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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two-year-old boy killed at level crossing after running in front of express train.

A two-year-old boy was killed today after running in front of an express train at a rural level crossing.

The child was struck by the 14.41 Lincoln to Peterborough single carriage service on the Fox Covert Road level crossing in Peakirk, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, at around 4pm.

Emergency workers rushed to the scene but were unable to resuscitate him and he died of his injuries.

Cordon: A PCSO stands guard near the level crossing, said to be by the side of a travellers' site

It is not clear at this stage why he ran on to the tracks or whether he was on his own or supervised at the time. His death is being treated as unexplained.

Neighbour Margaret Cianna, 71, who lives yards from the crossing where the accident took place, said she heard a blood-curdling cry when the train struck.

Mrs Cianna, of Peakirk, said three weeks ago two safety bolts which had to be lifted by pedestrians to open the gate had been removed.

She said: 'I heard a woman screaming. It was awful. Then it was followed by a big commotion.

'Dozens of people from the travellers site ran to the scene. It's just too horrific to contemplate and too spooky. About three weeks ago the gates were adapted so they could be pushed open, without removing a bolt.

'At the time I thought it was an accident waiting to happen - very young kids can open it too easily.'

Mrs Cianna said the unmanned crossing, by the side of a travellers' site, has no warning lights or signals to announce the arrival of trains.

Although not busy - a single-carriage train passes once every two hours - she believes it is highly dangerous for children.

Twice a day scores of children use the crossing to get to the local school, the Author Mellows Village College.

She added: 'I don't know which authority is responsible for the gates but something clearly must be done to improve safety.'

A spokesman for the British Transport Police (BTP) said: 'BTP can confirm that a two-year-old boy has died after being struck by a train at a level crossing in Peakirk, Peterborough.

'The boy's family have been made aware and a file will be prepared for the coroner. The incident was reported to police at 4.03pm and is currently being treated as unexplained.

'British Transport Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary officers attended alongside paramedics from the East Anglia Ambulance Service.'

The BTP were unable to confirm the number of passengers onboard or the speed of the train at the time of the accident.

The East of England Ambulance Service attended the scene but were unable to save the little boy.

A spokesman said: 'We were called to an incident in Foxcovert Road in Peakirk near Peterborough at 16.02.

'A two-year-old boy died after he ran out on to the tracks at a level crossing and was hit by a passenger train.

'Unfortunately his injuries were so severe that ambulance crews were unable to resuscitate him.'

Cambridgeshire police confirmed that a person had been killed by a train.

A spokeswoman said: 'A person died when they were struck by a train near Peterborough at about 4pm today.

'The matter is now being handled by the British Transport Police.'

Buses replaced running between Spalding and Peterborough stations along the East Midlands route. Delays of up to 50 minutes are affecting routes through Lincoln Central, Metheringham, Ruskington, Sleaford, Spalding & Peterborough.

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40.

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