Train forced to apply emergency brakes
A 21-year-old van driver claimed he was blinded by the sun as he failed to see the warning lights at a level crossing.
James O’Brien’s vehicle struck the falling safety barrier, causing it to break off.
And the driver of the approaching train, who witnessed the collision, was forced to apply his emergency braking system.
The incident happened at the Brasswell crossing on the outskirts of Dumfries in January.
The train managed to avoid any debris, but the line had to be closed for a period until it was checked out.
At Dumfries Sheriff Court van driver O’Brien pleaded guilty to a charge of driving carelessly at the crossing and failing to comply with the audio and visual warning signals of a train approaching.
Fiscal depute Alison Herald said the large white van had been seen passing the window of a house near the crossing at 9am and the audio alarm went off and then a bang was heard … and another.
Meanwhile, the driver of a train, which was just 400 yards away, saw the van approach the crossing and then hit the barrier.
Solicitor Carolyn Priestley said O’Brien, of Shakespeare Street, Dumfries, used the crossing regularly and on this particular morning was driving into the sun and didn’t see the red light.
He could not explain how he did not hear the audio alarm.
She added that the van was well clear before the train reached the crossing
He had later telephoned the police himself and reported the incident.
O’Brien was fined £300 and had six points endorsed on his licence.