“There was a loud metal bang and then a lot of debris” – passenger describes moment train smashed into car

“There was a loud metal bang and then a lot of debris” – passenger describes moment train smashed into car

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A passenger on a train involved in a collision with a car at Stretham this afternoon has praised staff for their quick actions following the crash.

A man was airlifted to hospital with head injuries following the horrific smash at Nairns Level Crossing, near Stretham, just after 2.30pm.

The passenger, who Spotted in Ely has agreed not to name, feared for the safety of her two young children and niece, following the terrifying accident, which happened shortly after her 2.25pm London King’s Cross-bound train left Ely Station.

Level crossing crash site
The crash happened on a level crossing between Stretham and Wicken.

The Ely mum said: “There was a loud metal bang and then a lot of debris hitting the side of the train and underneath.

“I was concerned for my children and the thought that some debris might break the window but it was all over very quickly. The train braked very smoothly and came to a stop. Everyone was calm.

“Two or three people got up straight away and asked if everyone was okay and headed to the front of the train to continue to check everyone was okay and check on the driver.”

The passenger, who was planning to travel to Cambridge, said the incident was handled “very well” by crew on board the Great Northern operated service, as well as police.

“The driver was excellent although he was clearly shocked and he and a couple of other members of staff were on board who kept us all updated personally. We believe a couple of police officers were on board and they coordinated emergency services to the vehicle involved.”

As the train lost its electricity, it was stuck on the line and could not operate its PA system to deliver announcements. However, rail staff provided passengers with water and opened the windows for ventilation.

“The staff were excellent and could not do enough to help. Especially the driver who was totally concerned for his passengers and personally spoke to everyone to update them.”

She said her fellow passengers remained calm throughout and no one on the train appeared to be injured.

“There were a lot of families on board but everyone remained calm and helped each other.”

At the time she was interviewed by Spotted in Ely (about 5pm), passengers had been transferred to another train that would eventually take them to Cambridge.

Level crossing crash site
The crash happened at a level crossing near Railway Farm off the A1123

Caroline Nicklinson has also praised the efforts of rail staff following massive delays on the rail network following the crash.

She said: “It wasn’t the easiest of journeys home tonight, thoughts are with the person injured, the driver of the train and the passengers. But I must thank the staff at Ely station who were handing out bottles of water to those travelling around on buses tonight – very much needed.”

British Transport Police were called to the crossing just after 2.30pm after receiving reports that a train had struck a car on the crossing.

In a statement the BTP said: “The train has been damaged and so around 115 passengers are currently being transferred to another train.”

They described the car driver’s condition as “serious but not believed to be life threatening or changing”.

However, the East of England Ambulance Service, which treated the patient, described him as being in a “critical condition”.

An ambulance, three ambulance officers, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and its hazardous area response team (HART) were dispatched to the scene.The man, thought to be in his 40s, required critical care at the scene for his injuries and was flown to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care.