A tractor driver was given permission to cross the tracks in Roudham before his vehicle was hit by a train travelling at more than 80mph say rail crash investigators.
At 12.30pm on Sunday, April 10, the 12.03 service from Norwich to Cambridge carrying 135 passengers struck a tractor towing a trailer at the Hockham Road level crossing at 84mph.
It left the tractor driver seriously injured, while some aboard the train sustained minor injuries.
The train did not derail and came to a stop 410 metres beyond the crossing.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), which works with the Department for Transport and independently investigates accidents to improve safety, said the driver had been given permission to cross. In 2012, the crossing featured red and green lights which informed people when it is safe to do so, although this had been “intentionally decommissioned” at the time of the accident.
The RAIB bulletin read: “Vehicle users must open and close the crossing gates themselves, and at the time of the accident they had to use the telephone to obtain permission from a signaller at Cambridge, before going over the crossing.
The trailer separated from the tractor and struck the side of the train several times, breaking windows and puncturing the outer body of the train, before coming to rest next to the tractor at the side of the railway line
“The trailer separated from the tractor and struck the side of the train several times, breaking windows and puncturing the outer body of the train, before coming to rest next to the tractor at the side of the railway line. The driving cab of the train was severely deformed by the impact, and the driver’s door broke away.”
The RAIB added the investigation would “identify the sequence of events” that led to the accident.
The bulletin added: “It will also consider; any factors which may have influenced the actions of the people involved; the method of authorising vehicles to use the crossing; the history of the crossing equipment; the performance of the train during the collision; any underlying management factors.”