The driver of a Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch train has been praised for aiding passengers after an accident at an unmanned level crossing.
A RHDR passenger service, hauled by steam locomotive number 1 ‘Green Goddess’, was approaching a level crossing at Dymchurch when the driver saw it was blocked by a large tractor. Reports say that, despite blowing the whistle and fully applying the brakes, the train struck the front counterbalance weight of the tractor.
The driver jumped clear as the locomotive struck and rolled onto its side. The front carriage of the train was also derailed but stayed upright.
The driver immediately went to the aid of passengers while local householders call the emergency services. Five people, including the driver, were treated by paramedics at the scene. The remaining passengers, around 50 in total, were also checked out as a precaution.
The RHDR is a one-third full size railway that runs for 13.5 miles from Hythe to Dungeness. It runs a timetabled service and has operated on the line for the last 88 years.
Two drivers have been killed in recent years in accidents at level crossings, in 2003 and 2005. In neither case were any passengers seriously hurt, nor were the car drivers that, in both cases, were prosecuted for driving offences.