The picture tells it all: a flatbed lorry stands half inside, half outside the level crossing barrier. The barrier is down. The cab is out of sight to the right, touching the train. The tail of the lorry with its hoist is left of the man’s elbow.
This was the passengers’ view through the window of the 15:08 from Milford to Manchester last Friday afternoon, as it came to a juddering standstill at the Llanboidy road level crossing at Henllan Amgoed, already notorious for a collision with a hay lorry last December. “There was a judder, not much more”, passenger and photographer Derek Webb told Fishguard Trains. “I took this picture from the left side of the train where I was sitting. We had a long wait for police, fire crews and ambulance. Ambulance men came through the train several times asking if anyone was injured – there were no injuries. People were surprisingly calm and very tolerant, in view of the three hour delay. The fitter eventually declared the train safe to continue to Whitland.”
The crossing barrier seems undamaged in Derek Webb’s photo, as if it came down after the cab had already reached the crossing, but before the tail of the lorry had passed. What will the investigation of this accident, together with last December’s accident, reveal about the safety of this level crossing just outside Whitland? All rail users in Fishguard, Haverfordwest and Milford will want to know.
In a word, is Henllan Amgoed level crossing safe?
Derek Webb took this shot when the train eventually reached Whitland. The damage to the front left corner of the front coach is clear. But no, that’s not a rear view mirror fitted to the driver’s cab of the Arriva train. That’s the lorry’s own rear view mirror, ripped from the cab of the lorry in the collision, and embedded in the train.
It could be funny if this was not such a serious safety matter.
Fishguard Trains sources confirm that seven head of cattle were indeed killed in the collision near Welsh Hook on July 12th. The cattle apparently entered the track through fencing adjacent to a footpath crossing, where repairs were made in March this year. The investigation is understood to be considering the newly-installed fencing in relation to this incident.