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One dead after Exeter train hits car on crossing causing travel disruption

By Rich_Booth  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

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One man has died this morning after a train travelling from Exeter hit a car on a level crossing in Somerset.

The train involved was the 0546hrs Exeter to London Paddington service. An estimated 40 passengers were aboard the nine-carriage train.

Amongst the passengers were students from Exeter ISCA college of media arts.

Denis, aged 15, has told the BBC: "We were talking through some questions on the train to Radio 1 at about 7am, we thought we could smell petrol and we heard a loud bang.

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"We were all told to go into the first class carriages where we were informed that the train had struck a car.

"The train manager suggested we might have to climb down ladders to get off of the train.. We are slowly being pulled back to Taunton."

The train was not derailed and there are no reports of any injuries to anyone on board.

The fire service sent eight fire appliances and special appliances to the scene and firefighters removed the vehicle from the front of the train using hydraulic rescue equipment.

The crash happened at about 06:30 this morning on the line between Taunton and Castle Cary, causing disruption to travel between Exeter and London.

Network Rail said initial reports suggested the barrier was lowered and the driver tried to weave around them in order to cross.

British Transport Police said the accident was not being treated as suspicious.

Senior Fire Commander at the scene, Group Manager Paul Cregan, said:

"This incident was a significant challenge causing a number of dangerous and difficult circumstances for our Fire & Rescue crews. The train struck the vehicle and then carried it along the tracks eventually stopping over a mile from the crossing. Firefighters had to run to the scene carrying firefighting and rescue equipment to deal with the person trapped in the car, deal with the very real risk of a fire occurring as well as dealing with nearly 40 people on the train in terrible weather conditions. Each member of the emergency services did their task exceptionally well and together, as a multi agency team, we resolved the incident thankfully without significant injury or disruption to those involved.”

Incident Commander Mark Andrews said:

"Our Fire & Rescue crews from Taunton, Bridgwater, Street, Middlemoor , Wiveliscombe, Wellington and Burnham worked exceptionally hard under difficult conditions to deal with the incident. Without their quick response and that of our emergency service partners, the incident could have been much worse. My thanks go to our Police colleagues in Avon & Somerset Constabulary, British Transport Police and South Western Ambulance Service as well as the local community for their work, support and patience during this incident.”

VIDEO footage from the scene of the crash:

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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