped I got out and was just crying like a baby and shaking my hands, and walking around, and sitting down, then standing up.” Tracey said she is still suffering from the shock of what happened. She added: “I’m here and that’s all that really counts to be honest. The people that came were ever so nice and the emergency services were all absolutely lovely, I could not fault any of them.”

Tracey was on her way to see her partner John Musgrave who lives at Bog Hall. She now has trouble sleeping as the farm is so close to the train track she added: “now when they sound the horn, I just close my eyes and all I can see is the train and I can hear the carriages. I constantly feel sick.”

Tracey, who has a 20-year-old son Christopher added: “I just have to get on with it now because I could have left my bairn without a mam, and john without a partner and that would have been another shock for him to get over. But thank God I’m here; someone obviously loves me up there. They said if I had been a bit further out that would have been it, I would have been gone with the train. It’s shocked everybody to be honest. They are just amazed that I’ve been hit by a train and I don’t have a mark on me.”

The train had been hauling 18 wagons of gypsum when it collided with Tracey. The driver of the train immediately got out of the train as soon as it stopped and comforted Tracey until the emergency services arrived. She said of the driver: “I don’t know who he was but he stayed with me until the police came. He was absolutely lovely, he waited with me, and he kept talking to me and saying it was all right. I never got to thank him or anything.”

A spokesperson for Network Rail, Keith Lumley said: “The driver was extremely lucky that she was not seriously injured or even killed. Fortunately this was not a busy route such as the east coast main line or the consequences could have been far worse. Network Rail has been targeting level crossing users with the message ‘Level Crossings – Don’t Run the Risk’. It isn’t worth taking a chance to save a few seconds of your time, and on crossings such as the one at Bog Hall Farm, we would urge users to be extra vigilant before crossing.”

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