Report 12/2022: Collision between a train and agricultural equipment at Kisby user worked crossing

Press release

RAIB has today released its report into a collision between a train and agricultural equipment at Kisby user worked crossing, Cambridgeshire, 19 August 2021.

The locomotive and trailer following the accident

The locomotive and trailer following the accident


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At around 09:00 hrs on Thursday 19 August 2021, the 04:10 hrs freight train service from Hams Hall (Birmingham) to Felixstowe collided with agricultural machinery being towed over the railway by a tractor at Kisby user worked crossing, between Whittlesey and March in Cambridgeshire. The train was travelling at about 66 mph (106 km/h) when it struck the machinery. The train driver suffered minor injuries in the accident and the tractor driver was uninjured. The locomotive and one wagon derailed, with both suffering some damage. There was also extensive damage to the infrastructure of the railway.

The accident happened because the tractor driver did not telephone the signaller before crossing the railway to seek permission to cross. This was a consequence of the tractor driver not being briefed about the requirement to call the signaller and his belief that he could cross safely by looking for approaching trains. This probably arose because the authorised user, the person owning land on both sides of the level crossing, was not briefing crossing users in a way which resulted in correct use of the crossing, and railway staff were unaware that this was the case until shortly before the accident. RAIB found that Network Rail was not effectively managing the safe use of Kisby, and some other user worked crossings with telephones, and that this was an underlying factor for the accident.


RAIB has made two recommendations, one addressed to Network Rail and one addressed to the Health and Safety Executive, as a result of its investigation. These seek improvements in the management and assurance processes applied to user worked crossings and an additional means of communicating crossing safety information to agricultural workers. RAIB has also written to several organisations representing farmers asking that they remind their members of the importance of following correct procedures at user worked crossings.

Notes to editors

  1. The sole purpose of RAIB investigations is to prevent future accidents and incidents and improve railway safety. RAIB does not establish blame, liability or carry out prosecutions.

  2. RAIB operates, as far as possible, in an open and transparent manner. While our investigations are completely independent of the railway industry, we do maintain close liaison with railway companies and if we discover matters that may affect the safety of the railway, we make sure that information about them is circulated to the right people as soon as possible, and certainly long before publication of our final report.

  3. For media enquiries, please call 01932 440015.

Newsdate: 17 October 2022

Published 17 October 2022