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"Road and track are a lethal combination"

Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT transport union has commented on this morning's crash at the level crossing near Taunton, calling for action to be taken to address the dangers.

This latest, shocking fatality will once again shine the spotlight on safety issues at level crossings.

RMT has been campaigning for many years to speed up the phasing-out of level crossings which are a 19th Century solution in an age of high-speed railways.

Wherever road and track come together there is a clear and present danger and as we see far too often it is a lethal combination and the time has come to get serious about addressing this issue - cost should not override public and staff safety.

– Bob Crow, RMT union

"Barriers were lowered when car drove onto the track"

Witnesses of the fatal train crash in Somerset have said the barriers at the level crossing were lowered when the car drove on to the track.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "The train driver and First Great Western staff have given a statement to British Transport Police that the barriers were lowered and the car was seen to drive on to the crossing."

Emergency services at the scene near Athelney Credit: ITV News West Country

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Passengers still on board level crossing crash train

The crash happened at the level crossing at Athelney near Taunton Credit: ITV News West Country

The car was pushed 500m down the track by the 0546 First Great Western service between Exeter and Paddington. The car driver was killed but no one on board the train was injured.

Emergency crews are hoping to move the train back to the crossing within the hour to allow the 45 passengers to disembark.

PICTURES: Fatal level crossing crash near Taunton

The accident happened at the Athelney level crossing just before 6.30 am Credit: ITV News West Country
The car was pushed 500m down the track, killing the occupant Credit: ITV News West Country
There were around 45 people on board the train, which was travelling from Exeter to Paddington. No one on board was hurt Credit: ITV News West Country
The line between Taunton and Westbury is closed and trains have been diverted via Bristol Temple Meads Credit: ITV News West Country

POLICE STATEMENT: Level crossing crash

Shortly before 6.30am, British Transport Police were called to reports of a car having been struck by a train at Athelney automatic half barrier level crossing.

The train involved is the 0546 Exeter to London Paddington service.

The train has not been derailed and there are no reports of any injuries to anyone on board.

The car is trapped under the front of the train and services are currently stopped in the area.

– British Transport Police spokesman
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