Little Cornard Rail Crash 17th August 2010
Sprinter slices sewage tanker in half as it crosses the track

21 people were injured after the first of the service's two carriages derailed at Little Cornard, Suffolk, on Tuesday 17th August

The 5.31pm National Express East Anglia service, which was carrying about 30 passengers and thought to have been travelling at between 50mph and 60mph when it cut a tanker in two as it made its way from Sudbury to Marks Tey.
The two-carriage diesel train collided with a 44-ton tanker as it proceeded over the rail line to the Sudbury Sewage Works. This crossing is used frequently by effluent tankers either delivering sewage for treatment or taking away waste material from the works.


"The crossing is a user worked crossing" with gates and telephone. This means it is a private road crossing where any vehivle owner should use the phone provided and request permission to cross.
The Network Rail signaller did not receive any such phone call from the user of the crossing.
The 38year old Lithuanian tanker driver was arrested immediately after the collision on several rail offences.

The train driver had very little warning as he came around the bend. Several passengers in the front coach, said he engaged the emergency brake and ran back into the carriage warning the customers of an imminent crash.

This prompt action no doubt saved his life.

One passenger who received severe abdominal injuries after becoming trapped on the train was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital by Air Ambulance in a critical condition.
Five other victims - three men and two women - were kept in Colchester Hospital overnight with fractures and cuts while fifteen other passengers also received treatment.

Witnesses spoke of hearing a sound like a bomb explosion when the train and truck collided at 5.35pm, and then seeing dazed, bleeding passengers wandering around next to the track. Within minutes all of the Emergency Services were in attendance including the Air Ambulance.
Colchester General Hospital was put on the highest alert for incoming trauma patients.

The B1508 road between Bures and Sudbury was closed Wednesday evening and all day Thursday to allow heavy lifting gear to access the site.
Normal rail service resumed on Friday at 0530.

Tanker driver Arvydas Bartasius appeared before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on the following Friday accused of "endangering the safety of railway users by driving a lorry on to the level crossing without notifying railway signallers"

He was bailed to appear on a later date.

Private road to sewage works, crossing the track

Rear carriage of Sprinter still upright
Tanker cut in half from cab
Cab on its own.
Cab unit neatly parked against the telephone post
Trailer unit upside down
Front impact of Sprinter
Front trailer unit derailed whilst rear unit remains on track
Sewage trailer unit demolished
Typical phone box beside crossing - was it used ?

Not quite the end of the tale. The damaged Sprinter was taken on a low loader through Sudbury, but came to a sudden halt as it couldn't pass under Ballingdon Bridge on the A134.

Reducing the pressure in the low loader tyres saved the day.


Photos taken from various sources