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LEVEL CROSSING HORROR SMASH; Woman is killed as two cars are hit by train.

Byline: BEN GOLDBY

A WOMAN has died after her car was among two vehicles hit by a train in a horror accident at a Midland level crossing.

The female driver, 50, was rushed to hospital by air ambulance following the smash at Moreton on Lugg, in Herefordshire, yesterday morning but died of her injuries last night.

Her passenger husband was also injured, as were a mother and daughter in a second car.

The crash happened at around 10.30am as a passenger train approached the crossing.

Several commuters on board the Arriva Manchester to Milford Haven service had to be treated for shock following the accident.

The victim's husband is in a stable condition after suffering what paramedics described as "serious pelvic and shoulder injuries".

Then mum and her 11-yearold girl from the other car escaped with minor injuries. Accident investigators are desperately trying to find out how the accident occurred on the barrier-controlled level crossing.

A source close to the probe said that there was no evidence of a crash between the two cars before the train collided with them.

He said: "The fact that these two vehicles came to be on this crossing which has barriers and lights and a signal box as a train approached will be at the heart of the investigation."

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Ambulance Service revealed that two air ambulances were scrambled to the crash, from their bases at Strensham and Cosford.

"Two people, a man and woman travelling in one of the cars were treated on scene for serious multiple injuries," she said. "The woman who was in a critical condition, was airlifted to Hereford County Hospital for further treatment.

"A doctor travelled on board the ambulance continuing emergency medical treatment whilst on route.

"Paramedics treated a signal operator, train driver and passengers at the scene for shock." A spokesman for British Transport Police said last night that a full inquiry had been launched into the crash. We are working with West Mercia Police and Network Rail to establish the circumstances surrounding the collision, the cause of which is currently unknown," he said.

"The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has been informed. The line is closed and will remain closed while investigations take place and the vehicles are removed.

"We will be working with Network Rail to ensure that it reopens as soon as possible. Passengers should contact Network Rail on 0845 748 4950 to check for the latest updates on services in their area."

The line between Hereford and Shrewsbury was still suspended last night, with replacement bus services operating between the two towns.

The Herefordshire smash comes just days after British Transport Police launched a new campaign to make drivers and pedestrians more aware of the dangers at level crossings.

Releasing CCTV footage of a man running across the tracks in Oldbury, West Midlands, and narrowly avoiding being hit by an oncoming train, officers warned that failing to respect the crossings could lead to tragic consequences.

A spokesman for the campaign said: "The statistics for accidents at level crossings make chilling reading and almost all are caused by motorist or pedestrian misuse.

"People must realise that there will only be one loser if crossings are not used in the way they were designed.

"We will have no hesitation in prosecuting any offenders who think they can take a chance."

ben.goldby@sundaymercury.net

CAPTION(S):

SCENE OF TRAGEDY: The railway crossing at Moreton on Lugg, in Herefordshire, where two cars were hit by a train, killing one of the drivers.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2010
Words:591
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