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Farmer caused 75mph train crash by parking tractor on line while he fed his horses

 

Farmer caused 75mph train crash by parking tractor on line while he fed his horses

  • Train left with £80,000 damage after ploughing into trailer

By Chris Parsons
 

Last updated at 7:22 PM on 28th October 2011

 

A farmer caused a 75mph train crash when he parked his tractor on a busy railway line while feeding his horses in a neighbouring field.

John Watkyn-James parked his farm vehicle and trailer on the track in Kidwelly, west Wales, leaving a high-speed train to plough into it, causing over £80,000 damage.

The farmer was branded 'incredibly stupid' by a judge today, but was spared jail as miraculously the crash only caused minor injuries.

 
Reckless: John Watkyn-James left his trailer on the line in the path of an oncoming train, which crashed causing £80,000 damage

Reckless: John Watkyn-James left his trailer on the line in the path of an oncoming train, which crashed causing £80,000 damage

CCTV images of the incident on January 31 taken from the driver's cabin show the blue trailer looming into view, with the driver of the Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven service powerless to stop the collision.

The helpless driver slammed on the emergency brake and threw himself to the ground, but could not prevent the crash as Watykn-James stood in a nearby field.

Watkyn-James, 51, yesterday admitted endangering the life of train passengers by leaving his vehicle on the crossing.

 

 

Sentencing him to a 36-week suspended sentence, Judge Paul Thomas told him: 'What you did was incredibly stupid.

'You were delivering bails of hay when you stopped on the crossing leading to the field.

'You took a risk to save a few minutes and as a risk you put passengers and staff in great danger. You are lucky that no-one was hurt but it must have been very terrifying.

 
 The judge said he considered a jail sentence for the 'sheer folly' - but made it a nine months sentence suspended. He was also ordered to do 200 hours community work.

The judge said: 'Had anything other than minor injuries resulted then you would be in custody.'  Prosecutor Miss Nicola Powell said: 'After the accident he was found in his field feeding his horses.

'He was asked by a passenger if he was the driver of the tractor but he just shrugged his shoulders and mumbled.

 

'When asked if it was his trailer which was destroyed he said: 'Yes but it is not much good now is it?'  His lawyer Frank Phillips said: 'He had gone to feed his horses in a nearby field. He did not flee the scene.'

Swansea Crown Court heard he had meant to drive through the gate to his field but it blew shut in the wind.  There were no injuries but there was severe damage to the front of the train including to the windscreen.

Despite the efforts of the driver, the Arriva service from Manchester to Milford Haven crashed into the trailer at 75mph

Despite the efforts of the driver, the Arriva service from Manchester to Milford Haven crashed into the trailer at 75mph

Watkyn-James, of Crwbin, Kidwelly, South Wales, caused the accident at the Morfa Main crossing at Pembrey Road, Kidwelly, in January.

It cost a 'substantial amount of money' to train company Arriva Wales and Network Rail due to the stoppage as the line was blocked.

The charge stated that by wilful omission or neglect he drove his tractor over a crossing without permission from a signalman, endangering the safety of a person conveyed or being in or upon the railway.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2054830/Farmer-caused-75mph-train-crash-parking-tractor-line-fed-horses.html#ixzz1cD2Lmb81

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